It took me a minute to decide what to say about this one. Some of the pieces we’ve highlighted this week took off like a rocket, while others performed respectably at first but have maintained a steady pace ever since—and this piece, a response to a RetroZap! article by Joseph Tavano, is the latter.
Usually, a piece that surges the second it comes out and then mostly sputters out does so for obvious reasons; controversy in particular. But it’s harder to discern what keeps people coming back to, say, a fourteen-month-old review of a twenty-year-old PC game day in and day out. Sometimes it’s just a case of accidental search engine optimization, but sometimes the subject matter is truly evergreen. Unlike my Jedi Temple piece, which was largely a matter of timing, I think the subject of Padmé’s death has enjoyed a bottomless well of fan interest and speculation as long as it’s been out there.
Joseph’s original piece, Padmé Didn’t Die of a Broken Heart, posited essentially that Palpatine proactively killed her and used her life energy—which is probably a thing in Star Wars, let’s face it—to keep Anakin alive instead, making both Sith culpable in her death in a way. While I don’t give the “broken heart” explanation any more credence than he did, my own theory is that it was in fact the gestating Luke and Leia who were dying from the day’s stresses, and Padmé intuitively gave her life to them with the cooperation of the Living Force. This accomplishes the twin goals (heh) of giving Padmé some agency in her own demise and explaining how a nigh-omnipotent Palpatine could have been so convinced Anakin’s offspring hadn’t survived: the Force lied to him.
This being Star Wars, we’ll probably never get a complete answer to these questions, but this piece has convinced me that people will never stop asking.