Theory: Are Anakin and Padme closer in age than we thought?

Photo: Star Wars: The Clone Wars Episode 702 “A Distant Echo” .. Image Courtesy Disney+
Photo: Star Wars: The Clone Wars Episode 702 “A Distant Echo” .. Image Courtesy Disney+ /

The prequels will always hold a special place in my heart, as those were the movies I grew up with. Yes, I first watched the original trilogy like many others, but my first true Star Wars theater experience was with the prequels. For all the awesomeness we were given, from Darth Maul’s double-bladed lightsaber in The Phantom Menace to the duel on Mustafar in Revenge of the Sith and everything in between, some topics always seemed to stick out. One in particular got me thinking:

Isn’t the age gap between Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidala too wide for them to be together?

If I may be permitted to utilize an earthbound idea, Einstein proposed in his Theory of Special Relativity that time itself is relative. Considering the standard day and year in the known Star Wars galaxy are similar to Earth’s (more on that later), I’d propose that we can assume this theory translates to the Star Wars galaxy as well. Now, before you click away, I’m not planning to present a quantum physics lesson here, but rather use established numbers (Thanks, Wookieepedia!) to show that Anakin may actually be physically older than Padme when they are married at the end of Attack of the Clones.

The Ground Rules

Now, before we dive in, allow me to lay out the ground rules for this discussion. First, the BBY/ABY timing designation didn’t actually begin until sometime during the Galactic Civil War and into the New Republic. We know that this is the timing that is universally used to determine timelines regardless of actual occurrence. I’m not looking to rewrite any timelines or disrupt anything canonically, and I will, of course, be using Anakin and Padme‘s canonically established ages, birthdays, etc. However, one issue is the BBY/ABY timeline assumes that all planets, regardless of location, have the exact same rotation/orbital timing, which we will soon see is clearly not the case. Each planet within the same galaxy will have a unique day/year timing given the same reference planet/point. This is the basis that I will be using for my argument.

The Theory

Your age is based on the planet on which you reside and the amount of time it takes for that planet to fully orbit its star. For all of us earthly folks, we all know that 1 day (rotation) = 24 hours and 1 year (orbit) = 365 days. We’ve just established that the Star Wars galaxy uses a similar time structure. For example, if you were born on Mars, 1 day (rotation) = 24.5 Earth hours and 1 year (orbit) = 687 Earth days.

Being that the standard of time is the same Earthly hours/days, we can say that an individual who is 18 years old and born on Earth is 157,680 hours old:

    • 24 hours x 365 days = 8,760 hours/year
    • 18 years x 8,760 hours/year = 157,680 hours

Now imagine someone born on Mars who is also 18 years old moves to Earth. Considering Mars’ timing in relation to Earth, this person would be 302,967 hours old.

    • 24.5 hours x 687 days = 16831.5 hours/year
    • 18 years x 16831.5 hours/year = 309,967 hours

This individual is nearly 2x older physically than the same 18-year-old who was born on Earth. However, if you asked both people how old they were, they’d likely tell you they were both 18. Translating this into the Star Wars galaxy, it can be assumed that there is a central point that all planets orbit around. Within the galaxy, Coruscant is Earth’s equivalent and the world that the standard day (24 hours) and year (365 days) are based on. Every other planet in the known galaxy will have a rotation and orbit relative to these standard times set on Coruscant.

Let’s break down our star-crossed lovers

Padme Amidala was born in 46 BBY on the planet Naboo. Naboo’s planetary facts are as follows:

  • Naboo’s rotation = 26 standard hours
  • Naboo’s orbit = 312 standard days
  • Number of hours in 1 standard year = 8,112

Anakin Skywalker was born in 41 BBY on the planet Tatooine. Tatooine’s facts planetary facts are:

  • Tatooine’s rotation = 34 standard hours
  • Tatooine’s orbit = 304 standard days
  • Number of hours in 1 standard year = 10,336

By The Numbers

When Padme and Anakin meet in The Phantom Menace, it is 32 BBY. Padme is 14 years old, and Anakin is 9 years old. Utilizing the method outlined earlier and taking into account their home planets’ timings:

  • Padme is 113,568 hours old
  • Anakin is 93,024 hours old
  • Time Elapsed on Coruscant (reference) is 122,640 hours [based on Padme’s birth year]
    • 8,760 hours/year x 14 years = 122,640 hours

If we were to take their relative ages compared to a similar amount of time on Coruscant, it would make Padme 13 years old and Anakin would be nearly 11 years old. Now let’s fast-forward 10 years to the time of Attack of The Clones. The entirety of the movie takes place in 22 BBY, which would make Padme 24 years old and Anakin 19 years old. Again, using the same methodology:

  • Padme is 194,688 hours old
  • Anakin is 196,384 hours old
  • Time Elapsed on Coruscant (reference) is 210,240 hours

And the answer is…

So, by the time Anakin and Padme tie the knot at the film’s end, he is physically about 1,700 hours older than her. Just for fun, let’s again compare this against a similar amount of time on Coruscant, and both Padme and Anakin would be 22 years old! Regardless of how you look at things, relatively speaking, because of where they were born, they are almost identical in age despite being canonically 5 years apart.

Theoretically, this time comparison would relate to all characters we are familiar with, which I realize complicates things greatly, so going to the BBY/ABY convention helps simplify things and allows for an easy frame of reference. Though, as with many things in Star Wars, it’s always fun to look at things from a certain point of view and see that sometimes there is a bit more if we just scratch below the surface.