There are two fabulous reasons to love this scene.
- Amidala is a great ruler. She is willing to deal with politics, but not insomuch as that it distracts from her task. Her primary focus is her planet and her people.
- Palpatine is a master manipulator.
We have to keep in mind that Amidala is young when she reigns as queen. She is elected queen of Naboo at age 14, and the Invasion of Naboo was only a few months into her reign. That is tough. She wants to free her people, show that she is a competent ruler, and get her planet back to peace.
Amidala is doing what is right by the books as she goes to Coruscant and pleads her case. Unfortunately, as we have all just seen through the latest government shutdown, getting people to agree on what needs to be done can be a tiring task.
This leads me to my second point: Palpatine. He is the senator of Naboo at the time of the Invasion and you would think he should be looking out for Naboo’s best interest. If we read this scene carefully, we see that he neatly backs Amidala into a corner, using her loyalty to her people as the way out.
He knows Amidala wants to get the Trade Federation off of Naboo so he suggests three options for her, each one worse than the one before. His first option is to put a vote of no confidence out and replacing Chancellor Valorum. When she asks for other possibilities, he slyly mentions bringing it to the courts because he knows that she won’t stand for that.
So where are we? Two options so far that Amidala doesn’t like. But with the last option, he pulls out the stops by suggesting the Trade Federation take over Naboo, and he knows she would never, ever allow that. Now that first option of voting Valorum out of the Senate starts to look favorable. He twists everything right back to where he wants it. A vote of no confidence in Valorum allows Palpatine a run for the seat of Supreme Chancellor. He doesn’t really care about the Trade Federation on Naboo; they were only a pawn moving on a giant chess set.
I really took away a lot from this scene. Before, I always thought that Palpatine was suggesting Trade Federation take over because that’s what he really wanted. I mean, we all know that he is a Sith Lord with a different agenda so perhaps he thought that by throwing out that final option, Amidala would give in.
I never fully appreciated everything he does in this scene and how he plays on Amidala’s loyalty to her people and vulnerability. But I wonder what went through her head when he suggests accepting Federation take over? I feel like there’s a shift in the way she views him after that. If you watch Amidala’s interactions with him from here on out, she begins to disagree with his advice and goes on her own path.
Palpatine succeeds in getting what he wants – to be Supreme Chancellor, which can then lead to his final plan of forming the Empire.
INTERIOR: PALPATINE’S QUARTERS – ANTEROOM – DAY
QUEEN AMIDALA is sitting listening to PALPATINE. EIRTAE and RABE stand behind the QUEEN. PADME is nowhere to be seen. ANAKIN and JAR JAR are waiting in an adjoining room. They can see the Queen but cannot hear what is being said.
JAR JAR: Dissen all pitty odd to my.
ANAKIN: Don’t look at me. I don’t know what’s going on.
CAPTAIN PANAKA enters, then goes into the room with QUEEN AMIDALA.
INTERIOR: PALPATINE’S QUARTERS – LIVING AREA – DAY
PALPATINE is pacing as CAPTAIN PANAKA enters. EIRTAE and RABE stand to one side.
PALPATINE: …the Republic is not what it once was. The Senate is full of greedy, squabbling delegates who are only looking out for themselves and their home sytems. There is no interest in the common good… no civility, only politics… its disgusting. I must be frank, Your Majesty, there is little chance the Senate will act on the invasion.
AMIDALA: Chancellor Valorum seems to think there is hope.
PALPATINE: If I may say so, Your Majesty, the Chancellor has little real power… he is mired down by baseless accusations of corruption. A manufactured scandal surrounds him. The bureaucrats are in charge now.
AMIDALA: What options do we have?
PALPATINE: Our best choice would be to push for the election of a stronger Supreme Chancellor. One who will take control of the bureaucrats, enforces the laws, and give us justice. You could call for a vote of no confidence in Chancellor Valorum.
AMIDALA: He has been our strongest supporter. Is there any other way?
PALPATINE: Our only other choice would to be to submit a plea to the courts…
AMIDALA: There’s no time for that. The courts take even longer to decide things than the Senate. Our people are dying, Senator… more and more each day. We must do something quickly to stop the Federation.
PALPATINE: To be realistic, Your Highness, I’d say we’re going to have to accept Federation control for the time being.
AMIDALA: That is something I cannot do.