On Saturday, Star Wars star Mark Hamill commemorated Natalie Portman’s birthday by sharing a tweet from the official Star Wars Twitter account with a jokey revelation. “FUN FACT,” he wrote. “I’ve never met this woman.” Unsurprisingly, Hamill’s tweet stirred up the hornet’s nest that is Star Wars online fandom. Why? Because of its loosely veiled connection to one of many canonical issues created by George Lucas’ prequel films, which starred Portman and not Hamill.
Ever since the third and final Star Wars prequel film, Revenge of the Sith, established that Padmé (Portman) had died shortly after giving birth to her and Anakin Skywalker’s (Hayden Christensen) twins, Luke and Leia, fans have fought over a certain scene in Return of the Jedi. Before turning himself over to Darth Vader and the Emperor, adult Luke (Hamill) asks adult Leia (Carrie Fisher) about her mother. “Do you remember your mother? Your real mother?” he asks. “Just a little bit. She died when I was very young,” she says, adding she only remembers “images” and “feelings” but no details.
But could Leia have remembered anything, let along fleeting “images” or “feelings,” when Padmé died shortly after her birth? Sure enough, many who responded to Hamill’s tweet began digging up this old favorite of Star Wars fans and detractors alike. But interest in the debate quickly gave way to The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson’s response. Apparently, Portman visited the set while filming director Alex Garland’s Annihilation at Pinewood Studios, but Hamill had “already wrapped.”