Saga Luke and Leia's mother in the Classic Trilogy

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by Brenapp, Dec 20, 2012.

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  1. Brenapp Jedi Master

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    Nov 26, 2012
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    It's always struck me as a bit odd and sad that in the classic trilogy, Padme is only referenced once, in Return of the Jedi, and then only briefly and not by name, and we don't hear anything about her. In A New Hope, Luke shows absolutely no interest in who his mother was, not even bothering to ask Obi-Wan if he could tell him anything about her, being only interested in his father. A lot of the time, it's almost as though Luke and Leia have never had a mother, given the lack of attention to her. How do others feel about this?
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  2. -NaTaLie- Force Ghost

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    In ANH, Luke's real parent didn't matter as much. His father was needed to inspire him to go on a quest and become a Jedi. By ROTJ, however, the mother became more important. If Vader is his father, then what happened to the mother? So they had to address the issue, however briefly. I think Lucas was reluctant to go into more detail because of the possibility of prequels covering the backstory.
  3. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    Luke's mother is very briefly mentioned in the Second Draft of SW:


    Although there's nothing regarding her death or anything about her, she was buried on the farm, much as Shmi is in AOTC:

    For all intents & purposes, at the time of SW/ANH, this may have still been the case - Luke might well have remembered her, and was there when she died, hence no questions to Obi-Wan.
    This obviously changed, but it might have been the actual story at the time, one simply not mentioned.
    Last edited by Darth_Nub, Dec 20, 2012
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  4. janstett Force Ghost

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    I say it's part of George Lucas' inability to write female characters in general and perhaps a reflection of Lucas himself. I've heard him talk about his father in interviews but never his mother.

    Look at the way Padme and Leia are written and how they are virtually the only women in the entire galaxy... How men and women generally don't interact and love each other in the GFFA. How women are cold, sterile, and sexless (despite being attractive and appearing in sexy outfits)... How love is forbidden for some reason such as being a Senator (WTF?). How the "romantic" dialogue in both trilogies sounds like it was written by a 14 year old who never talked to a girl and based it on over-the-top "Romeo & Juliet". How did Padme meet her end? Squirt out babies and then "uh I don't want to live anymore bleh" dead. Lazy screenwriting? Women are only good for one thing? Her character only existed to give birth to Luke? Probably a little of each.

    Then there's the symbolism of the Sarlaac pit and how it leads men to their gruesome deaths... Paging Dr. Freud.

    [IMG]
    Last edited by janstett, Dec 22, 2012
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  5. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

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    Jul 2, 2004
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    So, no one ever had "the talk" with you, eh?

    Here's a clue. You know how Padme got pregnant? Sex was involved. Show, don't tell, right?
  6. janstett Force Ghost

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    How did Shmi get pregnant? Oh uuuhhhhhhh fumph fumph homina homina homina lol. Oh and about that ARMY OF CLONES GROWN IN TUBES...

    In Lucas's crappy storytelling world where men and women don't seem to love each other, it may have been the midichlorians ;) Or are you telling me giving birth is as easy as it is shown for Padme too and people die in childbirth for no apparent reason as well?
    Last edited by janstett, Dec 22, 2012
  7. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

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    Ask your parents.
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  8. janstett Force Ghost

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    Is that the best defense you can muster or are you just losing your enthusiasm?
    Last edited by janstett, Dec 22, 2012
  9. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

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    I really think it would better if this were handled by family members.
  10. janstett Force Ghost

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    So I see that the argument is indefensible and you have to resort to "you've never had sex" jokes... Weak, and probably classic projection. Moving on.
    Last edited by janstett, Dec 22, 2012
  11. janstett Force Ghost

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    So sure, are you?

    [IMG]
    [IMG]
    Last edited by janstett, Dec 22, 2012
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  12. -NaTaLie- Force Ghost

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    But that's true about many other movies (the Bechdel test). Or even books, for that matter. There's no single female main character in the entire Lord of the Rings (doesn't prevent it from being my favorite book, but it's still an oversight). As a woman, I've always had to accept a male view as a default human view, or I wouldn't be able to enjoy most works of art. Things are changing, but there's still a long way to go. At least there're a lot more secondary/background female characters in the PT (pilots, Jedi, politicians). I actually hope we'll get at least two female leads in the ST, if not a protagonist.

    We have two love stories in six movies plus Luke's surrogate parents plus Cliegg and Shmi (we don't see them together, but they clearly loved each other). There's also Padme's family whose scenes were cut (a mistake, in my opinion). It's an epic action adventure fairy tale, not a slice of life.

    Huh? When was love forbidden for Senators?

    Padme was also trying to organize opposition to Palpatine together with Mon Mothma and Organa. The scenes should have stayed in, just to give her something else to do rather than give birth and die.
  13. janstett Force Ghost

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    "I can't... I'm a Senator." Any of this ring a bell?

    [IMG]
  14. Iron_lord Force Ghost

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    In the novel it's made clear that Senators aren't forbidden to have relationships- Padme's sister points out that Padme's acting like she's forbidden, which she's not, and Anakin's acting like he's allowed, and he's not.
  15. -NaTaLie- Force Ghost

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    The full quote:

    You’re studying to become a Jedi Knight. I’m a Senator. If you follow your thoughts through to conclusion, they will take us to a place we cannot go… regardless of the way we feel about each other.

    It's him being a Jedi is the obstacle, not her role as a Senator. Bail Organa is married just fine (by the way, it's another happily married couple that you seem to overlook).
  16. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

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    star 7
    Should have listened to Qui-Gon ( but no one ever does ).

    I think I'm beginning to see the source of your confusion. That's Shmi, not Padme.

    [face_laugh]

    "In Lucas's crappy storytelling world where men and women don't seem to love each other, it may have been the midichlorians"

    That's not an argument.
    Last edited by Arawn_Fenn, Dec 22, 2012
  17. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

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    Mar 4, 2011
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    I've seen a lot on this site, but ROTFLMAO at the idea that Anakin and Padme never had sex.

    As far as Anakin's awkward lines in AOTC, that was intentional, as Anakin had had about as much instruction and experience with women as the average middle-schooler from an uber-puritanical home (the type of home where the parents think teenage sex will disappear if nobody talks about it).

    As far as why Padme was only mentioned once; it wasn't necessary to the story to mention her until we see Luke and Leia discussing being twins. Prior to that we see Luke in relation to his father as a Jedi who turned, and how that affected his own journey as a Jedi. Padme wasn't relevant to the aspect of Luke's story that we see on film at that point.
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  18. -NaTaLie- Force Ghost

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    Yeah, they just sleep together in Padme's bed 'cause it's cozier [face_laugh]
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  19. FuzzyWuzzy Jedi Youngling

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    Sep 2, 2012
    star 1
    [IMG]

    Anyway.


    This I agree with. What few female characters do appear in the series are underdeveloped. They're vital to the plot, yet come across as shallow or uninteresting. With the exception of the minimal development on Leia in ESB, there's really no back story to any of the women. Padme's death was incredibly unrealistic and irritating to me as it didn't seem to match up with what little we knew of her character. I didn't notice it when watching as a child, but as I've gotten older I've really not been impressed at all by the female leads in the movies. They come across as naive yet having forceful personalities, which are kind of contradicting qualities.

    Now, that being said, the movies were written in the what- 70s? 80s? At the time, that was pretty much how society thought of women. (From what I've heard, I wasn't actually alive then, so correct me if I'm wrong..) I was under the impression that the "modern" view of women and their roles didn't come about until late 80s or further. Of course, other movies of the time do occasionally portray women as independent or... able. But overall for the most part, the type of character development and importance of women in GFFA is typical of the era in which the saga was written.

    So, yes, it irritates me sometimes, but I guess it's to be expected.
  20. PiettsHat Force Ghost

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    Jan 1, 2011
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    I agree with this to some extent, but I wouldn't say it's because Lucas is unable to write female characters but rather because he doesn't focus on female characters. Star Wars is a very male-dominated Saga (Ian McDiarmid once remarked that it could be subtitled "Fathers and Sons") and I think this plays a part into why Padmé and Leia's roles were not more prominent and why there's really no other major female characters in the Saga. I wouldn't say, though, that Padmé is underdeveloped. Especially if one takes into account her deleted scenes, she's actually one of the characters we know the most about. If we compare her to say, Han or Obi-Wan, we know far more of Padmé's backstory and childhood than either of those two men (which is essentially nothing). The issue with Padmé, though, is that Lucas seemed to have chosen to focus on the males' arcs and cut down on her story (a pity, in my opinion). But at least the scenes are there on the bonus discs.

    Padmé's death, though many find it unrealistic, I think was thoroughly planned out by Lucas. I don't think he didn't care about her character -- there's many times throughout the deleted scenes introductions where he makes commentary that's very significant to her death. In particular, he talks about how the inability to evolve or adapt leads to death and the nature of symbiosis in TPM.

    There's also the fact that I believe Lucas' adherence to "classic" storytelling causes some of the disconnect. Star Wars is both modern and rooted in antiquity. The characters live in this very modern, technologically advanced society, but the story is, at its heart, very traditional in some senses which might be the cause of the conflict.
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  21. Valairy Scot Force Ghost

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    Sep 16, 2005
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    The 70's & 80's were a bit of a mixed bag as regards women's roles (men's, as well). Women were pushing into "men's roles" and there was a fair amount of backlash. There was also the reaction to this from - in many cases younger women - who wanted to "own" their own gender choices and thus embraced some of the very behavior that had other women had tried to move away from (sexualized clothing, etc.)

    (Note: this post was supposed to go up yesterday and got hung up so it may be "behind" the conversation now.)
  22. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

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    I grew up in the 70s and 80s but in the South, which is still several years behind as far as its views on women and women's roles. One of my mother's favorite words during my childhood was "ladylike;" she succeeded with my sister and after 40 years has come to accept that I'm crass as hell and always will be, but I digress. From what I recall in the 70s and 80s, the "Mommy Wars" were horrific and no matter how a woman chose to live, she was wrong according to someone and would hear about how wrong she was. While some of that is still present, I think it has toned down.

    I would disagree about Lucas not knowing how to write female characters though. One reason I like Star Wars as much as I do is that as far as I'm concerned, he broke the mold when he created Leia. As a girl child in the 70s and 80s, the moment I saw Leia snatch the blaster from Han, fire it and declare that "somebody has to save our skins," I knew I wanted to be just like her when I grew up. There was no other such female movie character that I recall from my childhood, most of the girls were all trapped in towers waiting for knights in shining armor to save them. Sure, we had Wonder Woman (I got her Underoos for my 8th birthday; that is all), but she wasn't Leia.

    I think he did well with Padme in TPM and to some point in AOTC. I was disappointed with the way her role disintegrated in ROTS and think it would have helped to have the "Seeds of the Rebellion" deleted scenes left in, but I still don't think she was a badly-done character.
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  23. Valairy Scot Force Ghost

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    Leia was well done (and took a LOT of flack for it, mainly from younger men/older boys as I remember) but GL seems to take feisty strong women and "feminize" them to a degree as they get older. Before I get any flack for it, I don't like the word "feminize" as I used it but can't think of a better one, and I mean in a "traditional" sense.

    Now, how much of Padme's representation in the AOTC novel came from GL and how much from the author I don't know, but Padme to a certain degree "devolved" once she met the "man of her dreams."

    Granted, and it is huge and admirable (if not seen much on screen) that she continued to be passionate about her role as a Senator, but once she fell for Anakin, her desire shifted to be "Mrs. Anakin Skywalker" - wife and mother (far more noticeable in the novel than the movie, admittedly). I like that she wanted to focus on her needs and wants after years of service to others; I totally understand and sympathize with that.

    But as portrayed in the movies (cut scenes don't cut) and novel, it moved to her number 1, 2 and 3 priority.

    In comparison, look at Anakin. He wanted to be "Mr. Skywalker" - husband and dad but not at the expense of his job - he wanted to *add* this to his life, not so much replace it after years of "selfless devotion."

    Now, if we had some other equally strong female leads, some who chose family over job and some who chose to combine both and some who chose to forgo family, I probably wouldn't even blink at Padme's choices - afer all, to each his or her own.

    But Padme *as portrayed" feeds into the old cliche of a female attending college to get her "Mrs." degree (wonder how many of the younger folks never heard this?).

    I am in a unique position relative to most of you as I recall the initial "Women's Lib" movement of the 60's and the bra-burning days. Granted, I was pretty young, but I do remember.

    I've seen the evolution of women's roles and the backlash: I've seen it spawn "Men's Lib" in reaction and I've seen a lot of things come full circle. Women who wanted to get away from the cliche of mom-in-pearls or sexy-eye candy have seen other women embrace those roles as one of choice, not one "foisted" on them by society. I've seen women who want "traditional roles" be scorned by some and now, more often than not, see attempts to help women balance work and family in their lives.

    Back to the point: GL was quite women-friendly in the roles he created in his story and he gets full credit for that. Not all the females are midriff baring, cleavage showing women like Aayla or Ventress. But he seems to incorporate extremes - heavily robed or barely robed, and few males in his universe dress "provocatively."

    Eh...time to shut up...
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  24. PiettsHat Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 1, 2011
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    I think you bring up some very good points Valairy Scot. I understand what you mean in regards to GL's progression of female characters. If I might make a suggestion, perhaps the word you are looking for is not "feminize" but rather "domesticate"? I'm not sure if it's any better of a descriptor, but when I read your post, that was what I felt you were trying to get at. Please correct me if I am wrong.

    I, personally, am not particularly fond of the ROTS novel, so I tend to ignore it, but I see what you mean in regards to it seeming as though Padmé's priorities shifted by Episode III. I think you're correct in stating that part of that was due to her focusing on being a wife and mother. I think another significant issue, though, was the increasing irrelevance of the Senate. We see that by the end of ROTS, the Senate has largely ceded its power to Palpatine and I think that Padmé's diminished role as a Senator speaks to that reality. The scene in which she asks Anakin to talk to Palpatine about getting diplomacy to resume is a testament to that (in my view) since she's very well aware that he has a better shot of getting something accomplished than she due to his position and the way power has shifted on Coruscant.

    I do think, though, it's important that she holds to her ideals in the face of Anakin's offer of power and ruling the galaxy. In that sense, she may have signed on to be Mrs. Skywalker, but she makes it clear that she won't be "Lady" Vader, no what what her husband says.

    Personally, I've always found that (of the two), Padmé seemed more attached to her job than Anakin. Anakin, at the beginning of ROTS, tells her that he doesn't care if people know they are married although this will certainly mean expulsion for him should the Jedi Council find out. I always got the sense that he would be perfectly fine with leaving the Jedi Order at the war's conclusion. Padmé is the one who rebukes him for this (as she does in AOTC when she tells him she does not want him to give up her future for her), but I don't know that Anakin was as attached to his job as Padmé was.

    This is especially one thing I lament about the Saga -- the dearth of female characters. There's basically only Padmé and Leia as for each respective trilogy. And there's really no female-female relationships in the movies as is. The only ones I can think of are Padmé and her handmaidens or Padmé and her mother/sister (and these are only in cut scenes) which is a real pity as they're extremely minor.

    One thing that I do appreciate in GL is that he, at least, does not force female characters to fit exclusively into the "heavily-robed" or "barely-robed" extremes. Both Padmé and Leia spend some time at either end, but I agree that it needn't be such a polarized dichotomy. But I definitely agree with you that there's a gender imbalance in terms of how "provocatively" the males dress. The OT basically had sleeveless Luke (although that hardly seems to count...) while the PT had shirtless Anakin. Although I doubt that did anything for you Valairy Scot. :p Obi-Wan on the other hand...;)

    Actually, I find this discussion (and your perspective in particular) to be very interesting. So I'd love to hear more of your thoughts, if you're willing. :)
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  25. DRush76 Force Ghost

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    There was a reason why Padme's role "disintegrated" in ROTS. One, she was in her third trimester of her pregnancy. But more importantly, her death represented the diminishing role of females in the Saga and the diminishing balance between the two genders. Leia's role in the OT represented the opposite . . . the growing roles of females and the balance between the genders in the Saga. In ROTS, Padme is almost sidelined in the story and ends up dead by the end of the movie. By the end of ROTJ, Leia has lost her cold warrior facade and yet, still is portrayed as an effective warrior. More importantly, we see female pilots in the Rebel Alliance and a female political leader.
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