The Star Wars prequels are… divisive. For every positive such as Yoda battling the Emperor or seeing Samuel L. Jackson wielding a lightsaber, there are dozens of negatives such as young Anakin, adult Anakin, and Jar Jar Binks. There’s also the baffling treatment of Padme Amidala’s pregnancy and death. By which I mean, George Lucas was either clearly unfamiliar with the basic obstetrics practices of a technologically advanced society or figured no one would notice Padme didn’t have the slightest idea what was going on in her womb despite living in a the Star Wars equivalent of Neo-Tokyo.
This topic has come up over and over again in the 12 years since Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith was released. Puzzled fans have tried to piece together exactly how Padme could’ve been ignorant to the fact she was pregnant with twins and also what ultimately led to her demise. The most recent foray was a piece by Sarah Jeong over at Motherboard entitled, “Did Inadequate Women’s Healthcare Destroy Star Wars’ Old Republic?” In the article, Jeong argues — not incorrectly — that Padme should’ve been receiving prenatal care at least on par with the first world countries of Earth, including monthly doctor visits and periodic ultrasounds. One could explain away Padme having two names picked out as her wishing to be “surprised” by the baby’s gender, but it’s far more difficult to hand wave her complete ignorance about the fact she was having twins.
It’s time for this speculation madness to stop. Disney and the Lucasfilm Story Group have thus far done a pretty fantastic job of pulling together disparate pieces of Star Wars lore and paving over the biggest plot holes. Marvel’s recent Princess Leia miniseries provides an explanation for the young Alderaan princess’ stoic response to the loss of her planet. Heir to the Jedi follows Luke Skywalker between A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back to flesh out how the young Jedi would eventually come to have the knowledge to create a lightsaber. Star Wars: Rebels and Rogue One build out a galaxy far, far away that doesn’t revolve around the Skywalker family. If anyone can come up with a plausible in-universe explanation for Padme’s inexplicable behavior in Revenge of the Sith, it’s the Lucasfilm Story Group. The threads are already in place. They just need to stitch the lore tapestry together.
For example, there’s already a widely known and accepted fan theory that Emperor Palpatine killed Padme to save Anakin. Versions of this theory have been kicking around since at least 2008 but the gist remains the same: During the opera scene, Palpatine tells Anakin the tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise. Allegedly the Sith Lord could influence midi-chlorians to keep those he loved from dying. Palpatine then promises to help Anakin use this power to save Padme from death in childbirth. What is left unsaid is how Sith abilities aren’t exactly rainbows and sunshine so it would make sense that to save a life, one must sacrifice another. Hence Padme dying for no known medical reason could be chalked up to dark side interference.
Of course, if Palpatine had that kind of power one must wonder why he wasn’t murdering people willy-nilly from halfway across the galaxy. That could easily be explained away by the mysticism of the Force needing a connection between the two victims, or some other caveat that makes life force transference exceptionally difficult to achieve. But that still leaves the question of why Padme didn’t know she was pregnant with twins. Again, the lore has already been put in place to potentially explain this, if Lucasfilm would only pull the trigger on making it canon.
Much like how in Harry Potter there is a list of all Muggle-born wizards, there is a similar list of Force-sensitive infants at the Jedi Temple. Contained within a holocron (data cube), the list is the subject of a season-two arc of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series. The holocron was stolen as Palpatine hoped to use the knowledge to create an army of Sith neophytes. What the show never delves into is how the Jedi obtain the knowledge of Force-sensitive children. We know Jedi are recruited into the Order at extremely young ages (though I’ve always wondered what would happen if a parent refused to give their child to the Jedi) but the holocron implies a system is in place to root them out. With Anakin being the father of her unborn child, Padme would’ve known there was a high probability the baby would be Force-sensitive. Perhaps she avoided prenatal care to stay off the Jedi’s radar. Perhaps Force-sensitive fetuses garble prenatal medical equipment, making an accurate heartbeat or ultrasound reading impossible. The possibilities are bountiful. Lucasfilm need merely pick one and commit so we can put this whole sordid thing behind us and focus on more important issues.
Like whether or not Mace Windu survived his fall from Palpatine’s office.