ByCoopacabra, writer at

One of the most powerful and important moments of the prequel trilogy is when Anakin loses his mother to Tusken Raiders and subsequently destroys their encampment. Is this turning point as simple as it seems, though? David Gremillion (who runs Geeks Speak here: and has written a trilogy of alternate prequels, found here: has come up with a fan theory which speculates that there may be more to Shmi's death than there seems.

Cliegg claims that he loves Shmi Skywalker, but is that really the case? He met her as a slave. He purchased her, set her free, and married her. Is Shmi in a position to provide informed consent to this arrangement? Slavery is all she's known. For decades she has had no existence outside of being owned. It's hard to believe that she wouldn't devote herself to a seemingly kind man who was willing to purchase her and free her.

According to this theory, though, Cliegg would not be the loving husband he may have appeared to be.

1. We know that Cliegg Lars and others had been fighting with the Sand People for some time. They knew where Cliegg lived, we have to assume he knew where to find them as well (at least a rough area if they migrate). What warring faction doesn't watch the other to see what they're up to? The Sand People would have been observing the Lars Homestead from time to time to be ready for any attacks upon them.

2. But there would have been times when they didn't see preparations for an attack, but Cliegg beating Shmi. Cliegg Lars is a hard man, weathered by the elements, raising a family on his own, but still having to run a moisture farm. This gets harder to do with his son (Owen) dating Beru. The frustration of his miserable life can only build up so much before he lashes out.

3. What about Shmi's injuries? She clearly has a cut on her face. That injury could have been suffered from Cliegg himself during another round of beatings. We have already seen Owen with sharp instruments in his hands (see photo) so we know they're around and easily accessible. One slash and she has a scar for life. Other injuries that Anakin thought were inflicted BY the Sand People could have been done BY Cliegg Lars. Tusken weapons are large, savage things. Her cuts are fine and precise. One more night of savagely injuring her was one too many. Cliegg rams her with his wheelchair, runs her down, beats her with tools, it doesn't look like he'll ever stop. The Sand People take action...they save her.

4. Wait...didn't Cliegg Lars lose a LEG trying to rescue his beloved wife? Nope. He lost a leg trying to reclaim what was his. If he had gotten his hands on her after all this, imagine how severe her beating would have been when they got home. Did this happen days or weeks before Anakin got there? Sure, that's what Cliegg CLAIMS happens. Did anyone verify this?

5. We saw two of the Sand People standing outside her hut. Why? To stop her from leaving? No, to do that you would have put them INSIDE the hut to constantly watch her. The guards are protect her. They are there to keep Cliegg and his vigilantes OUT.

6. Why is she tied up? Shmi has also had a rough life. She was a slave, had an explosive implanted in her body, forced to work under harsh conditions by Watto, and worse, she had her son taken by the Jedi and NEVER heard from him again. Her one glimmer of hope was Cliegg. Imagine how she felt to be "free" and experience a real life...only to be the victim of constant domestic violence from a hard man. Shmi's one hope was snuffed out. That leaves her with one option...suicide. The Sand People tied her up so she could calm down and find a reason to keep on living.

7. Finally, with her son coming to her, she succumbs to the injuries inflicted upon her...but her dying thought is to express her love, not place blame on who truly ended her life after suffering from internal bleeding.

Cliegg seems unreasonably intent on preventing Anakin from finding her. He knows where their camp is, but has written her off as dead after only one attempt to rescue her. Anakin is wielding a lightsaber on a backwater world where Jedi are still mythic undefeatable demigods. Why, then, would Cliegg want Anakin to give up on saving the woman he claimed to love? Because Cliegg wants to keep Anakin from the truth. Cliegg Lars is responsible for Shmi Skywalker's death.

It's an interesting interpretation, to say the least, but even Gremillion doesn't really believe it's true. It's in the same vein as the slew of fan theories with no evidence, that ignore logic and established characterizations, which try to semi-canonize personal fan-fiction. There is as much tenuous circumstantial evidence for Cliegg being an abusive slavemaster as there is for Fett killing Owen and Beru, or for Palpatine draining Padme's life energy.


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