Film 101: How Did Padme Die?

The Star Wars prequel trilogy nearly has it all: Romance, politics, lightsaber duels, and epic space battles. One thing it does not have is the explanation for many of its cinematic decisions. So here we are 15 years after its premiere, and questions like ‘How did Padme diestill cause heavy debate among the fandom. Read more, and find out all about the fan theories and answers to Padme’s controversial death.

Who Is Padmé Amidala?

Padmé Amidala is a senator for the planet Naboo in the Star Wars universe. A firm political idealist, she is an advocate for democracy and a peaceful resolution to the Clone Wars. Throughout the Prequel trilogy, Padme has shown herself as a capable leader with great determination and resolve. Viewers were naturally perplexed when the Naboo senator just died without a clear explanation when her leadership was needed the most. 

What Is The Cause Of Padmé’s Death?

Canon Reason

In the film, a canon explanation was given by a medical droid attending to Padme at that time to both Obi-Wan Kenobi and Bail Organa, two survivors of the Order 66, claiming that “She has lost the will to live”. The droid also said that Padmé was “medically completely healthy” and was about to give birth to a twin. Fans are understandably confused as Padmé, who was portrayed as a strong leader who stood her ground in the face of adversaries, just simply died.

Of course, at that time of the film, Padmé had just been a witness to the collapse of the Galactic Republic and the fall to the Dark side of her secret husband, Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker. Not to mention the mental strain of hiding her very same marriage away from public knowledge up to that point. We could easily paint the picture of a woman with a depression so severe at seeing everything she has worked for destroyed, that she gave up and passed away.

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Fan Theories

The fandom, of course, disagreed vehemently and came up with a multitude of theories, some outlandish while others so plausible and well-connected that they could very well be true.

Did Palpatine Kill Padme?

Fan Theories

Did Palpatine kill Padme – source: Screen Rant

One of the most prominent fan theories regarding ‘How did Padme die’ claims that Darth Sidious had a direct hand in Padmé’s death. You may remember his iconic Sith story: “Did you ever hear the tragedy of Darth Plagueis the wise?”. Palpatine may have used ancient Sith force techniques used by Plagueis to transfer Padme’s consciousness to Anakin’s body to save him, thus killing her in the process. This also explained why the droid couldn’t know why Padmé was dying: It was a mere medical droid; it couldn’t possibly detect the dark Force power-draining Padmé’s life. 

The fact that Padmé died before Darth Vader took his first breath further supports this theory. Anakin’s terrified denial: “I…I couldn’t have. She was alive! I felt it!” really makes us think of how exactly can a dying man sense his wife across the galaxy. And Palpatine’s apparent knowledge of Padmé’s fate: ”It seems in your anger, you killed her.” suddenly seems much more sinister.

Why Did Anakin Choke Padme? 

how did padme die

Why did Anakin choke Padme – Source: Screen Rant

In a truly despicable move, Jedi-turned-Sith Anakin Skywalker used the Force to choke his wife, fearing that she had betrayed him and brought Obi-Wan Kenobi there to kill him. The choke went on for several intense seconds before Obi-Wan demanded that he let her go, which he did, and Padme dropped to the ground. The show made great efforts to show that Padme was clearly not in critical danger at that time.

Or was it?

Some have theorized that Anakin, in his moment of rage, has used the Force choke with much more power than usual, thus causing enough damage to Padmé’s body that she couldn’t survive the ordeal. The fact that she was heavily pregnant and close to giving birth at that time surely didn’t help her chance. 

This was evident in Star Wars Legends, where conflicting autopsy reports on her agreed that Padmé died of strangulation, despite her throat being “pristine”. It also revealed that despite no physical sign of bruises or exterior trauma at all, the dead senator suffered from several internal injuries, such as a fractured hyoid bone, damage to the larynx, and compression of the trachea caused by Force choke. A terrible way to go, dying by the hand of the one you love the most.

Padme Has Always Meant To Die

Padme Has Always Meant To Die - how did padme die

How did Padme die? – Source:

Dreams, visions, and prophecies, in general, have always been notoriously vague, fickle things. Viewers may remember Tom Marvolo Riddle, in an attempt to circumvent the prophecy linking him and Harry Potter, has actually ensured that the Boy who Lived would be his final downfall. 

Those who are familiar with Greek legends may also recall the harrowing tale of Oedipus. An oracle warned King Laius of Thebes that his upcoming son would one day kill him and marry his wife – the son’s own mother. Horrified, Laius pierced the boy’s ankles and left him on a mountain to die, which he didn’t thanks to a shepherd’s compassion. I’m sure you can somewhat figure out the rest of the story: Oedipus would go on to kill his father during his quest to find his birth parent, ironically enough, before unknowingly marrying his mother. 

Fate is a cruel mistress indeed.

Hence, some fans have maintained their belief that Padmé’s eventual demise was ironically the result of Anakin’s effort in preventing his dreams of her death from coming true. The Jedi Knight was so afraid to lose Padmé, he acted out of pure fear, including dabbling in the Dark side, which in turn led to him lashing out against her in the cruelest way possible. Anakin sought to prevent the future he had seen, and in doing so, had tragically brought it about. 


Whether or not you trust the movie explanation or believe in fan speculations, it is clear that the death of the beloved Naboo senator is a pivotal point in the history of the Star Wars universe. As such, the question of ‘how did Padme die’ will remain heavily debated for years to come. And that, in my opinion, is also one of the best things about the Star Wars series. Everything is reasonably explained enough to be potentially valid, and intentionally vague enough to allow viewers their own headcanon. The franchise beautifully encourages the imagination of its fans, and in doing so, has cemented its place as one of the most epic and awe-inspiring sagas of all time.

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Catheryn Halley

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