The Most Tragic Star Wars Character is Not the One You Think

The Most Tragic Star Wars Character is Not the One You Think

7 min read

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. From the desperate city you go into the desperate country, and have to console yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats. ~ Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience and Other Essays

If all stories exist on a continuum moored by comedy on the left and tragedy on the right, Star Wars definitely skews left. How else do you explain Artoo and Yoda fighting over a candy bar, everything Han Solo does on the Death Star, and Palpatine’s kink for self-electrocution? In space nobody can hear you scream, but farts are a different story.

Star Wars still has plenty of tragedy. Most of it is centered around Anakin Skywalker, whom conventional wisdom would suggest is Star Wars’ most tragic character. Anakin brings all that bad juju on himself though, so it’s hard to feel overly bad for him. He chooses his bed and he gets to writhe in it, limbless and burnt, like an overcooked hot dog. Anakin isn’t Star Wars’ most tragic character; he’s its cockiest.

Anakin’s true tragedy is dragging down everyone around him. Plus all that Jedi genocide.

An argument could be made that Padme “wins” the tragedy crown. She dies of a broken heart — which has to be one of the lamest deaths in popular cinema — simply because she has a thing for bad boys, but not Bad Boys. And, actually, it’s politics that breaks the Bantha’s back more than all the murdering. Padme’s okay with random butchery of desert natives, and even seems fine with Anakin’s non-denial about his youngling-slaying admission to the Dark Side, but draws the line at any talk of dictatorship. A democracy-loving senator till the end. At least her motivations are consistent, but Ron Weasley said it best: “She needs to sort out her priorities.”

Also, Padme’s black leather BDSM outfit from Attack of the Clones is at least 50% responsible for Anakin’s fall from grace.