Mothers in Star Wars

Star Wars rather obviously deals with relationships between fathers and sons (Vader and Luke; Han and Ben) or father figures (Mando and Grogu; Hunter and Omega; Kanan and Ezra; etc.). It’s a subject George Lucas himself wanted to explore as a result of his challenging relationship with his own father.

But what about mothers? Who are the mothers of Star Wars, and what, if anything, do they say about motherhood itself in the galaxy far, far away?

Here’s a list of the most obvious mothers in Star Wars and my take on their relationships with their children:

  • Shmi Skywalker. Shmi is the Skywalker matriarch, and raised Anakin by herself on Tatooine. Though they were slaves, Shmi raised her son with love and wisdom. Shmi knew her son was special, as he apparently had no father and displayed uncanny abilities in podracing. Because she knew he was destined for greater things, she found the strength to let him go with Qui Gon and live a better life. Unfortunately, Anakin’s love for his mother was something that got in the way of his Jedi training, and proved to be the first step on his path to the dark side–namely, that he felt he failed her when he couldn’t save her from the Tusken Raiders who kidnapped her. But with her last dying breath, Shmi only praised her son and told him she loved him. The pain of losing her only made Anakin determined not to lose Padme, at any cost, and…well, we know what happened there.
  • Padme Amidala. Birth mother to Luke and Leia, she dies just after giving birth to them. In Revenge of the Sith, Padme seems nervous at first about telling Anakin she’s pregnant, knowing the consequences, but ultimately seems happy about it. When Anakin tells her about his dreams of her dying in childbirth, she asks worriedly, “And the baby?” So it’s always been a little irritating to me that Padme dies of “sadness” or a broken heart because of Anakin’s turn to the dark side. Yes, it’s devastating, but she’s got babies, plural, to love and look after. You’d think that would be enough to give her something to live for. Padme, in Eps 1 & 2, is a strong, capable woman, as well as a loving, compassionate one; I’ve always found it hard to believe that she would simply give up. I know the story needed her to die; why couldn’t they have had her die of complications in birth, like Anakin dreaded? I get that Anakin’s dreams were a self-fulfilling prophecy–that he caused the death he so desperately wanted to prevent–but still. It irks, lol. It goes against her character, in my opinion.
  • Breha Organa. Queen of Alderaan, Leia’s adopted mother and Bail Organa’s wife, we see little of her in the films. She’s been mostly fleshed out in the book Leia: Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray, and in the recent series Obi-Wan Kenobi. Breha is regal, strong, intelligent, and loves her adopted daughter deeply. She raises Leia firmly but lovingly; and instills in her the sense of duty that Leia takes very seriously as she grows up. She expects much from Leia, and more importantly, lets her know that she believes in her. She and Bail tell Leia from the very beginning that she is adopted (while omitting the more distressing details) and instill in her the sense that she is an Organa in every way. She is royalty, and raised as royalty. While Leia has many qualities from her birth parents, the Organas are an extremely important part of who she is.
  • Beru Whitesun Lars. While Leia was raised as royalty, Luke was raised as a farmboy by his Aunt Beru and Uncle Owen on Tatooine. Though technically not related by blood, Owen and Beru love and raise Luke as their own. In A New Hope, Owen is portrayed as a grumpy barrier to Luke’s destiny; Beru is the content homemaker, serving blue milk and making whatever it is in that kitchen appliance. But in the series Obi-Wan Kenobi, we get more insight into both of them. Owen truly does love Luke (which I never doubted, really), and Beru, well, Beru is a bona-fide badass, lol. Owen wants to flee when Reva is on her way to kill Luke, but it’s Beru who gets out the guns and insists they make a stand. More is learned about Beru in the Padme trilogy books; Sabe goes to Tatooine to try to help free slaves. She meets Beru Whitesun, who is a prominent figure in the movement to fight slavery on Tatooine (the group is called the Whitesuns, so there you go). This is what I love about the books and series that are coming out–we learn a whole lot more about these women than in the films; they become more three-dimensional characters. In sum, Beru was a great mother/aunt to Luke.
There’s no actual footage of Leia with Ben, so here’s some sweet fanart by bee__stings on Anarchiveofourown.
  • Leia Organa Solo. Mother to Ben Solo, who eventually turns to the dark side to become Kylo Ren. Some say that Han and Leia were bad parents, ignoring their son while they pursued their careers, and that’s why he went bad, among other things (like Luke attacking him, and oh, Palpatine whispering in his ear since the womb). I don’t think they were bad parents. I think they were busy parents who underestimated the enemy, and their son’s discontent. But it’s clear they loved him dearly. They both sacrificed their lives for him. Leia, in particular, never lost hope for her son. Sensing her decline, she made that long-distance Force call to Ben, using the last of her life force to reach him. It was the first step in getting him to wake up. Whenever Ben heard Snoke or Vader in his head, it had been Palpatine deceiving him. But Leia’s voice, the voice of his mother, was real. It was a mother’s love, and it helped bring him back to the Light. Leia also, as well as being a mentor to Rey, was a kind of mother-figure for her.
  • Miramir. We know from The Rise of Skywalker that Rey’s then-nameless mother and father were killed by Ochi of Bestoon after hiding her on Jakku and refusing to divulge her whereabouts. That’s all we really knew about them (except that Dathan was a failed and discarded clone of Palpatine). In the book Shadow of the Sith, we learn more about them. They deeply loved Rey and were willing to do anything to protect her. They were both brave, but Miramir, in particular, was clever. She had a knack for technology, ship mechanics, slicing, that sort of thing, and used her talent to always keep them one step ahead of the enemy that relentlessly pursued them. And it was Miramir’s idea to hide Rey on Jakku–to bring her back there, in fact, since that’s where they lived for awhile in the first place. It broke both their hearts to leave her there with Unkar Plutt, but they were desperate to keep her safe. And it was only supposed to be temporary; we know it turned out otherwise. She also thought to use some beads from Pasaana to throw Ochi off and make him think that’s where Rey was, and that’s why Luke and Lando pursue him there; that’s why he died there in the sinking sands. So Rey was absolutely right when she told Palpatine, “My parents were strong. They saved me from you.”
  • Lyra Erso. Wife to Galen Erso, and Jyn’s mother, we only see her a little bit at the beginning of Rogue One; we learn a lot more about her in the book Catalyst by James Luceno, as well as the book Rebel Rising by Beth Revis. Lyra gave Jyn the kyber crystal necklace she wears in the film. Before she was born, Galen and Lyra were studying kyber crystals; Lyra was completely devoted to Galen and looked after him, as he often got lost in his work. She was also suspicious of Krennic long before Galen figured it out. She’s smart, but I thought she was foolish to leave Jyn as they fled Krennic; I’m not sure what she hoped to accomplish, but she got herself killed, Galen was taken by Krennic, and Jyn was left alone, only to be taken in by Saw Gerrera. As with Padme, I was puzzled over a mother’s decision to choose her husband over her child(ren). And yes, Jyn losing her mother and being alone is part of her character arc, but Lyra could have died defending her child. That I could have understood. I make it sound like husbands are chopped liver, lol, but that’s not what I’m saying. It just seems counter-intuitive to me, but everyone’s different, I suppose. I don’t doubt Lyra’s love for Jyn, though.

Those are all the main ones I can think of. Though fatherhood seems to take center stage in Star Wars, motherhood is just as important, obviously. Both mothers and fathers sacrifice themselves for their children, as most would. Star Wars is about, among other things, the importance of family, and how those relationships shape us and determine our actions.

Did I miss anyone? Who’s your favorite mother in Star Wars? Let me know in the comments, and we’ll talk about it!

My Top Ten Star Wars Heroes

I was inspired to write this post from a Star Wars fan group I was scrolling through the other night. I often see the question “What are your top ten favorite Jedi?” or villains or pilots or whatever. But heroes in general? Nope. I had to think about it, because there are a lot of heroes in Star Wars, but how would I rank them and why? So after some thought, I came up with this list, in descending order:

  • Ahsoka Tano

I have to go with Ahsoka at the top of the list. Not only is she an incredible Jedi, but after Order 66 she worked as Fulcrum, the secret contact for the Rebellion during their fight against the Empire. Even after the defeat of the Empire it seems, from events in The Mandalorian, that she’s still working to help those in need, as well as possibly be looking for Ezra (through her search for Thrawn). Her battle against Maul at Mandalore is incredible, her compassion for Rex and the Clones during Order 66 (even though they were trying to kill her) is heartfelt and heartbreaking, and her confrontation with Vader in Rebels is unforgettable. I really can’t think of any flaw in her, lol. Nobody’s perfect, but she’s pretty close. Whether as a Jedi, a spy, or a friend, she’s a great hero.

  • Leia Organa
Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) Phone Wallpaper | Moviemania

Leia Organa is a true hero of the galaxy, whether as Princess of Alderaan, a Senator (both Imperial and New Republic), a soldier of the Rebellion, or a General of the Resistance. Leia was truly dedicated to helping the galaxy be a better place, whether she was on mercy missions as a young Senator, fighting the Empire in the Rebellion, passing important legislation in the New Republic, or gathering together those who would resist the First Order. Her bravery, her strength in the face of tragedy, and her commitment to the cause is unparalleled. Perhaps her most important act was sacrificing herself for her son Ben Solo, to bring him back to the light. So even as a Mom, Leia was truly heroic!

  • Obi-Wan Kenobi

In every incarnation, whether in the Clone Wars, the prequels, Rebels, or A New Hope, Obi-Wan Kenobi is a hero. He was a holonet hero (along with Anakin) during the Clone Wars, he discovered the Clones on Kamino and defeated General Grievous in the prequels, defeated Maul in Rebels (and showed compassion to his old Nemesis as well), watched over Luke for what must have been a lonely twenty years on Tatooine, and sacrificed himself to Vader to save Luke in A New Hope. Even after death, his Force ghost was often there to advise Luke. Obi-Wan wasn’t perfect–he made some questionable decisions concerning Anakin when it mattered most–but he always loved him and did what he thought was best. Obi-Wan’s commitment to the Light never wavered, and his impact on the galaxy can’t be overstated.

  • Luke Skywalker

There will be some who think Luke should be higher up in the list, and I get that. Luke is the original hero of Star Wars, after all. He blew up the first Death Star, was a hero of the Rebellion, saved his friend Han from Jabba the Hutt, confronted the Emperor, and brought his father, Darth Vader, back to the light. And don’t get me started on that hallway scene in the Mandalorian! Totally awesome. But, like all humans, Luke had flaws. Or rather, he made some mistakes–most glaringly, after his gaffe with Ben Solo, he retreated from the fight, and from the galaxy, cutting himself off from the Force. Not from cowardice, just regret, and shame, and a firm belief that the Jedi must end. Luckily, he got over that and helped the Resistance at Crait–sacrificing himself so they could get away, in the most Jedi-like way possible. Bravo, Luke.

  • Din Djarin

Din Djarin was just your average bounty hunter (well, possibly an exceptional bounty hunter) until he met a little guy name Grogu, and then he became the Dadalorian. He formed a strong, yet tender, bond with this special child, and would do anything to protect him. Even if it meant giving him up, he would do what was best for Grogu. As most parents do–in the end, we have to let them go. Which isn’t heroic, just necessary, but Din was definitely heroic in his quest to protect Grogu from those who would harm/take him, and to get him where he ultimately belonged–with a Jedi. Not that we sobbed or anything when the time came for Grogo to go with Luke, lol. I’m eager to see what kind of hero he’ll be to the Mandalorians in future seasons of the show.

  • Rey

Rey is the hero of the sequel trilogy, becoming the last hope for the Jedi as the First Order grows in power. She joins the Resistance and becomes fast friends with Finn and Poe, as well as forming a strong bond with Leia, who takes her on as an apprentice. Rey is the only person, besides Leia herself, who believes Ben Solo can be turned back to the light. When she fatally injures him on Kef Bir, she instantly turns around and Force heals him, showing a compassion that defines her. On Exegol, she defeats Palpatine with the help of the Jedi who came before, nearly giving her life to do it. With Palpatine gone, the Sith Eternal and the First Order fall, freeing the galaxy from evil once again.

  • Han Solo

Despite his smuggler/scoundrel status, Han Solo early on becomes one of the bigger heroes of the galaxy. No matter how he might prefer to think of himself, he’s got a big heart and always ends up doing the right thing. He comes back at the last minute to help Luke blow up the first Death Star, becomes a General in the Rebellion and leads the attack on Endor, ultimately being successful in that mission, allowing the second Death Star to be destroyed. He helps free the Wookiees from the waning Empire on Kashyyyk. When the First Order threatens the galaxy, he plays his part to help, but loses his life in trying to bring his son back from the Dark. He begins the saga as a pilot for hire who’s in it for the money; he ends it with sacrificing himself for love.

  • Chewbacca

Wherever Han Solo is, there is Chewbacca. Whenever we talk about loyalty in Star Wars, we must talk about Chewie. A copilot, a good shot with a bowcaster, a steadfast friend. When Han helped save him from the Imperials in Solo, he owed Han a life debt, and stood by his side for many years. Chewie helped his friends during the Rebellion, and then went back home for awhile to be with his newly freed family on Kashyyyk. He eventually found his way back to Han Solo, and once again stood against tyranny and fought the First Order.

  • R2D2

Okay, so maybe R2 should be at the top of the list. Because without this little droid, our heroes wouldn’t have gotten very far. His very first act on screen is to get the Death Star plans from Princess Leia and get them off the Tantive IV, away from the Imperials and into the hands of Obi-Wan Kenobi on Tatooine. In every movie and in the Clone Wars, he’s always plugging into some data portal or other and gathering information, making doors open or close, distracting the enemy, and whatnot. In the sequel trilogy he’s largely absent, powered down since Luke disappeared, but he carries the last piece of the map to Luke’s location inside him. He’s a feisty, brave little astromech, with plenty of grit and attitude. He also has the patience (most of the time) to put up with Threepio’s insufferable complaining. Now that’s heroic.

  • Kanan Jarrus (and the entire Ghost crew).

Kanan Jarrus is one of my favorite Jedi, and he, along with the rest of the Ghost crew–Hera, Sabine, Zeb, Chopper, and of course, Ezra–belongs on this list of heroes. Kanan used to be Caleb Dume, a Jedi Padawan who survived Order 66. The experience haunted him, and at first, he tried to forget who and what he was in order to survive. But once he met up with Hera, he decided to help those in need, and then later, become an important part of the Rebellion against the Empire. He stumbled around at first in training Ezra, but eventually found his groove, and his own Padawan became a hero of Lothal–freeing that world from the Empire’s grip. Kanan sacrificed himself to save those he loved, and it’s one of the most painful deaths for me in Star Wars.

Honorable mentions:

  • the entire Rogue One crew
  • Clone Wars Anakin Skywalker
  • Captain Rex
  • Bail Organa
  • Lando Calrissian
  • Poe Dameron and Finn

I could go on and on. There’s so many great heroes in Star Wars, people doing what is necessary to make the galaxy a better place.

What about Yoda? He’s a great Jedi Master, and I do love him. But let’s face it, he was the head of the Jedi Order when it fell. He made mistakes. Instead of following the Force, he followed the “rules” of the Jedi. He got the Jedi involved in politics and in a pointless war. Yes, they were all duped and drawn in by Sidious, but come on. He was their leader, hundreds of years old and ostensibly “wise.” So I can’t call him a hero, at least not until he trains Luke, and at that point, any Jedi could have done it. His wisdom comes after the fact. But I still love the guy, lol.

Who are your favorite Star Wars heroes? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!