Lucasfilm has published an excerpt from E.K. Johnston’s upcoming Star Wars novel Queen’s Hope, that makes seven major reveals about Anakin Skywalker and Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones. George Lucas’ prequel trilogy was originally divisive, but the films’ reputations have improved with the passage of time. They’ve been helped by Disney, who have committed to using Star Wars tie-ins to improve the prequels, filling in gaps in the narrative and developing main and background characters to a remarkable degree.
Padmé Amidala is a case in point; Lucasfilm Publishing has commissioned a trilogy of novels by celebrated fantasy and science-fiction author E.K. Johnston. The first two books have transformed Padmé’s handmaidens into three-dimensional characters in their own right, underscored the tragedy of Padmé’s fate, and even wrestled with problematic themes in the prequel trilogy such as the Republic’s willingness to turn a blind eye to slavery out on the galaxy’s Outer Rim. Johnston has a strong grasp of Padmé’s voice, and she’s a skilled enough writer to weave her own stories into the overarching narrative of the prequel trilogy with remarkable ease.
The final book in Johnston’s Padmé trilogy is called Queen’s Hope, and it will be published on April 5, 2022. Lucasfilm has published an excerpt detailing Anakin and Padmé’s wedding day, and just this excerpt subtly reinterprets the events of Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones and adds further detail to Anakin’s fall to the dark side. Here are all the major takeaways.
How Much Time Passed In Star Wars: Episode II – Attack Of The Clones
The final scenes of Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, in which Anakin Skywalker and Padmé Amidala marry in a secret ceremony on Naboo, clearly take place a short amount of time after the beginning of the Clone Wars – long enough later for Anakin to have been given a cybernetic hand, which he’s still getting used to. The Queen’s Hope excerpt doesn’t explicitly confirm just how much time passes in Attack of the Clones before the two marry, but it implies it’s at least a few days to weeks. It seems the two have cut themselves off from the rest of Naboo, claiming they needed to take time to heal from their wounds. Hopefully the full book will clear up the timeline rather better.
Anakin Skywalker Modified His Cybernetic Hand
Anakin Skywalker lost a hand in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, and it seems he struggled to adjust to it. Medically, it was perfect, but the artificial hand just didn’t feel right. “Anakin could feel the difference, though,” the Queen’s Hope excerpt reveals, “more than the strange sensations that sometimes emanated from knuckles and joints that were no longer there.” Always an engineer at heart, Anakin resolved to modify the hand so it truly felt like it belonged to him. In psychological terms, it’s clear his intention to modify the hand was a manifestation of his desire to control, a hint that – unlike most Jedi – he could not simply accept the will of the Force. It’s a subtle hint of Anakin’s character flaws, pointing towards his fall to the dark side.
When Anakin Skywalker Decided To Marry Padme – And Why
The Queen’s Hope excerpt reinterprets certain scenes in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, offering a window into Anakin’s personal world as he looked upon them. According to the excerpt, Anakin was inspired to marry Padmé when he met Owen and Beru on Tatooine, and watched the easy familiarity between the two. All this became mixed up in Anakin’s sense that his mother Shmi must have had something like that with Clieg Lars as well, and he envied these relationships, wishing to have the same kind of life with Padmé. That glimpse of family life was the moment when Anakin resolved to look beyond the Jedi Order for satisfaction in life, with catastrophic consequences. Curiously, Anakin was at least self-aware to recognize he was eschewing the Jedi principles of selflessness and detachment, but he simply concluded they weren’t enough for him.
E.K. Johnston’s novel supports comments made in Kristin Baver’s Skywalker: A Family At War, which explored attachment as Anakin’s greatest weakness. Anakin had lost faith in the Jedi, unwilling to live according to the Jedi Code and find fulfilment in his role as Jedi Master, but he remained too attached to the Order as a pseudo-family. While he was not fulfilled by the Jedi, he could not leave them, because they mattered too much for him. He just wanted more; specifically, he wanted Padmé as well. A more honest and reflective individual would have recognized the hypocrisy of his position and left the Order, but Anakin blinded himself to it.
Why Anakin Skywalker Wore Jedi Robes At His Wedding
The core conflict that lay at the heart of Anakin Skywalker’s life was perfectly represented in his unusual decision to wear Jedi robes during Attack of the Clones’ wedding scene. Apparently Anakin did at least wonder whether he should have worn something more appropriate, but he decided the robes would be more authentic in terms of his identity. “He was a Jedi getting married,” Anakin reflected to himself. “He would at least be true to himself about that. There were enough secrets in his future. He would be married how he wanted to be.”
How Padmé Reconciled Herself To Being So Secretive
Padmé had always believed in openness, authenticity and transparency, which always made her secret marriage to Anakin Skywalker seem so odd. The Queen’s Hope excerpt explores just how Padmé justified her deceitfulness to herself, and it’s fascinating to get a glimpse inside the mind of a woman who has always lived responsibly but now wishes to do something for herself for once. “For so long, her life had revolved around other people’s perception of her,” Padmé reflects. “What she should do and how she should dress. How her decisions would affect masses of people she had never met. It was a tremendous burden, and she’d carried it since she was a child. She hadn’t minded – at times she had reveled in the responsibility – but with the freedom of being unknown in front of her, she felt a surge of excitement. Anakin was going to be hers, and she was going to be his, and almost no one in the whole galaxy would share that with them.”
Though Padmé would never admit it to herself, it seems the secrecy was in fact part of the allure, a tantalizing hint of “forbidden fruits” that gave the relationship a thrill of excitement.
The Naboo Built A Shrine To Qui-Gon Jinn
Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn had helped the Naboo repel the Trade Federation in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, but he had paid a heavy price for his heroism, dying in battle with Darth Maul. The Naboo apparently honored Qui-Gon by building a permanent shrine to the Jedi Master, a popular site for pilgrimage at the right time of year. The Queen’s Hope excerpt doesn’t go into great detail about the memorial, simply describing it as having a stone floor, but Anakin Skywalker himself headed there on his wedding day in the hopes of hearing Qui-Gon bless him through the Force.
Anakin Skywalker Believed He’d Heard Qui-Gon’s Voice
When Anakin slaughtered the Tuskens in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, he heard a voice cry out in the Force – a voice he recognized as Qui-Gon Jinn’s. It seems Anakin reflected on that, concluding that Qui-Gon still existed somehow in the netherworld after death, and was indeed able to communicate; thus he went to the Naboo shrine in the hope of hearing Qui-Gon’s voice. Anakin wasn’t the only one who had heard Qui-Gon’s reaction to the Tusken massacre; Yoda had been shaken to hear it on Coruscant as well, although unaware of the reason. Remarkably, though, Anakin seems to have been the first to figure out it was possible for some Jedi to die and yet continue to interact with the living. There’s a sense in which he was the first prequel Jedi to believe in Force Ghosts, with Master Yoda only coming to believe in them years later, towards the end of the Clone Wars.