Why did Padmé die in ‘Star Wars’?

Star Wars

While there are many varied opinions in the Star Wars universe, it is widely agreed that the prequel trilogy movies could have been better. One of their many weaknesses was the poorly written dialogue and plot points especially seen in the forbidden romantic relationship between Anakin Skywalker and Padmé Amidala. This relationship would ultimately lead to Padmé’s demise.

Young love

In The Phantom Menace Padmé and Anakin meet when her ship crashes on Tatooine while trying to escape her home planet of Naboo, which is illegally occupied by the Trade Federation. Padmé is a 14-year-old queen of Naboo and Anakin is a 9-year-old slave. Ankin helps her fix her ship by winning a dangerous podrace. Their second meeting occurs ten years later in Attack of the Clones. Padmé is now a Senator and Anakin a Padawan. When Padmé is attacked, Anakin is assigned to protect her. While hiding out on Naboo, a mutual attraction grows between the two, although they both know it is forbidden. When they are condemned to death by Separatist leader and Sith Lord Count Dooku on the planet Geonosis, they confess their feelings for each other. Near death experiences have a tendency to make the truth come out. They are saved by Yoda, Mace Windu, and the Clone Army but the truth is they cannot take back the true feelings they expressed. They are married in secret.

Love’s dark side

In Revenge of the Sith, Anakin learns that Padmé, his secret wife, is pregnant. Anakin becomes plagued with horrifying nightmares of Padmé dying in childbirth. Anakin fears these dreams are prophecies of things to come and feels powerless to stop it. He cannot lose Padmé like he lost his mother. Senator Palpatine, who is actually Sith Lord Darth Sidious, has been secretly grooming Anakin and uses this moment when he is most vulnerable to turn him into his apprentice Darth Vader, promising him that the dark side of the force can help him save Padmé. When told of this betrayal, Padmé cannot believe it, and she travels with Obi-Wan, secretly stowed away to the planet Mustafar to see for herself. Padmé begs Anakin to stop his destructive behavior and leave with her to raise their child in peace. When Anakin reveals his plan to overthrow Darth Sidious and rule the galaxy with Padmé, she knows he is lost to the dark side and has completed his transition to Darth Vader. When Obi-Wan reveals himself, Darth Vader feels betrayed by Padmé and puts her in a force choke hold. Darth Vader releases her to fight Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan battles Darth Vader, leaving him for dead, and rescues Padmé taking her to the secret asteroid base Polis Massa.

The Death Plot Points Explanation

In order to fit in with the previously released original trilogy movies, Padmé had to die. It would have been nice to see this more seemingly integrated in the plot. When on Polis Massa before giving birth to the twins, she is declared medically healthy but has lost the will to live. She dies soon after giving birth to the twins but not before telling Obi-Wan that there is still good in Darth Vader. It is hard to believe a woman who had dedicated her life to the democratic Galactic Republic, had so much fight in her, and remained hopeful for her husband would suddenly give up, abandon her children, and die of a broken heart.

Fan theories about Padmé’s death

Many fan theories exist that try to remedy this poorly plotted ending. One theory is that the force choke hold that Darth Vader performed on Padmé on the planet Mustafar in their confrontation contributed to her death. The issue with that is the medical droid declares her perfectly healthy shortly after.  Others speculate it was really complications from childbirth but, again, she was declared healthy. 

Another tragic theory states that with Darth Sidious’s knowledge of midichlorians, he had the power to give life and save someone from dying. He used Padmé’s life force to save Darth Vader. This fulfills Vader’s prophetic dreams that Padmé would die in childbirth and makes Darth Vader solely responsible for it thus cementing his place on the dark side. If Darth Sidious ever told Darth Vader this would only fuel his hate and status as a dark lord. This theory would also mean that Padmé was partly responsible for turning Anakin to the dark side. This theory gives more depth to Padmé’s death.

The bottom line

One of the reasons the Star Wars universe is so loved is the ability of the fanbase to draw their own conclusions and theories of the galaxy. While Padmé’s death was simply explained as that of a broken hearted woman who lost the will to live, perhaps it was left vague on purpose, allowing the fans to contribute their own meaning and become a part of the story of a galaxy far, far away.