The fireplace scene

Why: And now we’ve come to the heart of what went wrong with AOTC, in my opinion of course. So many people had a problem with this scene, and it’s easy to see why. Let’s see if there’s anything that can be done about it.

The first problem is the fireplace room itself. It’s too bold, and too perfect as a setup for a love confession.

The second problem is that Anakin and Padmé are sitting in a really weird way when the scene starts, and it’s hard not to wonder about just what they were up to right there.

The third problem is that the conversation between them is very unrealistic. The kinds of confessions that Anakin lets out are very deep, too deep. Something has to push him to confess instead of him confessing out of the blue. And when he does, he has to do it with a little more realism. For anyone who’s been in love before, they know that the kinds of things he says out loud are the kinds of things people think or fantasize about telling the person that they love, but things like these are never actually said. And it’s a good thing too, it’s scary.

Unfortunately, the confession isn’t the only problem. Padmé’s reaction to what he said and especially her dialogue was pretty bad. She actually says, “We live in a real world, come back to it,” which is a line I never thought I’d hear in a Star Wars movie, because it doesn’t belong in a Star Wars movie. It might give you the sense that their world is a bit like ours, with social order; this person can’t go out with that person, etc…but what I and a lot people felt from that line was a reminder of the actual “real world,” which a lot of people are trying to forget when they watch Star Wars.

The rest of the conversation doesn’t really feel right because in one moment it feels like a fight, then the next it’s a scene of compassion, then it’s back to fighting again…it doesn’t flow very well.

How: Oh boy. I don’t know where to begin here because this one is a real challenge.

I guess the first thing is that it needs a different introduction. Something needs to be there to push Anakin to confess. It could go like this:
PADMÉ walks by the fireplace room and notices ANAKIN sitting on the couch.

PADMÉ: Hey, are you alright?

ANAKIN’s almost frowning face turns into a smile. A forced smile, but a smile nonetheless.

ANAKIN: After a day like today, how could I not be?

PADMÉ sits down beside him and smiles back.

PADMÉ: It’s nice to relax and let go once in a while, even if it’s for just a short time.

A brief moment of silence goes by in which ANAKIN’s mind wanders and his smile turns into somewhat of a frown once more.

PADMÉ: Anakin? Something’s bothering you, what is it?
Next, we need to clean up Anakin’s confession a bit.
ANAKIN: Since the day that I met you, all those years ago, not a day has gone by that I haven’t thought of you. And now that I’m with you again, I feel like I’ve found a part of me that I’ve been missing...and the thought of not being with you is more than I can bear. What can I do? I will do anything that you ask.
And lastly comes Padmé’s putdown and them coming to the conclusion that they can’t be together.
PADMÉ: I…we can’t. It’s just not possible.

ANAKIN: Why not?

PADMÉ: Because…we live in two different worlds. You’re starting to become a Jedi; I’m a senator. We can’t go there, Anakin, you know that.

ANAKIN: I know that my feelings for you are real, and our kiss was real. And this goes beyond our place in any social order. Don’t you feel it too?

PADMÉ: I would be sacrificing my career and you…you would have to leave the Jedi Order, your family, your future, and I will not let you give all that up for me. This is no more than a fantasy Anakin, we have to let it go, despite of the way we feel about each other.

ANAKIN: Then you do feel something… (in a soft voice)

PADMÉ looks away, not knowing what to say. ANAKIN stands up and starts walking away, deep in thought.

ANAKIN: You know it wouldn’t have to be that way; we could keep it a secret.

PADMÉ: We couldn’t keep a secret like that even if we wanted to. And we’d be living a lie, I couldn’t do that, could you, Anakin? Could you live like that?

ANAKIN: No…no that would destroy us.

PADMÉ: Then let’s not speak about this after today.

ANAKIN: If that’s what you wish…

PADMÉ: It is.

ANAKIN: Alright, then so be it.

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