25. Padme Amidala
(Write-up by Elaine Tveit, Dork Side of the Force Assistant Editor)
Padme Amidala is essential to the Star Wars saga; not only is she the female protagonist of all three films, but also a compelling personality with a fascinating and tragic story arc.
Elected queen of the planet of Naboo at age fourteen, Padme proved a wise and fearless leader when the Trade Federation blockaded her system. She secured victory for her people with help from the Jedi protecting her and the native Gungans, in spite of the secret machinations of Darth Sidious (though under an alias, the latter would become Chancellor of the Republic following the events on Naboo). Ten years later, Padme is leading her people as a senator. Attempts on her life by the nefarious Count Dooku necessitates that she be put under the protection of the Jedi once again, but this time it’s with a familiar face: Anakin Skywalker, the boy who helped get the parts needed to repair her ship when she was fleeing the Trade Federation all those years ago. In their adventures across the stars, the pair fall in love and form a forbidden attachment, one that will guide their fates and the fate of the galaxy forever.
Some consider it a disservice to Padme’s character that she died, seemingly, of a broken heart. But that death, though tragic, is beautiful for its profound effect on the saga. Padme, a steadfast, caring woman, was deeply in love with Anakin, so much so that the “sacrifices” he made to prevent her death (slaying youngling Jedi and pledging his service to an empire) tear her apart. Her story is one of love, loss, and quiet strength. Yes, strength; for even on her deathbed, she still insists that there is good in Anakin. And, as seen in Return of the Jedi, she was right.
Padme’s sensitivity, wisdom, and love are unparalleled in the saga by any save her son, Luke. Through Luke, her wish for Anakin to be redeemed was fulfilled. Together, they were the key to saving not just one man, but an entire galaxy. Padme’s significance to the lives of so many, her femininity, and her humanity render her an invaluable scion in Star Wars.
Next: He found Anakin and brought him to the Jedi Council