“Defining Moments” is a continuing series exploring key scenes or sequences from Lucasfilm’s many productions. It examines storytelling craft, behind-the-scenes insights, and cultural legacies from each selection. Revisit an old favorite or discover something brand new…
In the Star Wars Saga, Some Moments Reflect Each Other
Production: Star Wars: Attack of the Clones (2002)
The Star Wars saga could be considered a romance in both meanings of the term. It is part swashbuckling adventure and part love story. Different romances fuel the progression of the Skywalker family story, though its defining relationship may be that of Anakin Skywalker and Padmé Amidala.
In Star Wars: Attack of the Clones (2002), the Padawan Skywalker must protect Senator Amidala as she goes into hiding under threat of assassination. The rekindling of their young friendship quickly grows into something more, and Padmé initially resists Anakin’s headstrong advances. Yet in their seclusion, the pair develops a mutual attraction.
Actress Natalie Portman would explain that “Padmé doesn’t want to fall in love with Anakin because she has, as she says, more important things to do than fall in love. She sees a future for herself as a leader helping people and as someone who can change things for the better in a youthful, idealistic way. She doesn’t really think that putting herself first and giving into her love is the right thing for her to do for her people.”
Late in the film, as Padmé and Anakin are taken prisoner and sentenced to death, emotions swell. To the Jedi’s surprise, the Senator confesses her true feelings, and the couple shares a kiss before they’re carted into an arena full of swarming Geonosians. In the midst of great action, intimate drama can be quite small.
The moment reflects a climactic scene in another middle chapter of a Star Wars trilogy. Throughout most of The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Princess Leia is reluctant to admit her attraction to the roguish Han Solo. Like Anakin Skywalker, the smuggler-turned Rebel Captain is more forthcoming about his feelings. In both cases, Padmé and Leia remain hesitant even after exchanging a kiss, but with the expectation of doom, they make their feelings known. The resulting kiss may be their last.
Throughout Lucasfilm’s fifty-plus years of storytelling, we see characters breaking out, whether that means physically departing their environment or asserting their sense of self. For characters like Padmé, Anakin, Leia, and Han, that can mean a declaration of love.