Natalie Portman Was Bummed by Backlash to the Star Wars Prequels

Natalie Portman, who portrayed Padmé Amidala across George Lucas’ trilogy of Star Wars prequels, admits “it was hard” witnessing their initial mixed-to-negative reception.

“It was a bummer because it felt like people were so excited about new ones and then to have people feel disappointed,” Portman told Empire. “Also to be at an age that I didn’t really understand that’s kind of the nature of the beast. When something has that much anticipation it can almost only disappoint.”

Though the Prequel Trilogy remains divisive, fan response has softened in the 20 years since The Phantom Menace: Reddit, one of the most visited websites on the Internet, has even fostered a hotly popular community of nearly one million subscribers dedicated to all things memes as inspired by Episodes I, II, and III.

“With the perspective of time, it’s been re-evaluated by a lot of people who actually really love them now,” Portman said. “There’s a very avid group of people who think they’re the best ones now! I don’t have enough perspective to weigh in.”

Despite reflecting fondly on the series of films where she starred as the mother of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), Portman admitted in a 2018 interview she had yet to screen the films for her son, citing her fate as the doomed lover of Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) for the decision.

“It’s kind of a shame. You know, when I made it, I was like, ‘This is going to be the coolest thing. One day when I have kids, I can show them.’ And boys, of course, are obsessed with it and know all about it before they’ve seen it,” Portman told Jimmy Kimmel.

But, Portman added, “I realized, I die in the movies. I feel like it’s kind of a scary thing to show your kid.”

In December, Portman shot down rumors Padmé would reappear in the coming Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, promised by writer-director J.J. Abrams and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy to be the culmination of the nine-movie Skywalker Saga.

Starring Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Billy Dee Williams, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opens December 20.

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