Visual Foreshadowing and the Downfall of Anakin and Padme in Star Wars prequels

27 September 2023
The concept of visual foreshadowing is a powerful storytelling tool, and George Lucas masterfully employs it in the Star Wars prequel trilogy, particularly in "Attack of the Clones" (2002) and "Revenge of the Sith" (2005). 

The scene in "Attack of the Clones" where Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidala share an intimate moment in a dimly lit alcove serves as a poignant example. This scene is laden with visual cues that foreshadow the tragic events that unfold in "Revenge of the Sith," specifically the choking of Padme by Anakin, who by then has become Darth Vader.

padme corset death choke foreshadow

The setting of the scene itself is a precursor to the emotional and physical landscapes that the characters will later traverse. The alcove is "fire-lit," evoking the fiery landscape of Mustafar where their relationship meets its devastating end. George Lucas, in the DVD commentary for "Attack of the Clones," mentions that the scene is "intended to be overly dramatic, almost overly operatic in its emotional intensity." This intensity mirrors the heightened emotions that lead to the characters' downfall, culminating in the choking scene in "Revenge of the Sith."

Padme's attire in this scene is another crucial element of visual foreshadowing. She wears a black leather gown, designed with the help of Lucas himself and dubbed the "leather and lace" outfit by costume designer Trisha Biggar. The gown features a very tight corset and matching gloves. The tightness of the corset is symbolic; it constricts the ribs and lungs, making it difficult to breathe. This serves as a metaphor for the suffocating nature of their forbidden love and the life that awaits them if they continue down this path. 

Most significantly, Padme wears a black "choker," a direct visual cue to the act of choking that occurs in the subsequent film.

From Mike Klimo:

In "Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith" (2005), the ominous foreshadowing in "Attack of the Clones" comes to fruition in a heart-wrenching manner. Anakin Skywalker, now transformed into the Sith Lord Darth Vader, chokes his wife Padme Amidala on the volcanic planet of Mustafar. 

This act of violence is not just a physical manifestation of his descent into darkness, but also a symbolic severing of their emotional and spiritual connection. The choking scene is a culmination of the visual and thematic cues laid out in the earlier film, fulfilling the tragic prophecy that their love would lead to suffering. 

Padme is later pronounced to have died of a "broken heart," a poetic yet devastating diagnosis that encapsulates the emotional toll of their doomed relationship. Her death is not just the result of physical harm but also of the profound emotional and spiritual rupture caused by Anakin's transformation into Darth Vader. The act of choking, therefore, serves as both a literal and metaphorical death knell for Padme, their love, and Anakin's own humanity.

George Lucas's commentary on the theme of strangulation is particularly enlightening. In a 2005 interview with Rolling Stone, he said, "Strangulation is always a theme. Life is breath. It's a powerful idea in Buddhism: Cutting off life is cutting off breath. The road to the Force is through the breath." 

This philosophical underpinning adds another layer to the visual foreshadowing. The act of choking is not just a physical act but a symbolic one, representing the cutting off of life and, by extension, the Force itself.

In summary, the scene in "Attack of the Clones" serves as a masterclass in the art of visual foreshadowing. Every element, from the setting and lighting to the costumes and dialogue, is meticulously crafted to hint at the tragic events that will later unfold. It's a testament to the storytelling prowess of George Lucas and his team, who use visual symbols to deepen the emotional and thematic impact of the narrative.


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About the author Jimmy Jangles

My name is Jimmy Jangles, the founder of The Astromech. I have always been fascinated by the world of science fiction, especially the Star Wars universe, and I created this website to share my love for it with fellow fans.

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