Love in Star Wars: The Prequels

After briefly touching on my distaste for AOTC in the last post and how much I hated the love scenes, I wanted to take a look on how love as a whole is viewed within the Saga.

There are four characters that fall in love within the saga: Anakin, Padmé, Han, and Leia.  I’m ignoring Luke’s momentary crush on Leia before he realized that they were related.  Keep in mind that I am only looking at their relationships, not exactly how their relationship interacts with the plot.  I have to say – I’m not really impressed with the relationships between any of the four characters.

Of course, we all have preconceived notions of how two people in love are supposed to act, behave, and respond to each other throughout their relationship.  My view will completely taint this analysis, so apologies ahead of time for that.  I don’t believe love is about opposites attract anymore than it is about like attracting like.  But I do believe that there must be common ground amongst all partnerships, somewhere you can come back to, realize the similarities, and connect.  Whether it’s something as simple as hobbies you share, to a deeper connection on shared values and morals, I believe there has to be that common thread that binds you together like the Force.  Perhaps my view is too simplistic, but I think that despite everything, strands of commonality keeps people together.

Anakin and Padmé’s love seem to be based on pure attraction, nothing else.  Between the both of them, I have a hard time believing this love could ever last as long it did because I don’t find any shared ideals or interests.  Anakin comes from a slave background within a poor planet, whereas Padmé was brought up on a wealthier planet and was in a position of power from a young age.  I know that backgrounds don’t define whether or not a relationship will work, but I know from experience that it makes it a hell of a lot easier when you both come from the same culture and socioeconomic status.  As Anakin grows into a Jedi, Padmé grows into a Senator and their beliefs still seem to be at odds.  Though they fall in love when Padmé no longer rules the planet, she is still drenched within the political system of Naboo by being their Senator, whereas I get the impression the Jedi try to protect and defend the Republic but not get into the nitty gritty of it.

Everything they say and do never match up.  Anakin has no idea of how the Republic and Senate functions and believes people “should be made to” agree on all issues.  Hello, Padmé!  Wake up!  First of all, Anakin is sounding like an ignorant child and second of all, he seems to be quite serious that a dictatorship would work better.  I read through the script again and it seems like every time they talk with each other in AOTC, Padmé awkwardly changes the subject.  The only time they hold a conversation that seems friendly and on the same page is when Padmé is discussing her path to becoming the Queen and Anakin’s affirmation that the people loved her.

padme and anakin naboo field

What bothers me most about their love is that the deterioration of Anakin and Padmé in the prequels seems to be rooted in their relationship.  Padmé started out as a strong, female character who ruled a planet at a very young age.  By the end of ROTS, she ignores her common sense and her life is so attached to Anakin that she dies of a broken heart.  Anakin has had a crush on her since she was little, and though he has dark streaks within him, ultimately he turns to the dark side because he didn’t have the power to save Padmé.  He could not fathom the loss of his beloved and ends up killing her in the process and almost destroying himself.

Padme and Anakin concerned

I don’t like seeing how these three movies, which started out with a strong female lead, has her become so reliant on a man.  You could argue with me and say, “But this is a Sci-Fi Action movie, not a chick flick!” And I would say, “Yes, but that argument is more appropriate for the Original Trilogy.”  The whole point of the prequels is to follow Anakin’s life.  Apparently, George Lucas wanted to have Anakin’s conversion to the dark side be an effect of his love with Padmé.  It’s different from the OT, where we focus on Luke’s life and his training to become a Jedi, where the romance of Han and Leia is more of a side plot.

Padmé is dependent on Anakin and vice versa.  Every time an “I love you” is issued in the prequels, it is always Padmé saying it to Anakin and it is never returned, which automatically puts her on unequal footing with him.  He has the “higher ground” by knowing how open she is with her feelings toward him.  Anakin is dependent on Padmé by making her his life and claiming that he can’t “live without her.” The prequels show love as the need to be dependent on someone else and it saddens me that this skewed version is presented.  Even without their love being a catalyst for Anakin’s conversion to becoming a Sith, I don’t see a healthy relationship.

 

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3 thoughts on “Love in Star Wars: The Prequels

  1. Great observation about the problems with the “love story” in the Prequels! Its really sad how a committed relationship is represented as the catalyst for the downward spiral into the Dark Side. Love should be something that makes people stronger together than they are individually. Instead Anakin and Padmé come off as the poster relationship for codependence. And an excellent point that Anakin never shows any true emotional intimacy to Padmé.

    I look forward to your thoughts on the Han/Leia relationship. Its not exactly a textbook love either, but I do like how that one plays on screen.

    On a related note, I was talking with a work friend about the sequel rumors and noted that further adventures will likely focus on the Solo and Skywalker children. My friend was taken aback. He has played the Old Republic rpgs but has not read any of the EU novels. It had never occurred to him that Luke would marry and have children, since this was strictly taboo in the Old Republic Jedi he is familiar with. Another friend and I (we get pretty geeky at work) tried to explain that with Luke’s untraditional training, he was able to reboot the Order and allow love, marriage and families, possibly even because it was these bonds, Anakin choosing his son over the Emperor, that saved Luke’s life. Anyway short story long, the one friend felt this ruined everything that Jedi should have families since that goes against the original Order.

    How do you think the possibility of Luke’s marriage and children will be received by the general movie going public? Especially considering that Anakin and Padmé provide such a terrible template for Jedi love gone wrong…

  2. Oh man, your comment actually just gave me a moment of fear. I remembered when the prequels were coming out and I kept thinking about all these continuity issues between the PT and OT and had faith that George would address them…AND THEN HE NEVER DID. They were just ignored.

    So now you have me worrying that this whole Skywalker children situation will never be addressed and people will just be like, “huh?” Please Kathleen Kennedy, don’t do that!

    As to how it will be received from non-intense fans, I think if they have a good explanation as to why it happens…then it won’t be a problem. The biggest problem lies when, like I just said, you don’t make any connections to the past/present/future and there are glaring continuity problems. In fact, I hope they go even more into it than just a brief explanation and I hope they show that being able to love and marry works out quite well for the Jedi and can be acceptable.

    Speaking of no intimacy shown by Anakin to Padme, I wanted to go into this whole tangent on Anakin and his need to possess people because of his mother, Qui-Gon, etc, but figured that would be a post for another time. But it does relate into this analysis in that Anakin only really looked at Padme as someone to possess, not to love.

  3. “Anakin and Padmé’s love seem to be based on pure attraction, nothing else.”

    I have not yet seen the prequels (newbie to Star Wars here), but this statement reminds me of the Harry/Ginny romance in the Harry Potter books. I felt that their relationship didn’t have a strong enough foundation–there was attraction, Ginny was Harry’s best friend’s sister, but I didn’t feel like they really *knew* each other. I don’t think Harry and Ginny were inherently incompatible–they have shared interests and values and complementary personalities, but in terms of how they acted around each other on page, it was mostly attraction and kissing. It was blah. I love it when a romantic couple has a strong underlying friendship.

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