6. Natalie Portman as Padmé Amidala
When the original trilogy was finished, Star Wars fans had only the vaguest of ideas of what Luke and Leia’s mother might have been like. With the prequel trilogy, George Lucas needed to flesh out the character who would be the love interest of Anakin Skywalker in a way that would be satisfying to fans. Enter Padmé Amidala, the impassioned teenage queen of Naboo. She was older than Anakin, but she had an innocence about her. Anakin thought she was an angel the first time he saw her.
Bringing Padmé to life required an actress who could exhibit youthful exuberance and charming innocence, and that actress was Natalie Portman, who was just 18 when Episode I was released in 1999. In The Phantom Menace, she was little more than a young girl in over her head, but she grows into a daring and capable leader as the prequel trilogy progresses. Portman’s most standout performance as Padme came near the end of Revenge of the Sith when she confronted Anakin on Mustafar. Displaying the raw emotion of someone deeply in love and yet betrayed by Anakin’s tragic choices, Portman made audiences feel Anakin’s fall in a unique way.