Natalie Portman Returns to ‘Star Wars’ as Queen Amidala

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A joyful woman wearing a floral tiara and intricate hairnets, smiling broadly against a blurred green natural background.

Credit: Lucasfilm

Natalie Portman is finally returning to the Star Wars franchise for the 25th anniversary of Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999).

Natalie Portman as Amidala
Credit: Lucasfilm

‘The Phantom Menace’ Breaks the Drought

To say that the release of The Phantom Menace was a big deal for Star Wars fans is likely the understatement of the millennium. After nearly two decades of no Jedi-related feature films, expectations for the first movie in George Lucas’ prequel trilogy were sky-high.

As such, the pressure on new stars like Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor, Jake Lloyd, Ahmed Best, and even Liam Neeson was immense. In the interim between Return of the Jedi (1983) and The Phantom Menace, the original movies achieved a near-mythic status for fans, and they expected nothing less than perfection from the new films.

Ray Park as Darth Maul in 'The Phantom Menace'
Credit: Lucasfilm

Things didn’t turn out quite that way. The Phantom Menace was an unsurprisingly massive hit at the box office, grossing $924.3 million worldwide during its initial theatrical run and even more in subsequent re-releases. But while reception to the film was initially positive, critics and fans alike quickly turned on the new Star Wars movies. In particular, the fandom raged against goofier elements like Jar Jar Binks and the plot’s emphasis on galactic trade politics.

Related: George Lucas To Make ‘Star Wars’ Return, Report Says

Since then, the careers of its various stars have gone in different directions. Ewan McGregor went on to lead massive films like Moulin Rouge! (2001) and Black Hawk Down (2001), and recently returned to Star Wars for the Disney+ series Obi-Wan Kenobi. Ahmed Best and Jake Lloyd were severely affected by criticism from fans and withdrew from the public for years, though the former also recently returned to the galaxy far, far away for Disney.

Natalie Portman as Padme Amidala in Star Wars
Credit: Lucasfilm

Natalie Portman portrayed Queen Padmé Amidala (also briefly played by future Pirates of the Caribbean star Keira Knightley for a narrative subterfuge) in all three of the prequels. She went on to win an Academy Award for Best Actress for Black Swan (2010), starred in multiple Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, and acted in numerous critically acclaimed films.

But, unlike many of her co-stars, Natalie Portman and Padmé Amidala have not returned to Star Wars in the years since.

Queen Padmé Amidala of Naboo

The Walt Disney Company is really pulling out the stops for the 25th anniversary of The Phantom Menace, which has seen significant cultural re-evaluation in the years since it hit theaters. Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor, and Ahmed Best have all appeared in Disney+ series in the last several years, while increasing amounts of prequel lore have been prominently featured, like Din Djarin’s Naboo N-1 Starfighter in The Mandalorian.

Now, Star Wars fans are finally getting to see the return of Natalie Portman as Queen Padmé Amidala in the form of a limited-edition 11-inch Queen Amidala Doll for the upcoming May the Fourth celebration.

Front and back views of a queen amidala action figure from star wars, dressed in her iconic red and gold ceremonial gown with elaborate headdress and white face makeup.
Credit: Disney

The Queen Amidala doll is modeled after Natalie Portman in her Phantom Menace throne room dress, described as “the extravagant gown featured sein jewels that illuminated from within and were accessorized with an elaborate headdress. Her traditional royal makeup included a white base, red dots on both cheeks, and a red stripe painted on her lower lip to represent the suffering endured by the Naboo people before the Great Time of Peace.”

Related: Disney Ready to Give up on ‘Star Wars’ After Losing Billions

Natalie Portman as Padmé Amidala. Credit: Lucasfilm
Credit: Lucasfilm

Star Wars fans will be able to purchase the Natalie Portman doll on May 4 at 8 a.m. PT / 11 a.m. ET here, and will undoubtedly sell out immediately, even at a price of $129.99. Disney lists it as having the following features:

  • Limited Edition of 3,100
  • Certificate of Authenticity
  • Queen Amidala dressed in her silken throne room gown with embroidered stripes
  • Tabard features golden embroidered detailing
  • Gown is trimmed in faux fur
  • Decorative jewel accents around hem
  • Molded golden headdress features Jewel of Zenda
  • Rooted, braided hair
  • Makeup includes Scar of Remembrance on lip
  • Molded boots
  • Gown features satin lining
  • Fully poseable
  • Presented in window display packaging

Collectors will likely note that only 3,100 Amidala dolls are being produced, meaning that this piece of Star Wars memorabilia will likely skyrocket in price immediately. Natalie Portman fans had better be quick about this one.

Do you think The Phantom Menace has improved in retrospect? Tell us your controversial Star Wars opinions below!

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