Obi-Wan Kenobi finally does Padmé Amidala justice

Natalie Portman as Padmé Amidala in Revenge of the Sith
(Image credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)

Warning: spoilers for the entire run of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Do not read on if you have not completed the Disney Plus series. 

Who are the most important characters in Star Wars? The names Luke, Anakin, and Rey are perhaps the most obvious – but one of the saga's most key figures has been absent in live-action Star Wars for 17 long years: Padmé Amidala, Natalie Portman's compassionate Queen, fierce Senator, and brave fighter. Before Obi-Wan Kenobi, Padmé had not been seen, spoken of, or heard from in live-action since 2005's Revenge of the Sith. But, finally, the Disney Plus show has done her justice. 

It's not an exaggeration to say that Padmé is one of the saga's most significant characters. The blockade of her planet Naboo kicks off the prequel trilogy, and Anakin's love for her – and seriously misguided attempts to save her life – cause his downfall and the rise of Darth Vader. She is also, of course, the mother of Luke and Leia, the galaxy's last hopes. But, despite how central Padmé is, the entire sequel trilogy went by without a single mention of her. Classic characters like Palpatine and Vader cast long shadows over the films – and eventually appeared or had voice cameos – but there wasn't even a glancing reference to Padmé. 

Obi-Wan Kenobi has finally reminded us of the former Queen of Naboo's importance. The Jedi Master tells Leia that she's "fearless" and "stubborn" like someone he once knew, and later, during the finale, that she inherited "wise, discerning, kind-hearted" qualities from her biological mother. Padmé's memory clearly lives on in Leia. And, while young Luke Skywalker doesn't have a big role in the series, there's still a connection to his mother, if a subtle one. Padmé figures prominently in Obi-Wan's nightmare during the opening episode, and her line "there's good in him" – referring to Anakin – can be heard multiple times. That's a belief she shares with her son, and it eventually saves the galaxy. 

Natalie Portman as Padmé Amidala in Attack of the Clones

(Image credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)

By showing the impact Padmé has had on her family, and by extension the Star Wars universe, the series ensures that her memory survives. After all, Padmé's legacy was arguably short-changed in Revenge of the Sith: scenes revealing she was instrumental in founding the Rebellion were cut from the final film. Her death also does her a disservice – she dies not from childbirth, but from losing the will to live, which is a peculiar malady for someone who has just had two children. It's hard to view this as anything more than preserving canon, and the character deserves more than that. 

But, while Padmé's presence is felt throughout Obi-Wan Kenobi, the show could have gone further. For one thing, she’s never named, and Portman doesn't reprise her role in a flashback or otherwise. Padmé's dying belief that there's still good in Anakin is never relayed to the Sith Lord, either, even in episode 6's climactic battle between Obi-Wan and Vader. These are potentially missed opportunities, but the show undoubtedly still does more to honor Padmé's legacy than any other live-action Star Wars movie or show since Revenge of the Sith. 

Live-action is a key distinction to make, too: this isn't to underplay the role of the animated shows or the novels and comics that make up the galaxy far, far away. Padmé is a major character in The Clone Wars with her own storylines, and she was recently the focus of a trilogy of canon novels. But it's undeniable that the live-action installments in the Star Wars saga are the center-piece of the universe, and in those, Padmé has been conspicuous by her absence. 

There are still more opportunities for the Senator to be better remembered. The upcoming Ahsoka show will reportedly see Hayden Christensen return as Anakin (though that's unconfirmed) and, if we see the Jedi reunite with his former Padawan as a Force ghost, there'll be plenty of chances for the duo to talk about Padmé. Even if Christensen doesn't appear in the show, The Book of Boba Fett reveals that Ahsoka has met Luke: we see her talk to the young Jedi about his father, so it would be refreshing to someday see them talk about his mother. 

Obi-Wan Kenobi brings Padmé Amidala back to the forefront of the saga – and finally does right by her. Here's hoping that continues. For now, the show is an excellent reminder that Padmé is indeed one of Star Wars' most important characters. 

For everything coming soon in the galaxy far, far away, check out our guide to all the upcoming Star Wars movies and TV shows – and read about the chances of Obi-Wan Kenobi season 2 on Disney Plus through the link. 

Molly Edwards
Entertainment Writer

I'm an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering all things film and TV for the site's Total Film and SFX sections. I previously worked on the Disney magazines team at Immediate Media, and also wrote on the CBeebies, MEGA!, and Star Wars Galaxy titles after graduating with a BA in English.