Archive for the ‘Series’ Category

SATPT: What’s The Attraction?

June 11, 2017

It’s been a while since I’ve done an entry for the Sex and the Prequel Trilogy series…the previous installments were about Anakin and Padmé as individuals.  This time, I’m addressing them as a couple.

It’s obvious why Anakin falls in love with Padmé.  When he first encounters her as a young boy in TPM, she’s probably the first girl he’d ever met who wasn’t a dusty peasant, a slave, or something shady.  She takes him under her wing when he leaves home and given that not a lot of people have been very kind to Anakin while growing up and not a lot of people have shown him much affection since his training started, he never forgot her.  When he meets her again in AOTC, his affection for her quickly develops another dimension and that is a sexual attraction to her.  No longer in her early teens, she has blossomed into a beauty that he can appreciate.  Plus she remains as kind and as wise as he’d remembered her.

But a lot of fans have wondered, “Why is Padmé ever attracted to Anakin?”   He’s younger, less mature in some ways, and oh yeah there’s that dark temper of his.  There’s the obvious answer:  Anakin grew up to be a handsome devil.  Padmé can see, you know!  But what about the rest of it?

Being on adventures together and undergoing life-or-death situations have a curious way of pulling people closer.  But I think people have overlooked that Padmé and Anakin are much more alike than unalike.  There is a tendency to focus on their differences in age, social status, temperament, etc. than on what they have in common.

For one thing both are prodigies.  Padmé’s childhood got cut short when she was recruited into the world of politics.  According to background info that may or may not still be canon, she was Princess of Theed at age 12, and in TPM a planetary ruler at 14.   Anakin had his gifts with the Force and the potential of becoming the most powerful of all of the Jedi even though he wasn’t yet a decade old.   He also had to leave home at an early age to take on greater responsibilities.  I think Anakin and Padmé understand that about each other; she warns Anakin not to grow up too soon for a reason.

Another thing is Padmé has as much of a reckless streak as Anakin does.  Typho grumbling, “I’d be more worried about her doing something than him” isn’t just there for the hell of it, it describes her accurately.  She might not be as impulsive or as quick-tempered as Anakin but there a lot of times she throws caution to the wind, breaks the rules, and gambles big.  In TPM, she not only returns to Naboo against everyone’s advice, she retakes her planet and puts herself in danger.  She puts herself at risk by coming to Coruscant at the beginning of AOTC and resents being told she has to hide out on Naboo.  Later in the film she enables Anakin to go to Tatooine even though they both  know they are supposed to remain on Naboo and it was at her insistence they go to Geonosis just after Anakin was ordered to remain on Tatooine.   In ROTS, she puts herself in danger by going to Mustafar.  In TPM, AOTC, and in TCW, she never hesitates to get into the thick of things, always at great personal risk.  Padmé is no throne-sitter and prefers action to being parked behind a desk.  It’s natural she would be attracted to a man of action who also doesn’t hesitate to put himself at risk.

Most significantly, they share a strong passion for making a difference, serving something bigger than themselves, and crusading for galactic justice.  They may each have their own way of accomplishing those things but they are common motivators nonetheless.  I don’t see Padmé genuinely loving anyone as deeply as a man committed to the same things that are closest to her heart.

Even where there are differences, those differences can compliment each other.  Padmé’s calmer temperament can balance out Anakin’s fiery nature.  Her maturity and knowledge balances out Anakin’s youth and inexperience in the world of galactic politics.  Her calm can soothe his fears and anxiety.  He offers her someone she can always trust, a confidant, someone who doesn’t want anything from her but her love.

A lot of fans have theorized Padmé views Anakin as a wounded bird she can heal.  I think there is some truth to this because Padmé seems naturally drawn to the vulnerable.  But I think there is more to that.  She knows Anakin’s potential and it ties into what I said about their having a common drive for making the galaxy a better place. In her eyes there’s no one more dazzling than a heroic knight who can save a universe in turmoil.

As someone I read on Tumblr recently, people seem to think a girl who is intelligent, educated, and a tough cookie when need be is incapable of being a romantic (and vice versa).  Padmé is all of those things.  In fact it’s hard to imagine someone into saving the galaxy who isn’t a romantic.

New Series: Sex And The Prequel Trilogy

June 24, 2016

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!