Two opposites attract. A Jedi and a senator. An accomplished young woman and the boy she met in the desert many years ago. Anakin Skywalker and Padmé Amidala are the Romeo and Juliet of the Star Wars universe. But many fans simply never found their romance believable or appealing.
The prequels may have shown Star Wars viewers one side of this truly tragic love story. But E.K. Johnston’s Queen’s Hope opens up a side largely unseen — and you’ll never look at this relationship the same way after you read it.
While at times their relationship in Attack of the Clones may have seemed forced, awkward, and questionable, Johnston — despite having spoken openly about her negative feelings toward the legendary Skywalker — paints a beautiful and relatable picture of their romance.
In this story, Anakin is not a possessive, immature, sometimes seemingly manipulative partner he comes off as on-screen. Here, he is a devoted husband who respects the tight boundaries of business and pleasure. He is still so innocent, a young man about to head off to fight a war he never asked to be a part of. He is protective, sure. But he is also gentle and forward-thinking. He and Padmé have A List — you might know the one. The “someday when we have time to settle, these are the things we’ll have and build together” list that so many couples make early on in their relationships.
And Padmé? She adapts to this new way of living, this secret marriage, by shifting her priorities and basically restructuring her entire life. She carves time out in her evenings, sends her beloved handmaidens away, retreats from the busy life of a senator to be with the love of her life. Not because he asks her to do any of these things, but instead because she chooses to. Knowing that their time is limited and precious. Believing that despite the war, despite their love being forbidden, they can make it work if they both put in the effort.
The movies never could have crafted that kind of narrative. Not even The Clone Wars could, though it did lean slightly closer into what we see in Queen’s Hope. On-screen, the primary focus had to be the forbidden, secretive aspects of their relationship because that’s what fit into the larger narrative of Anakin’s downfall. In this book, however, Johnston had the chance to show us a different side to Anidala. And it truly makes all the difference.
Queen’s Hope, the third and final installment of E.K. Johnston’s “Padmé trilogy,” is available now wherever Star Wars books are sold.
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