The Evolution of Women in the Star Wars Universe: Episode II: Attack of the Clones
Welcome to the fifth installment of my series looking back at all of the women in the Star Wars films. I started with the original trilogy (Episodes IV, V, & VI) and most recently cataloged all of the women in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (TPM).
The amount of women seen and heard in TPM dwarfed the same number in the original trilogy films combined. I don’t like to get caught up too much in numbers because they can be misleading – in my opinion Princess Leia is such a strong character I’d take a movie with just her in it over a movie with four boring female roles any day – but it’s interesting that there are about ten female speaking roles in TPM where there were only four in Episodes IV-VI combined. Part of this is the result of the first Star Wars prequel simply having more people in it overall, which helps to evolve the Star Wars universe in general and female characters specifically.
What’s interesting about Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (AOTC) is that women are almost everywhere. While in previous breakdowns I included screenshots of literally every woman I could spot on the screen, there are just too many crowd shots in AOTC for that make sense here.
The overall diversity of the women in AOTC is quite impressive. Female actors in AOTC play characters who are good and bad, Jedi and bounty hunters, librarians and royalty, club goers and farmers. And these women importantly look as diverse as their character’s storylines. Most of these roles are small, but that doesn’t make them any less important or in many cases any less interesting. There are many characters in AOTC that I think deserve more love from Lucasfilm in future books, TV shows, and comics. Luckily many of these characters already have much more developed storylines in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars TV series.
Here are all of the women, in mostly chronological order, in Attack of the Clones.
It looks like we are getting our first glimpse of Padmé (Natalie Portman) in one of the first shots of AOTC.
In reality we are seeing Cordé (Veronica Segura), Padmé’s handmaiden who (like Sabé in TPM) serves as a decoy for the now Senator from Naboo. Standing behind Cordé (below) in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it role is Versé (unknown actress), another of Padmé’s handmaidens.
Sadly both Cordé and Versé die in the assassination attempt of Senator Amidala while exiting their ship.
Padmé Amidala (shown below trying to comfort Cordé) begins AOTC trying to outwit assassins and she’ll spend much of the movie on the run.
In Palpatine’s office we get a peek at Padawan Bariss Offee (back left, Nalini Krishan) and Jedi Luminara Unduli (back middle, Mary Oyaya). We’ll see more of these two later in the film.
To the left of Palpatine below is our first look at ghostly white Sly Moore (Sandi Finlay). Sly Moore never says a word in AOTC, serving silently as Palpatine’s senior administrative aide.
Later in this scene we see Padmé Amidala with another one her handmaiden’s, Dormé (Rose Byrne).
There are also two female Twi-leks in this scene, seen in the two photos below, that are as far as I know unidentified.
Still in Coruscant, Padmé’s life once again is threatened. This time to we get a look at her assassin. Zam Wesell (Leeanna Walsman) is a bounty hunter working with Jango Fett to try and kill Padmé. Below are images of Zam during and after Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi’s pursuit of her.
After the Jedi catch up with Zam (who is a Clawdite shapeshifter) she is shot by Jango Fett. She shifts into a more reptilian form before she dies.
Coruscant Streets and Outlander Club
During the pursuit of Zam Wesell we get a look at the inhabitants of Coruscant’s streets and night clubs. It’s a bit like a mix between the Mos Eisley Cantina and Jabba’s Palace. Some of the women who can be spotted in the screenshots below are dressed in rather a rather risqué fashion, other women look like they might have just made an appearance in a Mad Max movie.
The following screenshots are just a few of the female characters from this sequence. For more information about the female (and male) characters in the Outlander Club check out Star Wars Insider #75.
Lillea Bringbit (blonde on the left, Gillian Libbert). The women on the right are unidentified.
Sel Maa (below left with the blonde beehive hairstyle, unknown actress).
I believe Nyrat Agira (unknown actress) is in the sheer red pants in the screenshot below. Immi Danoo (unknown actress) is to the left of Nyrat.
Kalyn Farnmir (below far right, unknown actress).
Sne Wo (left, unknown actress) and Hayde Gofai (right, Fiona Johnson).
From left to right below: Lunae Minx (Katie Lucas), Ayy Vida (Karina Wakefield), and Ahmed Best (normally Jar Jar Binks).
From left to right below: Whimper Save (unknown actress), Reina March (unknown actress), Anthony Daniels (normally C-3PO), Rosha Vess (unknown actress), and Nyrat Agira appears again on the far right.
Once again, sadly in AOTC the only Jedi we get a good look at or hear from in the Jedi High Council are male. In this scene the only shots of female Jedi are from high above. Shaak Tii (Orli Shoshan) is to the left of Saesee Tiin (circle on the right) and I believe Stass Allie (Nina Fallon) is sitting on Oppo Rancisis’s right (circle on the left). According to this article from StarWars.com, Adi Gallia (Gin Clarke) and Depa Billaba (Dipika O’Neill Joti) are still on the Council at this time. IMDB lists these two characters as appearing in AOTC via archival footage from TPM but I never got a good look at them. Yaddle, who appeared on the Jedi High Council in TPM, is also nowhere to be seen in AOTC.
Dormé says goodbye to Padmé before she and Anakin take off for Naboo. None of the handmaidens from TPM return in AOTC. Perhaps because she’s free of her royal title Padmé interacts much more with her handmaidens in AOTC than she did in TPM which is nice to see.
When Obi-Wan Kenobi seeks out Dexter Jettser we see several female characters in the diner. Obi-Wan is greeted by FLO, a WA-7 waitress droid.
Human waitress Hermione Bagwa was played by actress Susie Porter, who also voiced WA-7.
There’s also a woman in a fantastic outfit in the background of this scene (below right). She is credited in IMDB as an unidentified bounty hunter played by actress Sara Elizabeth Joyce.
Jedi Master and Chief Librarian of the Jedi Archives Jocasta Nu (Alethea McGrath) offers very little help to Obi-Wan Kenobi on his quest to find the Kamino system. Jocasta Nu is the only female Jedi that speaks in AOTC.
In the background of the screenshot below I think we also get another quick look at Jedi Master Shaak Ti. Have I mentioned how much I love Shaak Ti yet? Luckily she is one of the easier characters to find in the background.
As Obi-Wan leaves the Jedi Archives we get our first look at Jedi Aayla Secura (Amy Allen).
In the scene with Yoda and the younglings some of the younglings are female but it’s kind of hard to spot them. Mari Amithest (Phoebe Yiamkiati) is I believe third from the left in the screenshot below.
Ashla (actress unknown), a Togruta youngling, is far left in the screenshot below.
One more screenshot of the younglings.
Padmé and Anakin visit Padmé’s successor Queen Jamillia (Ayesha Dharker) once they arrive in Naboo.
Just like the scenes of Padmé as Queen in TPM, the current queen is surrounded by men and women in Theed Palace most of whom (such as the woman on the right below) are unidentified.
Four of Queen Jamillia’s handmaidens can also be seen in this sequence. None of these handmaidens have ever been identified.
When Obi-Wan Kenobi finally makes his way to Kamino he is greeted by Taun We (voice by Rena Owen), the administrative aide to Lamu Su. Most of the inhabitants of Kamino are of course clones of Jango Fett.
As Padmé and Anakin Skywalker hide out in Naboo, a few women can be seen attending to them.
Teckla Minnau (below middle, Natalie Danks-Smith) was an aide to Padmé. This character later appears in the Clone Wars episode “Pursuit of Peace.”
When Anakin and Padmé travel to Tatooine to find Anakin’s mother Shmi, the crowd scenes show a few female characters in a similar fashion to scenes in A New Hope and TPM.
Anakin and Padmé soon find out that Schmi has married Cliegg Lars and is living with Cliegg, his son Owen, and Owen’s wife Beru (Bonnie Piesse). Beru’s role here is small as is Owen’s role. Beru says hello, brings everyone beverages (unfortunately not blue milk), and mourns Shmi when Anakin brings back her body. Several scenes were apparently shot with Padmé and Beru chatting about life on Tatooine, but those scenes have not yet been released.
Shmi Skywalker (Pernilla August) only gets one scene in AOTC – and it’s a tragic one. Abducted by Sand People, Shmi somehow manages to survive long enough for a heart wrenchingly brief reunion with her son. Seeing such a strong and loving woman die in such a senseless fashion is upsetting for Star Wars fans and a huge piece to the puzzle of how Anakin eventually becomes Darth Vader. Anakin may be the “Chosen One” but someone or something chose Shmi to be his mother. It would be great to learn more about this character.
In the Chancellor’s Suite we get a glance at a few characters we have seen before: Sly Moore (far left), Stass Allie (behind Obi-Wan’s hologram), Luminara Unduli and Bariss Offee (behind Yoda) and a few new characters including Senator Lexi Dio (Nicole Fantl) from Uyter who is to the right of Jar Jar Binks.
You can find the best shot of Sly Moore in this scene in the Galactic Senate below.
There are two groups of people in Geonosis. The separatists led by Count Dooku and the Geonosians. There’s one female separatist Shu Mai (below).
I’m guessing some of the Geonosians below are female – it’s just hard to say which ones.
Battle of Geonosis
There were reportedly 200 Jedi in the Battle of Geonosis according to this StarWars.com article that helped me identify a few of the female Jedi below. This scene is a great example of diversity in general and female diversity in particular. All of the women look very different from each other – which in my opinion is how it always should be. All of the action happens so fast in this battle it’s hard to appreciate individual Jedi, but if you haven’t seen AOTC recently it’s worth viewing again if only for this sequence.
Shaak Tii (left) and Luminara Unduli (right).
Bariss Offee (left).
Bultar Swan (left, Mimi Daraphet).
Sar Labooda (below left on balcony, Emma Howard).
Sarissa Jeng (Karen Wilson), with Aayla Secura on the far left below.
Padmé Amidala in the midst of “aggressive negotiations.”
Aayla Secura (middle).
Padmé Amidala, Luminara Unduli, Stass Allie, Shaak Ti, and Bultar Swan are some of the Jedi surrounded by battle droids before Yoda and the Clone Troopers come to the rescue.
Shaak Ti and Luminara Unduli evacuating out of the Geonosis arena.
The last shot of AOTC shows Padmé and Anakin after their secret wedding on Naboo.
In one of the many AOTC deleted scenes involving Padmé – seriously, practically all of them have Padmé in them – Padmé addresses the Galactic Senate and you can see one of her handmaidens (maybe Dormé?) seated in her box.
Also included in AOTC deleted scenes is an extended scene with Obi-Wan and Jocastu Nu talking about Count Dooku and a conversation between Padmé and Anakin where Padmé talks about how she was hoping she would have had children by now. Both deleted conversations offer some interesting background information about Dooku and Padmé, especially Padmé’s dreams of having a family.
In another deleted scene we get to meet Padmé’s existing family. Below are Padmé’s two nieces Ryoo Naberrie (Keira Wingate, front) and Pooja Naberrie (Hayley Mooy, back).
In the next scene we meet Padmé’s sister Sola Naberrie (left, Claudia Karvan) and her parents. Padmé’s mother Jobal Naberrie (middle) was portrayed by actress Trisha Noble. What a wealth of characters that are directly related to Luke and Leia that ended up on the cutting room floor! The fate of many of Padmé’s relatives were noted in some Legends books and comics. I’d love to learn more about all of these characters.
While many of these deleted scenes are not necessary for the overall plot, they do serve to enhance the love story between Padmé and Anakin quite a bit in my opinion. For Star Wars fans who feel like the Padmé/Anakin love story feels rushed and overstuffed with awkward dialogue, I would suggest seeking out these deleted scenes.
Overall, when it comes to female characters Attack of the Clones is mostly dominated by Padmé – just like The Phantom Menace. But Padmé is surrounded by over a dozen other extremely diverse female characters in AOTC. While the female Jedi don’t get to shine much in AOTC, these characters are in many cases fully developed in future Star Wars productions.
Coming up next – the breakdown of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.
Sources: StarWars.com, Wookieepedia, and IMDB.
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4 thoughts on “The Evolution of Women in the Star Wars Universe: Episode II: Attack of the Clones”
The photo of the jedi council shows Adi Gallia, not Stass Allie.. this is archive footage from tpm the only difference being Shaak Ti in the place of Yaddle and Coleman Trebor instead of Yarael Poof. So essentually, still 3 female jedi on the council- Dipika and Gin are still there, joined by Orli.
Nina Fallon appears only in rots, not aotc. Stass Allie’s actress in aotc is Lily Nyamwasa- in addition to the arena scenes, she can be seen in the scene at the chancellor’s office next to jedi master Plo Koon when Obi-wan Kenobi is delivering a crucial message about the separatists before he is cut off. Also present were the female apprentice-master team of Barriss Offee and Luminara Unduli in the background.
The two twi’lek senator aides have names – Pampy, the blue one (Amy Allen) and Supi, the green one. They’re rivals competing for Orn Free Taa’s attention.
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