Scene it?: Leia and THE Bikini

scene it 2In today’s Scene it? I am looking at a very contested story-line within The Return of the Jedi. Although I will be discussing the whole story arc, I will be focusing on the scene that brings it to an end. I am talking about ‘slave Leia’ and especially “the bikini”, which is one of the things that has been incredibly divisive within the Star Wars fandom

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Padme in 'Bombad Jedi'

‘Bombad Jedi’: Working Against Stereotype

I am currently on a rewatch of the 200The Clone Wars series and realized that S1E08, ‘Bombad Jedi’ is an absolutely fascinating episode! Not only funny, it gives room to some major development for two of Star Wars‘ most interesting characters: Padmé Amidala and Jar Jar Binks. ‘Bombad Jedi’ works on a lot of different levels, reintroducing the political element of the Clone Wars and showing how war leads to suffering and betrayal. The episode, directed by Jesse Yeh, starts with the fortune cookie-esque ‘Heroes are made by the times‘, but rather than focus on our accepted heroes, Anakin Skywalker or Obi-Wan Kenobi, the episode goes out of its way to show that heroism exists on different levels and can be found in everyone.

From the very start of the episode it is clear that Padmé is in control of this mission. Her unwavering loyalty to her friends has brought her into dangerous territory and yet she goes there believing in the strength of diplomacy and peace, in itself the start of a very heroic quest. In choosing Jar Jar as her companion, she also reveals her recognition of similar principles in Jar Jar. Chancellor Palpatine functions as a good point of contrast to her behaviour when he mocks Jar Jar’s “qualifications”. He not only disregards JarJar but also looks at him with contempt, unable to see the potential Jar Jar holds. Palpatine respects martial strength and Jar Jar’s own brand of strength is not something he recognizes, initially. In some ways this is similar to how he considered Padmé naive in The Phantom Menace only to have to admit by the end of the film that she is a lot stronger than he thought.

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Padme Amidala in 'The Phantom Menace' - from

Scene It? – Padme’s Choice on Mustafar

scene it 2In today’s Scene It? post I’ll be looking at one of the most heart-breaking scenes in The Revenge of the Sith (2005), the third prequel film which depicts Anakin’s switch to the Dark Side of the Force. I am, of course, talking about the scene between Padme and Anakin on Mustafar, shortly before the battle between Anakin and Obi-Wan. Naturally, this post contains spoilers for The Revenge of the Sith. If you want a quick refresher on the scene, help yourself to the video below, the first half of which I will be discussing:

Some of the criticism directed towards RotS focused on the development of Padme Amidala’s character. In The Phantom Menace she is a young queen, exclusively focused on saving her planet from being taken over by the Trade Federation. In The Attack of the Clones she returns as a senator of Naboo and a key senator in trying to stop the outbreak of a war. We also see her trying to cope with her feelings for Anakin Skywalker and fighting for her life. In The Revenge of the Sith, Padme and Anakin are married, with the twins on the way, while she continues in her role as senator. As the Republic falls apart, so, it could be argued, does everything she has worked for. The difficulty with which Padme switches between her roles as  senator and wife is, I believe, on purpose.  As Anakin slowly loses himself it becomes harder for her to unite her principles with her emotions. The reason this scene is heart-breaking is because everything Padme believed in has either been corrupted or fallen apart. Below I will discuss why her choice of response to this is one which is probably singular in modern cinema and makes her stand out as one of the strongest women in sci-fi.

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