New Series: Sex And The Prequel Trilogy

anakinpadme

Wait, what???

I had a similar reaction back when I was in college and while poking around the film book section of the library, found an essay about sex and the Star Wars films (back when there was only three).  Some of it was wacky and a bit of a reach.  Some of it had some interesting points that I’m now 100% sure were intentional, such as Luke’s maiming in TESB being a symbolic castration.

Certainly I hope for many clicks, but don’t worry, this is going to be strictly PG to PG-13 serious discussion of themes in the films. The discussion will focus on the films themselves, not comics or novels (both “legends” and “new canon”) and not fan works.  Some Clone Wars mentions will occur.

Just by way of introduction, we all know that as family-oriented entertainment, the Star Wars films do not put sexuality up front and center and it certainly never depicts it in an explicit way. What is shown is fairly restrained. The kissing scenes aren’t overly long and emphasize the romantic feelings and the emotional investment of the characters rather than raw sexual desire. There’s no tongue action or the aggressive steak-chewing kisses common in modern films, even in PG-13 rated ones. I frankly found it a tad surprising that there was even a little bit of open mouthed kissing in AOTC; I chalked it up to changes in standards between the time of the OT and the early ‘00s. There are no walking off to the bedroom/waking up the next day in bed type of scenes, much less any outright explicit sex scenes. The only implication at all that sex has taken place between characters is if they end up having children, and in Shmi’s case, even THAT doesn’t necessarily mean nookie happened. The movies don’t even imply sex between unmarried characters; Hondo Ohnaka’s joke to Aurra Sing about young Boba Fett (something like “he’s not one of mine”) in of all things The Clone Wars is literally the only time that kind of thing is ever mentioned or implied. There’s a reason why Kevin Smith once said that Han and Leia’s first kissing scene in TESB was the Star Wars equivalent of porn.

George Lucas may be pretty traditionalist in his outlook and he always had a family audience firmly in mind but that does not mean he is a prude. This is after all the same guy who made “THX-1138” and executive produced “Body Heat.” Sexuality certainly played a prominent (but not a graphic) role in “American Graffiti.” It is present in Star Wars, most notably when Leia spent a good chunk of ROTJ in her infamous bikini that stirred the hormones of many a young lad. (There is also something perverse about a huge slug who gets his jollies from females of a different species.) It gets freaky with Leia and Luke’s twincestuous kiss in TESB, which wasn’t topped until Game Of Thrones came along. But usually, it is approached in a subtle way that sails over the heads of young kids. An example is the innuendo between Han and Leia in TESB that went over my 10-year-old head with the whole “Captain, being held by you isn’t quite enough to get me excited”/”Sorry sweetheart, I haven’t got time for anything else” exchange.

Sexuality certainly does play a role in the prequels. Much of it obviously pertains to Anakin and Padmé’s relationship but it goes beyond simply the nuts and bolts of making sure there’s another generation of Star Wars characters. It’s in part about the both of them growing up and realizing who they are as a man and as a woman. It’s partially about symbiosis, about natural vs. unnatural reproduction, about using color and setting to express things that aren’t going to be depicted onscreen, about attachment, passion, and the different kinds of love. There’s a lot to unpack, which is why this is going to be a multiple part series. Stay tuned!

 

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16 Responses to “New Series: Sex And The Prequel Trilogy”

  1. Nariel Says:

    Sounds interesting! 🙂

  2. Heidi Says:

    Great insight. I always found when sexuality is pulled back and the only evidence of it is implied, it makes the romance far more alluring. I don’t need to see it to know it happended.

    Also just curious, has any fan of a fictional couple every felt like a vouyer for gazing upon your favourite couple being sensual. Lol I really can’t help but feel like a creeper sometimes, so again I probably couldn’t stomach anything more than pg-ish which is another reason I appreciate the family friendly environment of Star Wars. Honestly it’s so rare these days to not see sex in your face.

    Look forward to seeing part 2.

    • andywylde77 Says:

      Yes it really is rare these days to have such a family friendly environment in SW. The implications of sexuality work so well for this franchise. Like Anakin and Padme. Leia and Han. SW never needed some dramatic love scene for it to know it happened. It happens so much in movies that love scenes almost feel shoehorned in, if for no other reason just to have one. This is where SW stands above all else. And that really helps with getting to know the characters and immersing one self with the story.

      But when one looks at the entertainment industry as a whole, it makes one realize why the slogan, “sex sells” exists. This is why SW will forever be in a class all its own.

      • Heidi Says:

        Yes I agree. I wish more movies would take that initiative and not be so scared that the public wont watch films without the R content.

      • andywylde77 Says:

        Yep exactly. It is good to have stuff like this every once in a while. It’s good for everyone. The great thing about SW in particular is it never excludes anyone from the content it shows. It is made for anyone to enjoy.

    • lazypadawan Says:

      Full disclosure: I’ve been writing Star Wars fan fiction for 24 years, though I’ve been focusing more on my original stuff the past year or two. For several years, I wouldn’t write sex scenes and I wouldn’t read those kinds of stories because I felt like a voyeur. Then around ’97 or thereabouts there were some very good Han/Leia fan fics that just happened to have very steamy scenes in them (some of those authors now have high-level gigs in SW publishing) and then after AOTC, Anakin ruined me. Curse you, Ani, it’s your fault ;).

      Though I have to say, no matter how much I love the couple, I still don’t like the fics where the scenes are too kinky, read too much like an anatomy book, or sound too much like a Penthouse forum letter. As for me, I try to convey the reality of the relationship, capture what the characters mean to each other, and most importantly, have them remain in character. A lot of people just want to get to the hot stuff and don’t think about keeping it in-character.

      All of that said, I don’t think I would’ve wanted a sex scene with Han and Leia, Anakin and Padmé, etc. depicted on film. Like you said, it removes the mystery and romance. It’s better for the viewer to use her own imagination.

      • Heidi Says:

        I’ve read your fanfictions Lazy, and they’re the only ones I go back too.

        You right, and it’s easy for writers to be lazy and skip to the steam but without a story or a build-up but it feels cheap. So on the rare occasion I even read a fanfiction these days what I look for is ‘in character’ portrayal and taking the time for build-up and even when it becomes very “romantic” I prefer for the writer not to write like I’m dumb and explain everything… :p

        As I can recall the best fanfictions had more sensuality than sex. I always preferred more domestic romantic interactions, it makes the steamy stuff feel more precious.

        Incidentally have you written anything new for A/P, I haven’t checked in years.

      • lazypadawan Says:

        Here’s everything I have on Fan Fiction.net. My last posted story was in November:

        https://www.fanfiction.net/u/5841/

      • Jacobesico Says:

        I’ve read some of your Fanfiction, LP.

        It was very good. 🙂

      • Nariel Says:

        I also am a fan of your fanfiction LP (and it’s all Anakin’s fault for me as well ;)). I think you find the right balance between the sexy stuff and character exploration.

      • Hoggle Says:

        nice & amazing writing in your short fan- fic vignettes collection LP 🍉

    • Anthony Echevarria Says:

      It depends on the characters, I think. With Leia, I could easily picture her having sex with Han, it was just that she looked down on him (Which, considering what we know now, she was probably right to do so… :P). Whereas with Padme, I had great difficulty imagining her having sex (with anyone)…which proved challenging when it came time to write the love scenes for my and Andrea’s fics. *sheepish look*

      I’ve since gotten over it. 😛 I think the thing with Padme is that she hadn’t really gotten to explore that side of herself, due to her career. Whereas with Leia, you can imagine her being a little bolder, braver, a little more rebellious. 😉

      And with Aeryn and John on ‘Farscape’, it’s actually the opposite. Their relationship is so soulfully deep, so sensual, that it almost feels inappropriate NOT to. This isn’t some cutesy little fling they’re having, nor is it some lust episode that’s purely superficial. It’s both [love and lust], and their relationship is so layered, and is so passionate, and has so many levels to it, that it really feels like you need to see all the levels to make it work. If you just present the romance aspect to it without putting any of the sensual stuff on screen for display, it actually feels incomplete, for certain. (Plus, they had a baby on the show, which really cements the sexual status. :-P)

      And of course with ‘Lexx’, even though that show is a lot less serious, you can easily imagine those characters being sexual with someone. It really does depend on the characters and the context of the show/story, rather than one sweeping judgment about general character intimacy in fictional settings. Some characters make you uncomfortable thinking about their sexuality, and some slip into it quite easily. 🙂 It does make for great discussion, though! ;-D (I certainly enjoy seeing it covered on here.)

      I generally prefer PG/PG-13 family friendly ‘Justice League’, but I would forgive Zack Snyder for everything he’s ever done, turning Superman into a depressed, almost silent moron, if he would just put a love scene with Batman and Wonder Woman up on the screen. I think everyone who grew up with ‘Justice League’ in the mid 2,000’s has wanted to see that for years. 😉 Now that’s my favorite Power Couple! ;-D

      I have many other examples, but I’ll get to them later. 😉

  3. Hoggle Says:

    One of Padme’s sexiest outfits (if not sexiest) i’d say, & as nice as it was, a shorter skirt would have been even better but rather unfair to Anakin trying to keep his head on straight!

    Sort of a swim suit, mediterranean, olive oil, greeco type of invocative impression.

    Anyhow, sounds like LP has an interesting series in store ☕

  4. jayoungr Says:

    I’ve just got to say that “steak-chewing kisses” is my new favorite descriptive phrase!

    One comment about this bit:

    “The movies don’t even imply sex between unmarried characters; Hondo Ohnaka’s joke to Aurra Sing about young Boba Fett (something like “he’s not one of mine”) in of all things The Clone Wars is literally the only time that kind of thing is ever mentioned or implied.”

    I always thought it was interesting that nobody seemed fazed by Padme being pregnant when she was officially unmarried. Obviously it wasn’t the sort of thing they wanted to spend screen time on, but given how the SW world is depicted, I wonder what that implies. Does it mean that it was no big deal, or did she come up with some sort of cover story, and if so, what was it? Was she perhaps able to get away with something like “I’m married, but I prefer to keep my personal life private”?

    • lazypadawan Says:

      That’s a really good question. Lucas had even joked about how it was a big scandal on Naboo and the tabloids were going nuts speculating that Jar Jar was the father ;). Padme was clearly trying to hide her pregnancy in public and she said the queen probably wasn’t going to let her serve anymore. Was it because the GFFA looked down on unwed motherhood or because Padme didn’t want to be asked questions as to who fathered her babies? Maybe it’s a combination of the two because based on what she said to Anakin in ROTS, she fully planned on raising Luke and Leia basically in secret. Obi-Wan never knew Anakin and Padme were married so he likely thought the twins were a product of a love affair and he didn’t seem fazed by that. But by that point, Anakin’s turn to the Dark Side was a much, much bigger problem.

      • jayoungr Says:

        Hmm, I should take a look at her costume and manner in ROTS again (it’s been a while since I watched that one). I don’t remember thinking that she was especially trying to hide her pregnancy; in fact, I remember being surprised that she wasn’t. But maybe they were just trying to make it obvious for the audience, and the characters in-universe weren’t supposed to see it.

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