When we first met Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars movie, we didn’t know much about his history apart from the fact that he was raised by his step-uncle Owen Lars and his wife, Beru. As the trilogy’s mysteries unfolded with the sequels, we found out that Darth Vader was Luke’s father and Leia Organa was his sister. However, the original trilogy didn’t provide much information about Luke and Leia’s mother, Padmé Amidala, who was portrayed by Natalie Portman in the prequel trilogy. In this article, we’ll dig into her character history and tell you how old she was in each of the ‘Star Wars’ movies she appeared in.
Padmé Amidala was born on the Naboo planet in 46 BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin). She debuted in 1999’s ‘Star Wars: The Phantom Menace,’ which takes place in 32 BBY. That means Padmé was 14 years old in ‘Episode I.’ Following a 10-year time jump, ‘Episode II — Attack of the Clones,’ takes place in 22 BBY, when Padmé was 24 years old. The final movie of the prequel trilogy, ‘Revenge of the Sith,’ takes place in 19 BBY, when Padmé ultimately died at 27 years of age. For comparison, Natalie Portman was 18 years old when ‘The Phantom Menace,’ and when the trilogy concluded in 2005, she was 24 years old.
While the original ‘Star Wars’ trilogy didn’t provide much information about Padmé, apart from some contradicting information that her daughter Leia remembered her to be very beautiful (how when she was just a newborn when her mother died!?), Padmé was one of the main characters in the prequel trilogy and, ultimately, one of the most tragic characters in the franchise. After losing her husband to the Dark Side, she lived only long enough to give birth to Luke and Leia, and then she died telling Obi-Wan Kenobi how there’s still good in Darth Vader, which turned out to be true two decades later.
Padmé Amidala’s story in the ‘Star Wars’ canon
Many gigantic franchises can become hard and confusing to follow regarding the timeline. The MCU is probably the best example. However, although Star Wars spawned more content than ever in the last few years, it still has an established timeline and eras for every storyline in the canon to take place.
The Battle of Yavin, in which Luke Skywalker destroyed the first Death Star with Han Solo’s help, is a crucial event for the timeline since everything that happened before is marked as BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin) in the ‘Star Wars’ calendar, and after that happened before is ABY.
Initially born as Padmé Naberrie before assuming the name Amidala, Padmé was born during the Golden Age of the Old Republic. She was born on the planet of Naboo in 46 BBY to Jobal and Ruwee Naberrie. At the age of 14, she was coronated as the Queen of Naboo after winning the election against Sanandrassa, the then-current queen who ran for re-election. Despite being so young, Padmé was up to the challenge and ready to make a difference.
Soon after, during the Naboo crisis, she meets the Jedi Knight Qui-Gon Jinn and his Padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi, who rescued her from Naboo. The group was eventually forced to land on the planet of Tatooine on their way to Coruscant.
While Padmé was disguised as a handmaiden for her safety, the group eventually met Anakin Skywalker, who was nine years old at the time. After Qui-Gon freed Anakin from Watto, Anakin joined the group, and that was the starting point of Anakin and Padmé’s story, which will become one of the most important stories in the franchise, no matter how sloppy it was presented on a screen.
After the Battle of Naboo, in which the Trade Federation, helped by the Sith, was defeated, Padmé continued her term as a Queen, and she led the planet to slow recovery since she didn’t seek external aid for the planet to recover after the conflict. Padmé served as queen for two terms, and the people of Naboo became so fond of her that they wanted to amend the constitution and allow her to stay a queen for another term.
However, Padmé declined and was succeeded by Réillata while Padmé eventually became a senator of Naboo in the Galactic Senate.
Padmé’s second term as queen ended in 28 BBY, six years before the events of ‘Episode II.’ So, a lot of things happened during those ten years between ‘Episode I’ and ‘Episode II,’ as Anakin also grew up to become a young Padawan with Obi-Wan Kenobi as his master.
In 32 BBY, Padmé travels to Coruscant to vote in the Galactic Senate, but after an assassination attempt on her, Anakin is tasked to protect her and escort her back to Naboo. Despite the Jedi Code that forbids it, Anakin and Padmé fall in love with each other.
As Obi-Wan is investigating the assassination attempt, Anakin and Padmé return to Tatooine to find Anakin’s mother. After Anakin finds his mother only to die in his arms, he massacres the entire tribe of Tusken Raiders, which is his first real step toward the Dark Side, even though he confesses everything to Padmé.
They decide to travel to Geonosis to rescue Obi-Wan, where they’re captured and sentenced to death in the arena. Luckily, they are saved by the Jedis and the battalion of clone troopers, which marks the beginning of the Clone Wars. In the end, Padmé and Anakin secretly married on Naboo.
Anakin and Padmé kept their marriage a secret for three years. In 19 BBY, Padmé informed Anakin about her pregnancy, after which Anakin started getting nightmares of Padmé dying in childbirth. Palpatine/Darth Sidious eventually use his fears to turn Anakin to the Dark Side. After Obi-Wan learns that Anakin is the father of Padmé’s child, he follows her to Mustafar, where he encounters his former student in a final battle (at least it was until the ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ series happened).
After defeating Vader, Obi-Wan took Padmé to Polis Massa. Although she was medically completely healthy, Padmé lost her will to live. After giving birth to twins and naming them Luke and Leia, Padmé tells Obi-Wan there’s still good in Anakin, which turns out to be true two decades later during the Battle of Endor, in which Vader defeated Palpatine (or at least we thought so) and made peace with his son Luke before dying.
Despite all the criticism the ‘Star Wars’ prequel trilogy has faced since it was released, there’s no denying that Padmé was one of the most important characters and the catalyst for everything that followed in the original ‘Star Wars’ trilogy, despite some plot holes. It’s interesting how Disney’s ‘Star Wars’ saga brought back many actors and characters from the original and prequel trilogies, but we haven’t seen Padmé since her death in ‘Episode III.’
Did you like Natalie Portman’s Padmé in the ‘Star Wars’ prequel trilogy? Do you think we’re going to see her again in some upcoming ‘Star Wars’ projects? Let us know in the comments.