Why Could Anakin Skywalker Save Ahsoka From Death, But Not Padmé?
Anakin Skywalker’s turn to the Dark Side will probably forever be one of the saddest stories in Star Wars. He was an amazing Jedi, outside of his downfall, and touched many characters’ lives. The Clone Wars introduced his young Padawan Ahsoka Tano, and they grew into a highly capable team. Their bond was strong and it was one of the closest connections he had with someone, with another being Padmé Amidala. Anakin cared too deeply for a Jedi, and his fear of losing his wife is partly what lead him to the Dark Side. He was able to bring Ahsoka back from the dead before, so why was he so worried about Padmé?
Anakin was only able to save Ahsoka with the help of the Father on Mortis
In Season 3 of The Clone Wars, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin, and Ahsoka go to the planet Mortis to check out a very odd distress call. In the process, they meet three beings that have immense Force powers: Father, Daughter, and Son. The Son was aligned with the Dark Side and took over Ahsoka’s body, infecting her so that she fought Anakin and Obi-Wan. And, of course, he killed her.
Jedi aren’t supposed to form attachments, but Anakin did a few times, and it was perfectly shown when Ahsoka died. Jedi are supposed to be able to let go of anyone when needed and that is something Anakin could not do. He begged the Father to bring her back, even though he couldn’t. But as the Daughter lay dying after she was wounded by the Son, she offered her life Force to Ahsoka. Anakin acted as the conduit for the energy to move from the Daughter to Ahsoka, and his Padawan was brought back.
Anakin didn’t seem to have any knowledge of Force healing
So, going into Revenge of the Sith, which happens about a year or so after Ahsoka comes back to life on Mortis, Anakin has dreams of Padmé’s death. As we know, he loses it worrying about her, and Palpatine uses that as an advantage to his seduction tactics.
The Clone Wars debuted years after Episode III, but that’s not the reason why Ahsoka’s resurrection on Mortis isn’t a factor for Anakin when it comes to Padmé. He seemed to have no knowledge of Force healing, and this Mortis incident only happened because of the Daugther and Father. There was no Daugther to sacrifice herself for Padmé and no way to share a life energy from someone who’s dying.
Force healing also wasn’t an option because it wasn’t implemented in canon until Disney brought it in with The Rise of Skywalker and The Mandalorian. It did exist in Legends (not canon) and kyber crystal healing has been a thing too (which is canon), but Anakin didn’t have knowledge of this power. He saw no outlet or option to save his wife, causing him to turn to fear too much, and let the Dark Side in.
Force healing seems to only be a Light Side power
And in regards to what Palpatine was referring to when he said he could save Padmé, it also wasn’t Force healing. The expanded universe of Legends goes into detail about how Darth Vader healed his lungs, however it was a perversion of Force healing. The Dark Side’s hate and anger fueled this type of healing, so it wasn’t long-lasting or as thorough.
So, odds are, Palpatine was referring to Dark transfer, something also only in Legends. It seems like this could be the only possible way for Palpatine to bring someone back from the dead since he didn’t have access to Force healing. Plus, The Rise of Skywalker Visual Dictionary notes that Ben Solo was able to bring Rey back because they were a dyad in the Force, something Padmé was not a part of.
Anakin didn’t willingly trade himself in for Darth Vader and the Dark Side. He was so broken and at a loss for options that he turned. He had been beaten down and disillusioned by the Jedi Council so much, and experienced enough loss already, that he thought the Dark Side was his only option. Padmé’s death is one of the most significant parts of their tragic story.