Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
the phantom menace / the empire strikes back
The Picnic Scene – IT’S NO PICNIC!
The picnic scene in AOTC inspires such backlash and huge amount of criticism – some say the scene doesn’t even feel like SW and its only aim is to show Harlequin-type of romance to appeal to the female audience, others argue that it basically shows Anakin having facist tendencies and it’s the moment Padmé should have run away from him. It’s such a pity because there are so many things going on in that scene – the symbolism, the political and social commentary, all the things it reveals about Anakin’s personality and motivation,… – and it has many different levels.
It’s funny how so many people automatically deduce from the dictatorship conversation that Anakin is twisted and that the relationship between him and Padmé would never work. Everyone is ready to jump on the “inherently evil and twisted” bandwagon just because a 19-year-old man freely voices his personal opinion in a free society which respects the freedom of expression and opinion. They condemn him without giving him the benefit of doubt. It’s a bias stemming from the fact that THEY KNOW HE WILL BECOME DARTH VADER, THE EPITOME OF OF EVIL, ergo him supporting dictatorship makes him already guilty of much worse crimes.
As if “dictatorship” was the most taboo word in the world. Just uttering it makes him guilty in almost everyone’s eyes. It’s much worse than if he said the F-word (actually, if he did it most people would think him cool). However, what people fail to see is that an opinion and actually acting on it are two completely different things. It feels ironic that the same people who accuse Anakin of being written as a moody teenager vilify him for having a mature and relevant conversation about such sophisticated topic as the political organization of society.
Anakin in AOTC is portrayed with naivité that is typical for his age but also cynism of a man who has seen too much too soon, and this combination makes him much more mature than a typical teenager. However, most of all, Anakin is an idealist who he sees the system isn’t working and Padmé sees it, as well. However, when he offers dictatorship as a way of reforming the system, Padmé cannot offer other solution because she doesn’t have one, even though her own belief tells her dictatorship is wrong, and she can only show incredulity. In that moment, Anakin doesn’t defend dictatorship because he wants to rule the Galaxy himself (that only happens after he joins Sidious), but because he sees it as an alternative to a system that has been failing and HE ACTUALLY SAW PEOPLE DIE BECAUSE OF IT, SAW THEIR SUFFERING AS HE WAS HELPLESS TO SAVE THEM. HE BLED FOR THAT SYSTEM, HE FOUGHT EACH DAY WHILE RISKING HIS LIFE TO PROTECT THAT SYSTEM OUT OF LOYALTY, HONOUR AND HIS VOWS BUT IT KEPT DISAPPOINTING HIM OVER AND OVER AGAIN. He had left his mother in slavery for what she’d hoped to be his freedom, but he ended up realizing that the politicians he serves are as corrupted and evil as the criminals on Tatooine. In ROTS it’s strongly implied how he has stopped believing in what he’s fighting for because that very thing has become corrupted. One of the reasons why he wants to go with Obi-wan to Utapau is because with him he feels he is doing the right thing – with him he feels there are still things worth fighting for in the Galaxy.
Another level is that people forget that the real point of that scene isn’t about Anakin showing to be in favour of dictatorship nor it’s about politics – it’s about an argument and a debate, about philosophy, the importance of discussion and a point of view, because there is no such thing as an absolute truth or a perfect system. George Lucas is famous for working with motifs and ideologies in his Saga and that fact is even more pronounced in the Prequels as the conversation between Padmé and Anakin is an allusion to the Greek history and philosophy which gave birth to the ideas of political systems. Aristotle himself, who lived in the democratic Athens and is considered to be one of the greatest thinkers and philosophers of all time, was a passionate advocate of autocracy, which he considered to be the best type of political system, and the rule of a benevolent dictator while he deemed democracy as the worst of all the political systems. The flaw is not in any of the systems, it’s in the people – be it communism, autocracy or democracy (or dynamite), originally they were all noble ideas to help people. However, each time the philosophers and their founders assumed that the people who would hold the power would be righteous and incorruptable and that was their common mistake because the people are weak and greedy and power corrupts.
Finally, about Padmé’s reaction to Anakin’s opinions – it’s obvious it shocks her but it also intrigues her because no man would ever dare to openly and frankly voice his political beliefs which are considered by the general society as politically incorrect. He believes in the same things as she does – the prosperity of people – but not neccessarily in the same methods with which he would achieve it. And why? Because he was shaped differently than Padmé who always had the freedom to shape her own destiny and the possibilities and means to freely fight for her people and her beliefs, but for the most parts she was sheltered and protected from the terrible atrocities of war and social injustice. On the other hand, Anakin, even after being freed from slavery, was never sheltered and as Obi-Wan’s padawan was always in the middle of battles and fights; he could never decide for himself and had to follow the orders of the Council and the Senate, left again to watch helplessly all the people he couldn’t save .
Revenge of the Sith | Deleted Scene | Obi-Wan Visits Padmé
“I am not blind, Padmé. Though I have tried to be, for Anakin’s sake. And for yours. Anakin has loved you since the day you met, in that horrible junk shop on Tatooine. He’s never even tried to hide it, though we do not speak of it. We… pretend that I don’t know. And I was happy to, because it made him happy. You made him happy, when nothing else ever truly could.”
The deleted scene of all SW deleted scenes! The one that the PT fandom would give anything to see but probably never will due to Disney’s anti-Prequels policy: The moment Obi-Wan Kenobi officially admits that he is Anidala shipper and wordlessly confesses that he really does love Anakin Skywalker!
“You love him, too, don’t you?” When he didn’t answer she turned around. He stood motionless, frowning, in the middle of the expanse of the buff carpeting. “You do. You do love him.” He lowered his head. He looked very alone. “Please, do what you can to help him,” he said, and left.
It reveals so much about the relationship between the three, long-time friends, and sheds new light on the complexity of it, but most of all it reveals the extent of Obi-Wan’s love for Anakin when he openly admits to Padmé he has known about their forbidden relationship from the beginning and that not only has he tacitly allowed it but also silently supported it for all those years! (It’s something that got almost completely lost in ROTS, aside the tacit acknowledgement of Padmé’s pregnancy.) It explains so much about his behaviour at the end of AOTC when he sent Anakin to escort Padmé back to Naboo despite the fact that he knew better than anyone else about the possible consequences. It explains his behaviour in the hangar—it’s the moment when he chooses Anakin over the Jedi Order and decides to give him the only thing he knows that can make him happy, Padmé.
Considering he spent all his time with Anakin, Obi-Wan must have been blind not to notice him mysteriously disappearing and the sudden addition of R2 as their new teammate. Though, I’m sure the pragmatist he was Obi-Wan must have thought he still got the better end of the bargain since he didn’t need to listen to C3PO’s statistics on how low his odds of survival were. The saddest thing about it is that Anakin never realized that his friend knew nor how much he was loved by him or how fiercely protective and loyal he was. Just the mere fact that he, the stickler for rules, cared more about Anakin’s happiness and well-being than the Jedi and all their dogmas. What makes it even more special is that his visits follows the moment he told Anakin about his mission to spy on Palpatine, so him going to Padmé was the direct result of it, because Obi-Wan knew how much it hurt and disillusioned him, It shows that Obi-Wan understood Anakin and recognized how much different he was from all the other Jedi and he ACCEPTED HIM, EVERYTHING OF HIM, instead of trying to change him. It’s obvious he wanted to protect his singularity and happiness because he loved this complex, flawed man with all his flaws and weaknesses.
“I was very happy to learn of his appointment to the Council.” – Padmé
“Yes. It is perhaps less than he deserves—though I’m afraid that it can be more than he can handle.” – Obi-Wan
Futhermore, though it is short, this is such an important and private moment between Padmé and Obi-Wan – her husband’s best, and probably only, friend, the closest thing to a brother and a father he had, the man who loved her son and protected him him from the shadows even after he sacrificed himself to save him and his sister. Which was so fitting because in that way he repaid Anakin all those times he had saved his life. Also, it would be awesome to watch Padme’s reaction at hearing Obi-Wan speak about the depth of Anakin’s feelings for her, because here was the man who knew him the best and he was telling her how much and openly her husband loved her, because for all she knew, no one but a couple of droids, a priest and a handful of people loyal to her were aware of her love affair with the Jedi Knight and she no one to confide in about her private life.
Finally, the final part of the scene when Obi-Wan receives the message from Mace Windu about Grievous’s whereabouts reveals the sheer hopeless turmoil Padmé had been living through during her marriage with Anakin—that their time together was limited and that her husband could be called to war any moment and taken away from her.
[Star Wars Needs More Lesbians AU: ] In which Sabé AND Padmé fell in love, both knowing it could never be; handmaiden and Queen. And Sabé ultimately failed to protect her.