George Lucas’ Star Wars universe is a world rich with fascinating and complex characters, story arcs, and unexpected twists. The decades-long saga tells us the story of the Skywalker family, their rise, fall, adventures, and misfortunes as they struggle to delicately control the powers of the Force in an epic, intergalactic battle between good and evil.
Among these dark and riveting tales, the tragic story of Anakin Skywalker, the one who would bring balance back to the Force, his fall to the dark side, and the subsequent death of Padmé Amidala is an iconic one that raises questions. Throughout several installments of the franchise, we see how Padme and Anakin met and how their interactions gave way to a budding romance to a full-fledged forbidden love that eventually concluded in tragedy for both of them and the universe.
Anakin’s Fall to the Dark Side
Anakin Skywalker began as a slave in Tatooine, a prodigy pod racer pilot discovered by serendipity when Qui Gon Jinn and his padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi landed on that planet, discovered his talent and high midiclorian count and took him to pursue Jedi training at the Academy. Throughout his upbringing as a Jedi, Anakin and Padmé begin as friends, fall in love, and end up being lovers. There’s a caveat to this romance story, and it’s that the Jedi forbid their knights from falling in love and pursuing romantic interests. So, Anakin and Padme’s love was forbidden.
A once-promising Jedi with a future full of hope, Anakin eventually succumbed to the manipulations of Chancellor Palpatine, aka Darth Sidious. Driven by fear and a burning desire to protect his loved ones, Anakin believed that turning to the dark side would grant him unprecedented powers to save those dearest to him, including Padme, who became pregnant with Anakin in their forbidden love for the twins Luke and Leia.
Anakin’s eventual fall to the dark side of the force starts from the seeds of doubt and disillusionment that sprouted within Anakin. Firstly, disenchantment with the rigid structure of the Jedi Order, which forbade him to fall in love. Secondly, his disillusioned relationship with his mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi, always pushed Anakin towards restraint and measures that were unalike his spirit, thus undermining what Anakin considers the better ranges of his nature.
But the final straw that led Anakin to the Dark Side of the Force was the recurrent nightmares of losing Padmé in childbirth. At the time, the Republic was in turmoil, and Chancellor Palpatine was conspiring to get himself to power with an eventual Sith disciple; that disciple was Anakin once Darth Sidious flipped Anakin.
When the dice were cast, Darth Sidious ignited a spark in Anakin with the drive to search for a means to prevent Padme’s death, a power that was not generally supported by the teachings of the Jedi and that the Sith master.
Anakin and Padme’s Relationship
The love story of Anakin Skywalker and Padmé Amidala is one of the most poignant and memorable aspects of the Star Wars saga; while fans consider Episode II: Attack of the Clones to be a bad movie, it is, in fact, a love story. You see, despite the forbidden nature of their love, Padme and Anakin display a passionate and devoted bond.
For one part, we see Anakin prepared to do anything to keep Padmé safe; for another, we see how Padme is willing to risk reputation and power for the man she loves.
In the end, it is this intense love cocktail that would ultimately become both the driving force behind Anakin’s descent into darkness, as well as the instrument of his own redemption.
The Tragedy: Did Anakin Kill Padme?
Towards the end of “Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith,” Anakin succumbs to the Dark Side, commits mass murder, and eventually confronts his former master, Obi-Wan Kenobi, on Mustafar.
Anakin has fallen prey to a larger plot; he is blinded by rage and convinced that his mentor had betrayed him and led Padmé astray. This explosive encounter culminates in an intense lightsaber duel, one of the most iconic battles of the sada, which ultimately ends with Obi-Wan defeating Anakin, leaving him severely injured, maimed, and burned to die on the burning ashes and lava of the Mustafar surface.
Meanwhile, Emperor Palpatine discovers Anakin’s near-lifeless body, only to inform him later that, in his blind fury, he had killed Padmé. However, the truth is far more nuanced, as Padmé succumbed to a broken heart after witnessing Anakin’s transformation into Darth Vader. Overwhelmed with grief and hopelessness, Padmé loses the will to live and tragically dies after giving birth to Luke and Leia.
While Anakin did not directly kill Padmé, his actions and choices — propelled by fear and misguided love — played a significant role in bringing about her untimely end.