To put it technically, Padme got totally screwed during the editing process of both Attatck of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. She was easily the most deleted character in both films, with entire subplots excised that drastically undermined her personal motivations and importance to the overall saga.
All of these scenes are available within these two longer videos, if you’ve never seen them or want to rewatch:
5. “A Stirring in the Senate (Bail’s Office)” (ROTS; 07:24-09:22)
Three major scenes were cut from ROTS dealing with the formation of the Rebellion in the shadow of Palpatine’s growing power, of which Padme was a key founder. I’ll say more of this subplot later, but I will say that a major aspect of Padme’s character marginalized in ROTS due to these cuts was her position as a political nemesis of Palpatine.
4. “Padme’s Bedroom” (AOTC; 12:06-13:28)
This is a scene that really would have helped the Anakin/Padme romance, it’s true importance is due to the stories Padme tells about the holopictures that hang on her wall. In one she is exuberant and passionate, hugging two alien children. In another she is stoic and reserved, ready for her first day as a junior legislature. Both of these offer a look into Padme’s past, which we almost never receive. We also get a peek at the pain she herself holds within: those kids she was hugging were members of a species whose sun was about to explode; Padme was a part of a project to save the children, but the kids were never able to adapt off-world and they all ultimately died. Having to deal with helplessness, extinction, and survivor’s guilt before she’s ten years old, and still ending up as good a person as she is: that takes strength
3. “Padme Addresses the Senate” (AOTC; 00:01-01:58)
I have a pretty simple reason for loving this scene: “My noble colleagues. Less than an hour ago an assassination attempt was made against my life.”
Less than an hour ago! I know there’s no shortage of Padme being a badass in this movie, but I personally find this way more stone cold than waving a blaster around. Someone tries to kill her, she loses a very good friend (and six others apparently), and then she immediately strolls into the Senate anyway. Knowing that one of the beings in that room likely tried to kill her.
Besides, this would have reinforced Padme’s role as a political nemesis of Palpatine AND helped the audience understand that Padme had transitioned from Queen to Senator.
But, really, she’s just badass.
2. “Padme’s Parents House” (AOTC; 09:00-12:05)
There are too many reasons to count why cutting this scene was criminal. Helping add some spark and depth to the Anakin/Padme romance, offering the audience a look at Padme’s mother, father, sister, and nieces, and showing a largely different side of Padme are some major ones. Besides the radical change in attire (you’re fooling no one, Padme), we get to see her loosen up and be a daughter/sister. Immediately she’s much more like a 24 year old, blurting out “we’re STARVING!” to her mom, rolling her eyes at her sister, and staring longingly out windows at a hot boy hoping no one will notice (while, once again, absolutely everyone noticed).
1. “Seeds of Rebellion (Padme’s Apartment)” (ROTS; 09:23-10:25)
I began and ended with elements cut from Padme’s Rebellion subplot, because I feel that’s the biggest blow to her importance in the saga as a whole. In the theatrical cut it is still possible to infer that she helped found the Rebellion, because she is so close to Bail and Mon and is such a staunch defender of freedom. But the audience shouldn’t have had to infer, and at least one of the three rebellion scenes should have made it into the film.
With Padme as an explicit founder of the Rebellion, then Leia leading it and Luke joining it in the OT becomes so much more powerful. It also helps give depth to the resolution of Padme’s “original sin:” being the one who got Palpatine elected Chancellor. The OT becomes the story of Padme and Anakin’s kids helping fix their parents’ biggest mistakes: Leia fixes her mother’s political FUBAR, while Luke fixes their father and the mess he made of the Jedi religion.