“[…] In writing her latest book, Star Wars: Queen’s Shadow, author E.K. Johnston had the chance to explore a previously unexamined period in [Padmé Amidala]’s life. The story is set in the time between The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, with a special focus on Padmé and her handmaidens as she transitioned from noble teenage queen to formidable senator from Naboo. When Johnston recently paid a visit to the Lucasfilm headquarters, we asked her to name her personal fan-favorite moments that spotlight Padmé, her forbidden relationship with Anakin Skywalker, and her ingenuity in handling almost any situation that comes her way.
Full disclosure: “Most of Padmé is my favorite Padmé moment,” Johnston says. But here are her top six picks.
1. “We are brave, your highness.” […] “My favorite possible moment in film is ‘We are brave, your highness,’” Johnston says. “I just love that so much. She has to say, ‘We need to leave this planet’ without actually saying the words. Qui-Gon has probably figured it out by that point, but they’re all agreeing to pretend that he hasn’t so they kind of just have this wonderful moment of synergy. All of them, these girls who are teenagers and running a planet. I just love everything about that.”
2. The long way around. “Just from a pure character moment, during the battle of Naboo when the door opens and Darth Maul is there and she’s just like, ‘We’ll go around,’” Johnston says, laughing. “They just go around and leave the Jedi behind. I love that.”
3. An awkward reunion. “Padmé has one of the best filmed ‘Oh no, he’s hot’ moments in the history of film,” she says. “There’s this moment in Attack of the Clones where she visibly looks into his face and then says the worst possible thing imaginable in front of both of their bosses — not just his boss, both of their bosses! Which is essentially ‘Oh little Ani, you’ve grown up.’ And he’s like, I’m gonna die now, this is the worst possible outcome that could happen.” That authenticity is what makes the exchange one of Johnston’s favorites. “I think it’s fantastic because you have this girl who’s really good at talking to people, but not in a personal way. And then you have Anakin, who doesn’t talk to anybody except for Obi-Wan, who is a terrible role model for that sort of thing. I just love that moment where she totally takes the wind out of his sails and you can just imagine he’s been waiting to see her for 10 years. He’s so excited and she says the worst possible thing and then they have to spend time together, which is hilarious.”
4. Basically everything about the lake house retreat. […] “Basically everything that happens at the lake house. It’s so pretty and it’s the most relaxed she ever gets to be even though she’s still super awkward around boys. Padmé and Anakin have the most amazing have-never-tried-to-flirt-with-anyone dialogue ever!”
For example, Anakin’s musings on sand. “It’s awkward flirting by a teenage boy who’s trying very hard to say the right thing but has never had the opportunity to say the right thing so he’s very bad at it,” Johnston says. “He has no idea what he’s doing. I like the idea that they really do like each other a lot and they have several really good connections but they haven’t spent enough time with each other to sort of unpack the differences in the way they grew up, which even throughout the Clone Wars is a pretty big stumbling block. I really like that aspect of their relationship and it’s all in that one conversation. Sand is terrible and it’s this wonderful example of the class difference between them because for her sand is the beach and a holiday. For him, sand is a reminder that he grew up owned.”
5. The dream team of Padmé and Panaka. There’s a moment towards the end of The Phantom Menace, “when they’re having their standoff in the throne room and Sabé comes in and all the Neimoidians turn around,” Johnston says. “And without talking about it, Padmé and Panaka both go for the guns in the throne. I love that moment. The whole reason the decoy maneuver exists is distilled into that moment and it’s perfect.” […]”