What Was Padmé’s Motive When She Came To Mustafar in ‘Revenge of the Sith’?

Padmé Amidala Naberrie is a unique character, in that she’s essential to the plot of Star Wars, yet she gets less and less fleshed out as the prequels went on. She was a complex character with major political knowledge. She was so good at her job that the people of Naboo wanted to keep electing her as Queen even after she reached her term limit.

Unfortunately, her story and arc took a major backseat in Revenge of the Sith, but she is still in one of the most pivotal moments in the movie, on Mustafar. What were her feelings then, and was she coming to break up with Anakin?

Padmé (Natalie Portman) pauses right before she disembarks her ship on Mustafar.
Padmé (Natalie Portman) right before she disembarks her ship on Mustafar, ‘Revenge of the Sith’ | Lucasfilm

Author E.K. Johnston caused a little debate about Mustafar

After Obi-Wan Kenobi comes to ask Padmé where Anakin has fled to and alerts her to the fact that he turned to the Dark Side, she goes to Mustafar. There’s a part of her that’s hoping it’s all a sick dream, but she’s also not stupid. She’s seen Anakin’s darkened manner and there’s a big part of her that fears what Obi-Wan said was true. 

It’s a tragic ending for the senator; she’s physically harmed by the love her of her life and gives birth only to die soon after. And the author of Queen’s Shadow and the upcoming Queen’s Peril, E.K. Johnston recently shared her thoughts on why Padmé came to the lava planet. When answering a question, she wrote that Padmé was aware of the “red flags” when it came to Anakin, but she “trusted her heart” which, of course, was with her husband. 

She then stated Mustafar was a “break-up scene,” and that the senator was doing it in person out of love and respect for him. “And that’s her last mistake,” she wrote. “And it’s a mistake women make for love with some frequency.” Just looking at the comments on Twitter, it’s clear there’s a divide on what Padmé’s direct intentions were in these last moments. 

Dialogue and Padmé’s character shows it was a bit more complex than just a breakup

Without a canon telling of what exactly is going through Padmé’s head when she approaches Anakin on Mustafar, it’s hard to say what she exactly planned to do. However, her dialogue with her husband doesn’t point to “breaking up.” 

She’s obviously very conflicted about her visit, which you can see as she sits in her ship; she’s very dejected. However, she’s eager to talk it out and confront the issue head-on. She states that Obi-Wan told her “horrible” things he’s done. She tries to appeal to Anakin’s good nature, which she sees in him till the very end. Padmé even wants Anakin to get help and go away with her to Naboo. 

While it’s clear that Anakin is set in his plan for power and consumed by the Dark Side, Padmé didn’t come to Mustafar to break up. Despite what Johnston said, Padmé’s actions in this scene don’t point to that as her motive. She does start to break down — “Anakin, you’re breaking my heart. You’re going down a path, I can’t follow” — and would have left if Obi-Wan didn’t show up. But choosing to leave a toxic or hopeless situation after trying to fix it is different than coming with the explicit goal of ending your marriage. 

Padmé and Anakin relationship wasn’t drama-free, but no ones’ is

Padmé is a strong person. She doesn’t back down from what she deems as right and she is a perfect match for Anakin because they’re both pretty stubborn at times. They’re also both immensely passionate people. For Padmé, it was her strong loyalty to her planet and her dedication to helping others. For Anakin, it was his devotion to his friends; he loved hard, but also feared and hated with so much strength. It didn’t help that all those emotions were suppressed because of the Jedi code. 

Johnston made a good point: Padmé made decisions based on her heart, which doesn’t always turn out great. And her relationship with Anakin wasn’t free of bumps in the road. But it’s those past decisions and their history that points to Padmé coming to Mustafar to talk sense into Anakin, not break up with him. 

Take the last Clovis arc in Season 6 of The Clone Wars. For one, Anakin and Padmé had a very deep bond in the series that makes more sense as to why they were such a good match for one another. And in this arc, she sees the very dark places Anakin is going to. She tells him they need to separate, but after it’s revealed that Clovis was in the wrong in the end, it seems that all was forgiven. 

It’s not really resolved, but this scene shows what a Padmé breakup looks like. She doesn’t have a problem being stern with Anakin, but on Mustafar, that’s not what’s going down.