The Star Wars prequels could have been good. Actually, they could have been really, really awesome. There was ample story potential to weave a fascinating prologue to the original #StarWars trilogy, revealing how Darth Vader came to be, why the Republic fell, and what happened to the Skywalker twins' mother. Whether you enjoy them or not, there's no denying that the Star Wars prequels are a saga of missed opportunities. And the most aggravating missed opportunity of all, was Padme's original role in Revenge Of The Sith.
Padme Amidala is one of the best characters in the prequels (the best unequivocally being Ewan McGregor's Obi Wan Kenobi), but she was horrifically underwritten. Young Natalie Portman started out strong as Padme, leading the charge against the Separatists in The Phantom Menace, but by Attack Of The Clones she was little more than Anakin's love interest. Revenge Of The Sith featured Padme watching helplessly as the democracy she believed in fell, then dying in childbirth. Which is all the more annoying when you discover what Padme was supposed to do in Revenge Of The Sith.
Founding The Rebel Alliance
An initial draft of Star Wars Episode III featured Padme in the most badass plot of all: Going after Anakin after giving birth, intent on killing him before he could do any more harm (read: kill more younglings, help the Emperor rise, etc).
This would have been super awesome to see, giving Padme an interesting depth of character as she tried to stop her lover from killing again — not to mention a tragically heroic death when Anakin fought her, and won.
Unfortunately, this alternate ending never even made it to the shooting script, and instead Padme tells a murderous Anakin that she still loves him, then dies of a "broken heart" — because apparently two new babies wasn't enough love to keep her going. This also conflicts with Leia's later assertions that she remembers her mother, implying that she knew Padme before she died. But hey, who cares about continuity when you can have Darth Vader scream "nooooo!"
Anyway. Attempting to kill Anakin wasn't Padme's only mission in Revenge Of The Sith. Originally, Padme was going to found the Rebel Alliance along with Bail Organa, Mon Mothma, and a handful of other senators. These scenes were even shot, proving Padme with a neat little subplot that not only gave her something to do other than be pregnant and cry, it also neatly tied into the original trilogy.
The scenes start with Bail Organa and Mon Mothma gathering senators who are concerned about Palpatine's emergency changes to the Republic's constitution. They agree to join forces, forming a committee against him, and mustering forces just in case. Padme is hesitant, but agrees to the terms — and also agrees not to tell anyone, even Anakin.
As the scenes continue, the "loyalist reformers" committee gains members, and Padme urges action to stop another war. Interestingly, these scenes contain more people of color than any other plot in the Star Wars movies. By cutting them, George Lucas not only robbed Padme of an interesting plotline, he also made the whole situation seem smaller, and the Republic senators seem apathetic and impressionable.
Unfortunately, the committee's pleas are shot down by Palpatine in the subplot's final scene. We never discover how the committee reacted, because then Order 66 happens and all hell breaks loose. This is when Padme should have tried to assassinate Anakin, but this was long since cut.
From the fact that the reformation committee started amassing ships and forces, we can assume that Bail Organa, Mon Mothma, and other surviving members went on to found the Rebel Alliance even after Padme died. An earlier version of the script featured Padme team up with the Separatists and start the Rebellion herself, but George Lucas thought, with the Separatists painted as villains throughout the trilogy, that this would be too confusing.
However, it's aggravating that Padme's committee was cut from the film. According to the Revenge Of The Sith commentary, George Lucas wanted the focus to be on Anakin's journey. This is unfortunate, as the deleted scenes add another dimension of continuity to the prequels. We see how Palpatine didn't have to weed out his opposing senators but, thanks to "the petition of the two thousand," he could pick them off one by one in secret. And we see that Padme tried to oppose him, and that she gained a legacy in the Rebellion. Alas, this will just go down in history as another way the prequels could have been better.
Tell us in the comments: Do you think Revenge Of The Sith would have been improved by these lost Padme subplots?