What’s the Age Difference Between Anakin Skywalker and Padmé Amidala in ‘Star Wars’?

The original Star Wars trilogy was really about the story of Luke Skywalker becoming a Jedi. It set up the world that would be the basis for one of the biggest pop-cultural phenomenons. And when it came time for the prequels, it was all about telling the story of Anakin Skywalker and how he went from a wide-eyed young boy on Tatooine to Darth Vader. And the undercurrent of his story is his romance with Padmé Amidala Naberrie. There is, however, an age difference between them that many get wrong. 

Anakin and Padmé on a picnic on Naboo in 'Attack of the Clones.'
Anakin and Padmé on a picnic on Naboo in ‘Attack of the Clones’ | Lucasfilm

The age difference between Anakin and Padmé isn’t as bad as you might think

The story of Anakin and Padmé is one of the star-crossed lovers because of their positions in life: Senator and Jedi. But when they meet, romance is the last thing on both of their minds, especially Padmé’s. In Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Padmé is 14 years old and one of the youngest queens Naboo has ever elected. Anakin is a 9-year-old slave on the desert planet of Tatooine. 

Their very first exchange already showed how enamored Anakin was with the Queen, even though he thought she was just one of her handmaidens at the time. He asked if she was an angel because she was the most beautiful being he’d ever seen. They form a bond, where Padmé sees him as this little boy who’s being taken away from his home and his mother, who needs a friend on the way to Coruscant. 

Fast forward 10 years in the timeline to Episode II: Attack of the Clones, and Anakin’s 19. He’s a scrappy, arrogant Padawan who knows he has immense power but doesn’t quite have the skill to wield it properly yet. He’s definitely a handful for his 35-year-old Master, Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Padmé is now Senator Amidala, after ending two terms as a queen. She’s asked to step up as a representative for her people on Coruscant. She’s 24 at this point, at it takes some convincing to think of Anakin as anything other than the small child from Tatooine she remembers. The Clone Wars happens a few months after Attack of the Clones ends, so he’s still 19 when he meets his own Padawan, Ahsoka Tano, who’s 14 in Season 1. 

Padmé Amidala was always a bit more mature for her age

Even though 14 years old seems young, as Ahsoka and Padmé both proved, if you have the will and intellect to do what you’re passionate about, you can succeed in advanced fields. For Padmé, that meant being elected to rule a whole planet at the age that many start high school. 

“George told me his biggest struggle with Amidala was to make it believable that a 14-year-old would be Queen,” Natalie Portman said in a Star Wars profile for Attack of the Clones in 2002. “No one could doubt she could be Queen, so we worked a lot on voice and posture, all the movement and facial expressions, to make it very stern. Even though it’s already more acceptable just because it’s part of the Star Wars universe, I think it was a little less questioned because of all the stuff we worked on.”

And that maturity that Padmé learned from a young age carried on with her even into her 20s and definitely stifled burgeoning feelings she had for Anakin. “She’s more comfortable in the role of leader,” Portman said. “She’s obviously more comfortable acting the older person, especially at the beginning of the film with Anakin.”

Anakin had to work to show Padmé that he was no longer that little boy

For Anakin, he’d been in love with Padmé since they left each other at the end of The Phantom Menace. Of course, as a 9-year-old it’s a bit harder to know what “true love” is, but as Attack of the Clones shows, his feelings for her matured, especially as they spent time together on Naboo. 

“Padmé just thought of him as a little kid, so it’s Padmé adjusting to the fact that he’s just now a grownup guy,” Geoge Lucas said in an Attack of the Clones featurette about their love story. So Anakin has a bit of an uphill battle for the Senator’s affection, but they’re well-matched and they inevitably fall for each other

“Padmé is a very strong-willed person,” Hayden Christensen said Anakin’s attraction to Padmé. “He’s not so much attracted to the power that she holds in her political arenas, but rather the power and strength that she holds within herself. She’s very beautiful and intelligent and it would be easy for anyone to fall in love with her.” And for Padmé, it’s Anakin’s ability to make her “a little less serious about herself and laugh a little, and fall in love” according to Portman.  

It’s such a tenuous relationship for them, as the movies show. Outside of the codes and regulations that are keeping them apart, there are personal struggles as well. Padmé has to decide whether she wants to be “selfish” and fall in love regardless of her duties and responsibilities, as Portman said in the featurette. And Anakin has to grapple with the desire to be a Jedi and the passionate feelings he has for Padmé.

As we know, things, unfortunately, don’t work out for them, but it’s the beautiful love story we got along the way that matters, right?