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Revenge of the Sith drew the Star Wars prequel trilogy to an uneven, yet somewhat satisfying conclusion in 2005. Though for fans of Natalie Portman's Padme, it was an experience that left a lot to be desired. What once looked like it was going to be the former queen-turned-senator's finest hour ended up giving her only more of the same, with a death that was attributed to nothing more than "a broken heart." If an earlier draft of the script had held up, she'd have died after trying to save the galaxy from her husband.
Artist Iain McCaig, a contributor to the designs of such characters as Darth Maul and Padme, had an inside line to the decision process that saw revisions to Revenge of the Sith's script forward. And in that decision process, Padme's climactic moment went from the following original trajectory into something a little more traditional:
[Anakin] leaves. Moments later, in come the Separatists, and right behind his back, [Padme] is starting the Rebellion to overthrow him. Because Padme can see that he is becoming a monster. It's Apocalypse Now, right? At the end, Mustafar, when she goes to see [Anakin], she has a knife in her hands...She gets off that ship with the knife, she runs up and throws her arms around him, and he lets her. She's got the knife at his neck and she's going to kill him. He lets her, and she can't do it. She loves him too much to stop him, even when he becomes the monster. Enter Obi-Wan, Anakin freaks out, kills Padme. Well, almost. Wouldn't that have been good?
Now for the most part, the scene plays out as it was written above in Revenge of the Sith's third act. But somewhere along the way, the writers decided this wasn't going to cut it for the third episode in the Star Wars saga. Strangely enough, we almost got to see this scene in the comic adaptation of the film, and in his speech shared by Edtenna, Iain McCaig admits that it made it as far as the penciling stage. But, alas, it ended up being jettisoned out of the film's story for good, being consigned to the memory of history.
As fun as Revenge of the Sith had turned out to be, what with the scenes of Anakin and Obi-Wan kicking the crap out of each other, and Emperor Palpatine delicately dining on the scenery of the entire film, it would have been extra special to see Padme redeemed by not only creating the Rebellion, but also being given such a bittersweet moment of tension. It would have also helped the character of Anakin develop a little more, as this is probably the closest to a genuine moment of love the two would have shared on screen. Instead, we were given the scene that you can see for yourself below.
With Star Wars becoming more of an A-tiered blockbuster than the B-movie inspired franchise of yesteryear, the stories have developed quite a bit since the days of George Lucas's tenure as its shepherd. Without the contributions he's given to the series, it certainly wouldn't be where it is today; but at the same time, it could have come a lot further in sooner time if decisions like this weren't made.