Welcome to an occasional new series called It’s all in the head-canon, in which I will look at some of the more questionable moments in the Star Wars canon and try to work them through with my own head-canon into something that fits the evidence available, while still feeling like it could be a natural part of the Star Wars story. For my first article, I will be looking at my personal favourite fan theory: the death of Padmé Amidala.
The canon story
Following her confrontation with Anakin Skywalker on Mustafar, Padmé realised that Anakin really had fallen to the dark side. Believing that she had joined up with Obi-Wan, Anakin force chocked her to unconsciousness. After defeating Anakin in a duel, Obi-Wan took Padmé to a facility on Polis Massa, where the medical droids surmised that medically she was perfectly fine, but they were still losing her. In the words of the medical droid, “She has lost the will to live.” The medical droids successfully birthed her children, Luke and Leia, and she died just minutes later, supposedly of a broken heart.
Why does this feel wrong? Well put simply, Padmé has always been a strong character, so to lose the will to live because Anakin has fallen to the dark side just seems wrong, especially considering that with her last breaths, she tells Obi-Wan that she believes there is still good in Anakin.
Even if she did not truly believe Anakin could be redeemed, she has just given birth to their children, and I can’t believe that a character as strong as her would lose the will to live when she has new-born twins to care for and bring up, while I also feel that she would have taken a lead role in any rebellion, much like Bail Organa and Mon Mothma did.
It’s all in the head-canon
My feeling is that rather than dying of a broken heart and losing the will to live, Padmé’s life force was actually drained away by Darth Sidious and used to keep Darth Vader alive.
We already know from The Clone Wars that Palpatine was powerful with his Sith Magiks by this time, allowing him to almost kill Yoda, and with his master having been Darth Plagueis – the Sith Lord who found away to keep people from dying – it is easy enough to believe that one of these magiks could involve keeping someone alive by draining the life force from someone else.
With the way Darth Vader had been burned, he must have been hanging onto life by the tiniest of threads until his suit was fully on, which also conveniently seems to match up with the moment that Padmé dies. As Darth Vader takes his fist breath, she takes her last.
Sacrificing Padmé to save Vader would also help Palpatine with 2 issues. First of all, it would mean that he did not lose his apprentice, who would still be strong despite his injuries. Secondly, Padmé had already proved a thorn in his side on many occasions, and could also present a chance of turning Darth Vader back to the light, so finding a way to get rid of her would be key, and saving Vader’s life in doing so would be the perfect option. This theory would also explain why Palpatine was able to tell Vader that Padmé was dead, despite her having only just died in a secret installation – which would mean nobody outside of that installation should know.
And so we come to the final point: why would the medical droids say that she was losing the will to live? Well that is simple, a droid will never fully understand the Force, as it cannot be truly seen or quantified. All they would see is Padmé’s life force draining away for no apparent reason, so losing the will to live would be a somewhat understandable conclusion in those circumstances. To quote Dexter Jettster in Attack of the Clones, “I should think that you Jedi would have more respect for the difference between knowledge and wisdom.”
So in summary, Padmé did not lose the will to live and die of a broken heart, but instead had her life force drained away by Palpatine to keep Darth Vader alive following his injuries on Mustafar, however her cause of death was misdiagnosed by medical droids that did not understand the Force.
What do you think of this theory?
Thanks for reading. May the Force be with you….
One thought on “It’s all in the head-canon: Padmé’s Death”
Hi Tim, this has always been an issue for me in ROTS. I just don’t believe that Padme would “lose the will to live” when she just gave birth to babies that need her. It just doesn’t make sense considering what we know of Padme’s character. And all the other reasons you mentioned are spot-on, too. I’ve heard of the theory that Palpatine drained her life force to save Vader, but it’s always countered with “There’s no evidence that occured.” Which is true, so it leaves us fans in a quandary. I tend to believe your theory over the “broken heart” answer, even though there’s no “proof”; I think it’s a common head-canon for a lot of us fans. It just makes much more sense. Thanks for posting about this, it’s always been a stick in my craw, lol.
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