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Literature / Star Wars: Queen's Shadow

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Queen's Shadow is a Star Wars Expanded Universe young adult novel written by E. K. Johnston (Ahsoka, "By Whatever Sun"). It was released on March 5, 2019.

Set after The Phantom Menace, the novel follows Padmé Naberrie as she steps down as the Queen of Naboo to become the Senator of her homeworld in the Galactic Senate.

A prequel novel called Queen's Peril was released in 2020.


  • Ambiguous Situation: It's implied that Mariek and Quarsh Panaka's marriage isn't going to last. Not only is it mentioned that Quarsh's disagreement on the installation of the ion pulse has strained his relationships with people including his wife, in the epilogue it's explicitly stated that Mariek did not appear alongside him when he made his first address to Naboo as a Moff, implying she might have left him due to his support of the Empire.
  • Arc Words: “We are brave, Your Highness.”
  • Ascended Extra: The unnamed Royal Naboo Security Forces sergeant played by Richard Armitage who was a background character in The Phantom Menace is named Tonra here, has since been promoted to captain and is Sabé's close ally and sometime lover.
  • Battle Ballgown: All of the Queen's dresses are a variation on this, even if it's hidden. At the very least, the fabric is treated with resin to make it blaster-resistant, with other forms of armor being hidden inside the clothing as much as possible and jeweled brooches concealing recording devices or personal shields.
  • Book Ends: The first chapter and the epilogue both begin with the exact same description of Padmé, the first time describing her while she's floating in the lake and the second time describing her body laid out at her funeral.
    Padmé Amidala was completely still. The brown halo of her hair spread out around her, softened here and there by white blossoms that had blown through the air to find their rest amongst her curls. Her skin was pale and perfect. Her face was peaceful. Her eyes were closed and her hands were clasped across her stomach as she floated. Naboo carried on without her.
    Even now, at the end, she was watched.
  • Call-Back: Padmé's handmaidens perform operations to buy slaves on Tatooine to free them as a result of Padmé's encounter with Anakin and Shmi in The Phantom Menace.
  • Call-Forward:
    • When discussing the runners and candidates for the next queen election after it is announced that Queen Réillata will succeed Queen Amidala, it is mentioned that Jamillia, the queen in Attack of the Clones (ten years after the events of The Phantom Menace), was the candidate that Padmé and her handmaidens wanted to win and it is expected that she'll probably win the next election.
    • Naboo is building an "ion pulse" for planetary defence. The device first appeared in Star Wars Battlefront II (2017), as part of defeating the Empire's Operation Cinder.
    • Sabé's search for Shmi Skywalker on Tatooine ends in failure, likely because she's already been freed by Cliegg Lars.
    • Mina Bonteri voices displeasure at the Republic's inability to get anything done to the point that Padmé thinks it sounds almost treasonous, which we know will lead into her joining the Separatist Parliament sometime before The Clone Wars.
      • Not only this, but it's indicated that the business with the Mid Rim pirate attacks are the beginning of the stirrings of discontent that will lead to the Separatist movement, and on two occasions Padmé hears Mina conversing with someone who is implied to be Count Dooku.
    • Onaconda Farr is an old friend of Padmé's father, as mentioned in The Clone Wars.
    • Rush Clovis gives Padmé a Forceful Kiss, just as he will attempt to do in "The Rise of Clovis".
    • After a skirmish with pirates that has Padmé's unarmed ship in danger, Typho suggests that she risk her life in a Naboo starfighter next time, and she responds that she'll consider it only if he's flying one as well.
    • In the Time Skip to shortly after Padmé's funeral, Sabé is upset that Panaka has become an Imperial collaborator for Naboo. This will be followed up in Leia, Princess of Alderaan.
  • The Cameo: Jamillia is mentioned as having ran against Réillata for queen in the election succeeding Padmé. Padmé and her handmaidens are supporters of her and it is expected that she'll win the next election.
  • Casting Gag: Catherine Taber, the voice of Padmé in The Clone Wars, is the audiobook narrator.
  • Coming of Age Story: The novel chronicles eighteen-year-old Padmé's journey to leave behind her role as queen and learn the ropes of galactic politics.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • At Varykino at the beginning, Padmé is careful to wipe her feet on the grass after coming off the beach due to sand.
    • Sabé meets a contact of hers in Dex's Diner.
  • Continuity Snarl: Although the revelation that one term of office for a monarch of Naboo is two years clears things up regarding the various queens in Attack of the Clones, The Clone Wars and Revenge of the Sith, it starts another mess: King Veruna, Padmé's predecessor on the throne, is said to have reigned for 13 years. Now, in Legends it was said that Veruna was massively corrupt and the rules were changed as a result, and he's indicated to be corrupt in canon as well, but there's also the fact that Réillata is 23 when re-elected as queen, and her first term is said to have happened when Padmé was a child: doing the math, that means she was either first elected at the age of 4, which is young even by Naboo's standards, or someone done screwed up (though it's also possible that Veruna's terms weren't consecutive; he may have been king both before and after Réillata). To further complicate the matter, however, an excerpt of Queen's Peril establishes that Padmé was preceded by Queen Sanandrassa.
  • Cool Crown: The Queen's headpieces are made to be as over-the-top as possible, to distract from the face so it's easier for a handmaiden to switch out.
  • Cuteness Proximity: Happens to R2-D2 of all characters when, while Padmé is visiting her family, she asks him over to help with a greenhouse her father is constructing... only for the droid to get distracted entertaining baby Ryoo with noises and, initially, his spark projector.
  • Distant Epilogue: The epilogue jumps forward eight years to right after Padmé's funeral, as Sabé and Tonra decide to investigate the circumstances of her death.
  • Double-Meaning Title: The Queen's shadow is both the effect that Padmé's reign will have on the rest of her life, and the role that Sabé carries out via her personal loyalty to Padmé, even after Amidala's reign is over and after Padmé's death.
  • Dramatic Irony:
    • Padmé and Breha talk about marriage and having children. Padmé talks about wanting a marriage like her parents' marriage and Breha says that in contrast, as queen of Alderaan, her children will have to go through the same things she had to as her successors, as well as that if she were to get pregnant, Bail would be too busy with his senatorial work as their ministers would otherwise cause a stir if he had to constantly return home to care for her. As we all know, Padmé gets anything but a normal marriage, her children will be separated at birth, and her daughter will be adopted by Bail and Breha, raised as the princess of Alderaan, and become much more than Padmé had ever imagined.
    • When one of her former handmaidens cannot come to a dinner with friends because a set of twins under her care are sick, Padmé mentions it's all right, but says that "I can't imagine having twins."
  • Fantastic Racism: While discussing Nute Gunray's seemingly endless trials, Padmé admits that she can't stand Neimoidians, but is also uncomfortable with this since she knows she shouldn't hate an entire species based on the actions of a few members.
  • Forceful Kiss: Clovis does this to Padmé, ignoring her protests and attempts to move away. She is not happy, and it ends up being the reason their relationship failed.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Due to being an interquel set between The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, the outcome of some plot points are already known, including:
    • Padmé and Clovis's relationship doesn't last.
    • Sabé is unsuccessful in finding Shmi Skywalker.
    • The Bromlarch aqueduct is saved.
    • Padmé ultimately allies with Mon Mothma and Bail Organa; Mina Bonteri only becomes more alienated from the Republic.
  • Given Name Reveal: Sabé's real first name is Tsabin; and Cordé, Dormé and Versé's are Cordyn, Dorra and Versaat.
  • Impractically Fancy Outfit: Averted. Even the heaviest of the Queen's dresses are designed to be easily shed in a hurry.
  • Interquel: Covers the events surrounding Padmé Amidala's transition from queen, as she was in The Phantom Menace, to senator, the role we see her in during Attack of the Clones.
  • Juxtaposed Halves Shot: The cover depicts Padmé this way, one half being her as queen and the other half being her appearance from the first battle of Geonosis.
  • Mythology Gag: Padmé tells Clovis about a relief mission she went on with her father to a planet called Shadda-Bi-Boran as a child, which ended with all of the evacuees dying because they couldn't adjust to a different environment. This mission comes straight from a non-canon deleted scene from Attack of the Clones where she tells Anakin about it.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Padmé views Mon Mothma and Mina Bonteri as this, despite their rivalry over her gaining her as an ally. While Mon Mothma may have faith in the Republic, Mina does not and views them as becoming increasingly incompetent and heartless. But if there's one thing they both have in common, it's that they're both idealists that want to do good things.
  • One Name Only: Padmé's handmaidens all following the naming convention of having an é at the end of their only name is finally explained as them having changed their name as a part of taking up the job, as a symbolic gesture of dedication to Padmé. The original handmaidens' given names aren't revealed except for Sabé's, who turns out to be named Tsabin. As well, Cordé, Dormé and Versé are revealed to have originally been Cordyn, Dorra and Versaat.
  • Resolved Noodle Incident: In The Clone Wars episode "The Rise of Clovis", Padmé and Clovis briefly discuss having worked together on saving an aqueduct system for the planet Bromlarch, an incident so serious they barely had time to eat or sleep for three days. In Queen's Shadow, this incident is described in detail and leads into the climax of the story.
  • Sequel Hook: The book ends with a Time Skip to Sabé leaving Padmé's funeral and deciding to go into hiding with Tonra so that she can investigate the true circumstances of Padmé's suspicious death and fight against the Empire. She's contacted by Bail at the end. Their storyline would continue in the Darth Vader (2020) comic series.
  • Ship Sinking: Although it was already a Foregone Conclusion, any chance of Padmé and Clovis becoming a long-term couple is torpedoed when he kisses her against her will, despite her saying no repeatedly, and then gets mad at her for rejecting him. Padmé had been genuinely fond of Clovis before this and had been considering making things more serious, but his invasion of her personal space and lack of respect for her boundaries pretty much kills her attraction to him and she promptly ends things.
  • Sudden Downer Ending: For the most part, Queen's Shadow is a lighthearted, low-stakes Coming of Age Story about Padmé learning to become a senator and develop her own identity beyond being "Queen of Naboo", with the help of her loyal handmaidens and new friends in the Senate. The main story ends with Padmé having successfully transitioned into galactic politics and saved the Bromlarch aqueducts... then the epilogue skips ahead nine years to the end of Revenge of the Sith, where a heartbroken Sabé is attending Padmé's funeral after she died in childbirth (and her baby seemingly having died with her), the Republic's recently become the Galactic Empire and basically everything has gone to hell. The only bright spot is Bail Organa contacting Sabé after she vows to find out what really happened to Padmé, thus implying she may join the Rebel Alliance.
    • Sadly, the Darth Vader (2020) comic series shows things do not end well for Sabé and her allies.
  • Think of the Children!: Dormé mentions that Mina tried to pass a bill that would reform education in poor areas of the Core Worlds, but it stalled because said Core Worlds didn't want to admit they had poor areas.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: Sabé reveals what happened to some of the other characters in the epilogue, which is set right after Padmé's funeral. Sio Bibble retired as governor and Saché ran for the governorship with a strong chance of winning, only for the election to be postponed in the wake of the Empire's formation. Much to Sabé's dismay, Quarsh Panaka has been appointed a Moff and is now the Emperor's stooge. Padmé died a tragic and untimely death under suspicious circumstances. And Bail Organa has an interesting proposition for Sabé.
  • With Us or Against Us: Padmé has to choose between joining Bail and Mon Mothma's group, or Mina's group. Bail and Mothma believe in the good of the Republic and that anything is possible if they try hard enough, while Mina believes that the Republic is too corrupt to get anything good done. When Padmé chooses to join Bail and Mothma, she ends up alienating Mina.
  • Young and in Charge: Padmé was fourteen years old when she was the Queen of Naboo, and now she's representing the planet in the Galactic Senate. She was in office for two two-year terms, which would make her around eighteen during the events of the novel.