For all their flaws, the Star Wars prequels answered many of the biggest questions prompted by the original trilogy. We learn about Luke and Leia's parents in detail, as well as Obi-Wan's tragic attempt to save Anakin Skywalker from becoming Darth Vader, and why Emperor Palpatine's face looks like that.
However, the prequels raised almost as many questions as they put to rest — including one that could redefine the Force as we know it. Let's dive in.
The emotional climax of Revenge of the Sith juxtaposes the birth of Leia and Luke with the "birth" of Darth Vader, but Queen/Senator/secret wife Padmé Amidala doesn't survive the ordeal. The midwife droid at her bedside reports she's in perfect health, but she still slips away just moments after her children come into the world. While it seems like she dies of sadness, knowing her husband has fallen to the Dark Side, her cause of death is never confirmed.
A widespread fan theory claims Palpatine sapped her life Force remotely and used it to heal Anakin after he took a lava bath on Mustafar. However, that wouldn't make much sense. If Palpatine could pull the life force from anyone he wanted, regardless of location, he could have just used that power on anybody who stood in his way — be it Padmé, Obi-Wan, or the entirety of the Jedi Council.
Redditor u/WGoodspeed offers an intriguing riff on this interpretation of the scene, suggesting that Anakin actually reached out for Padmé through the Force in what he thought were his final moments — and that connection unwittingly sapped her life energy.
Looking at Padmé's final moments through this lens provides more evidence. When Anakin is informed of her death, he insists it's not true because he felt her. Is this just a denial reaction out of sheer grief, or did Anakin actually make a connection with his wife before she died?
This theory begs the question of whether Padmé Amidala was Force-sensitive. The Art of Revenge of the Sith states that Padmé "had more midi-chlorians than any person ever had because she's pregnant with the Skywalker twins." An early concept even showed her suffering because of the sheer power and consulting Yoda for help.
While neither of these character concepts made the final cut, if Padmé was so powerful, she could have done the reverse of what this theory suggests — sacrificed herself in order to "Force heal" Anakin. As she says, she knows there's still good in him and is willing to give up herself because of her faith in him.
Not only does this make Anakin's later redemption arc all the more powerful because Padmé is ultimately vindicated, but it also sets up the strangest reveal of the sequel trilogy — that Force-sensitive people can heal others. Padmé's sacrifice is mirrored decades later through Kylo Ren, a grandson she never met.
Whether Padmé's sacrifice was an accident caused by Anakin or a purposeful sacrifice, her passing sparked the greatest space opera franchise ever created, so her death is anything but in vain.