Star Wars Prequel Reboot Blog #7: How does Leia remember her mother? Lies and Lives – Padme, Vader and Palpatine

Luke and Leia - Return of the JediIf you’ve not seen Revenge of the Sith by now, this article will be spoiler filled, so avoid if you need to.  However, if you’ve read my other articles, you already know all of the stuff here anyway, so read on.

There is one pretty big inconsistency in the Star Wars films that I don’t know the answer to.

How does Leia remember her mother?

It seems there are many theories about why, in Return of the Jedi, Leia says that her mother was “very beautiful. Kind, but…sad.”

The original trilogy never mentions how Padme died, which is probably why Revenge of the Sith had her die in childbirth.  But that doesn’t really make sense with regard to Leia’s memories of her.  There have been attempts to explain it, however.

In The Empire Strikes Back, two important things happen that could help to explain.  First, Yoda says to Luke: “Through the Force, things you will see. Other places. The future…the past…old friends long gone.”  Second, Leia is Force sensitive, and hears Luke when he’s calling for her help at the end of the film.  These two facts make it possible that she had sensed her mother, or seen visions of her in the past, and not really known the difference.

The only real downside to that explanation is Leia saying “You have a power?  I don’t understand,” to which Luke responds that she has it too, and that in time, she’ll learn to use it as he has.  Leia should have understood at least some of it.  But then, she didn’t really understand how Luke had called to her in The Empire Strikes Back.  So if she had sensed her mother through the Force as a small child, she may have thought she was seeing her mother, or just known that she was seeing her through the Force.  But how those visions became memories that she just recalled without question, we’ll never know.

My concept for how to resolve this is simple, and provides a solution to the entire situation.

Padme doesn’t die.

That’s right.  I feel that Padme should have survived Revenge of the Sith.  She should have gone to Alderaan, and when she got there, given Luke to Obi-wan to hide on Tattooine.

This would help to alter the editing and dialog of the scene in which Darth Vader is first revived in his respirator suit. This scene is suddenly given much more gravity, even as currently written.

Vader and Palpatine in Revenge of the SithPalpatine: Lord Vader, can you hear me?

Darth Vader: [In mechanical voice] Yes, Master. Where is Padmé? Is she safe? Is she alright?

Palpatine: It seems, in your anger, you killed her.

Darth Vader: I… I couldn’t have. She was alive! I felt it! [damages several surrounding objects and droids through the Force. He then breaks the clamps that have been holding him down and takes a few steps forward. Palpatine watches, grinning cruelly.] NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

Instead, the conversation between Palpatine and Vader could then have been more manipulative and sinister.  When Palpatine says “you killed her,” Vader would have responded “No, she’s still alive, I can feel it.”  Palpatine could then say, “no, your feelings have betrayed you.”

Alderaan and Baby LeiaI would have had the clamps broken off by the use of the Force, and not brute force.  I would also have had things around the room shatter a bit.  Then, as Vader begins to say “NOOOOO…” it cuts to a shot of Padme, on Alderaan.  We continue to hear the “NOOO” as a voice-over in the background.  Padme tears on her cheeks, as she is holding Leia.

It does alter the order of events for the end of the film, as well as some of the conversations that some of the characters have, but not all that much.  Bail Organa and his wife could take Padme in, with the newborn Leia, informing her that her identity would need to be changed to keep her safe.

The one thing it wouldn’t cover would be how Padme eventually dies, because she clearly isn’t around at all for the original trilogy.  This would be one of the mysteries that would go unanswered, that fans would speculate about until it was written about in books that take place between Episodes III and IV.  This is also one of the mysteries that the prequel trilogy needed to leave us with.


  1. I actually think your ideas are good here. One of the complaints I’ve always had about the prequels is that they never really adequately answered the question of how Leia remembered Padme. Unless you’re just extra special, you don’t retain memories from birth.

    • Thanks, Aravis! Yeah.. my ideas are also inspired by the books a bit.. not the books based on the films, but other books in the Star Wars book universe. Jacen and Jaina, if I remember right, actually interact with each other prior to their birth.

    • I never quite understood the complaint that it’s so unrealistic for Leia to remember Padme as an infant. Why is it that people are okay with the idea of people moving things with their mind or telepathically communicating with other people, but a newborn child (who is the offspring of one of the most force sensitive people in the galaxy) remembering thei mother is suddenly so off base?

      I think the simple and most basic explanation is that she remembers her mother (images and feelings as she says) through her force sensitivity.

  2. May I add to labba’s comments that Leia’s “memories” of Padme are very vague. According to the “Return of the Jedi” script, they are limited to vague images and feelings.

    And I find the idea of Padme giving up Luke to the Lars family, while taking Leia with her to Alderaan very questionable. I can’t believe that people accepted that idea so readily. What mother would give up one twin to people she barely knew and keep the other twin?

    • My thought is that it would have been a very difficult but necessary solution for the safety of both of her children. It could be something that she might have learned something about while serving as queen on Naboo. I think that is a situation that could have been foreshadowed with some of the political situations on Naboo in some regard. However, I do see your point.

      Another solution would be the possibility that Luke was taken to the Lars family without her knowledge or consent. I don’t really like that idea, though.

        • That’s actually quite the cop-out of an answer. Not a fan of breaking the fourth wall to blame someone for something that isn’t really a mistake.

  3. I just stumbled onto this blog, but I did something very similar to this post’s proposal for my fan edit of Episode III, called ‘Labyrinth Of Evil.’
    Throughout the film, I downplayed, though did not totally remove, Anakin’s premonitions of Padme’s impending doom and fervent desire to prevent it. Anakin never tells anyone about it either, including Padme. Palpatine reveals to Anakin that he knows about it, but it’s never made into THE central reason Anakin turned evil. Anyway, at the end of the film, I dubbed over the medical droid to have it say that Padme is critically injured and may never fully recover, but she will survive. Once the birth is over, we don’t see her again until the Taintive IV arrives on Alderaan. Then, we see Padme lying in bed cradling an infant Leia (using cropped and color corrected footage from The Other Boleyn Girl).
    In the end, you have the added irony your post describes for the Vader awakening scene, Padme being shown to survive Episode III, and a hint that she might not live all that much longer. If this sounds interesting, more information can be found at I’m Hal9000 over there.

    • Wow! That sounds totally awesome! I want to see it. I’m definitely going to look it up. Thanks for pointing this out to me, Hal9000!

  4. I think it’s just that the writer’s were lazy. They left out anything about Han Solo, Jaba the Hut, and wasted way too much time on a budding romance that lacked chemistry and depth. Hated the prequels. Return of the Jedi was so satisfying in resolving mysteries, then the prequel spat in our eyes after years of waiting.

    • I disagree.. the writer was telling the story he wanted to tell.

      Han Solo would have felt forced, just to have him in as part of the story for the sake of the fans. Jabba the Hutt was in episode one. The romance was part of the catalyst for the fall to the dark side. If you hated the movies, fine, no big deal, go on watching the originals.

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