Study Guide

Star Wars: The Phantom Menace Quotes

  • Coming of Age

    QUI-GON: Don't center on your anxieties, Obi-Wan. Keep your concentration here and now, where it belongs.

    OBI-WAN: But Master Yoda said I should be mindful of the future.

    QUI-GON: But not at the expense of the moment. Be mindful of the living Force, young Padawan.

    OBI-WAN: Yes, Master.

    It's the first scene of the movie, and we can already recognize the coming of age theme. Obi-Wan Kenobi, who is the mentor character in A New Hope, is himself the student. He is still learning what it means to be a Jedi knight and trying to determine how to properly use his powers. Everybody's got to start somewhere.

    AMIDALA: We must continue to rely on negotiations.

    BIBBLE: Negotiation? We've lost all communications. And where are the Chancellor's ambassadors?

    PANAKA: This is a dangerous situation, Your Highness. Our security volunteers will be no match against a battle-hardened Federation army.

    AMIDALA: I will not condone a course of action that will lead us to war.

    Despite being queen, Padmé Amidala is still learning. Growing up in a peaceful society, she believes negotiation is the way to settle disputes, but the Trade Federation's invasion disrupts this notion. With the textbook answer no longer applicable, Padmé must learn and grow to meet the challenge.

    PANAKA: Wait! Wait. Her Highness commands you to take her handmaiden with you.

    QUI-GON: No more commands from Her Highness today, Captain. The spaceport is not going to be pleasant.

    PANAKA: The queen wishes it. She's curious about the planet.

    QUI-GON: [Sighs] This is not a good idea. Stay close to me.

    The queen is, of course, Padmé, so it is her own desire to learn about the planet and its customs that drives her to go with Qui-Gon. This desire to learn along with the knowledge she acquires will help in her coming of age.

    ANAKIN: What about Mom? Is she free too?

    QUI-GON: I tried to free your mother, Ani, but Watto wouldn't have it.

    ANAKIN: You're coming with us, aren't you, Mom?

    SHMI: Son, my place is here. My future is here. It is time for you to let go.

    ANAKIN: I don't want things to change.

    All of the coming of age characters experience loss. It's the weak part of growing up. But Anakin struggles most with it. His coming of age journey begins in The Phantom Menace and continues through the next two films, and his fear of loss and change drive him toward his fate.

    PADMÉ: I will not defer. I've come before you to resolve this attack on our sovereignty now. I was not elected to watch my people suffer and die while you discuss this invasion in a committee. If this body is not capable of action, I suggest new leadership is needed. I move for a vote of no confidence in Chancellor Valorum's leadership.
    [Calls to vote now.]

    PALPATINE: Now they will elect a new chancellor, a strong chancellor, one who will not let our tragedy continue.

    Padmé is growing wiser and more worldly, but she hasn't grown enough to see through Palpatine's trickery. Using Padmé's naïveté to his advantage, Palpatine convinces her to remove the one roadblock to his becoming head of state, Chancellor Valorum. Seriously, that last line could have only been more obviously bad guy if it came with a mustache twirl

    PADMÉ: The Trade Federation has destroyed all that we have worked so hard to build. If we do not act quickly, all will be lost forever. I ask you to help us. [Genuflects.] No, I beg you to help us. We are your humble servants. Our fate is in your hands.

    Padmé does come of age, growing into a more effective leader throughout the film. Here, she brokers peace with the Gungans and comes into her queenly role, strategizing the counterassault to take back her planet.

    YODA: Confer on you the level of Jedi Knight the council does. But agree with your taking this boy as your Padawan learner I do not.

    OBI-WAN: Qui-Gon believed in him.

    YODA: [Sighs.] The chosen one the boy may be. Nevertheless, grave danger I fear in his training.

    OBI-WAN: Master Yoda, I gave Qui-Gon my word. I will train Anakin.

    Obi-Wan also comes of age and becomes a Jedi knight. Having grown in this film, he takes on the role of the teacher, one he will assume for the remainder of the series. By the time he takes Luke as a student, he's obviously had more practice.

  • Memory and the Past

    OBI-WAN: But Master Yoda said I should be mindful of the future.

    QUI-GON: But not at the expense of the moment. Be mindful of the living Force, young Padawan.

    OBI-WAN: Yes, Master.

    Qui-Gon thinks he's giving his young Padawan good advice. But during this scene, the voices of a thousand moviegoers suddenly cried out in terror, "No, the future's a wreck! You should totally pay attention to it!"

    GUNRAY: My lord, is that legal?

    SIDIOUS: I will make it legal.

    GUNRAY: And the Jedi?

    SIDIOUS: The chancellor should never have brought them into this. Kill them immediately.

    It is pretty obvious how a senator could become an emperor here. Palpatine, disguised as Sidious, wants absolute power, a prerequisite for an effective tyrant. He deems himself worthy of making the laws and deciding who should live and die.

    BIBBLE: How will you explain this invasion to the Senate?

    GUNRAY: The Queen and I will sign a treaty that will legitimize our occupation here. I have assurances it will be ratified by the Senate.

    SEBE [as Queen]: I will not cooperate.

    GUNRAY: Now, now, your highness. In time, the suffering of your people will persuade you to see our point of view. Commander.

    Padmé's story parallels her daughter's. In A New Hope, Princess Leia was captured so a villainous military could extract what they wanted from her, and the same is happening here. Thanks to some generational girl-power, we see Padmé reflected in her daughter, as neither woman is willing to submit to her captors.

    ANAKIN: Are you an angel?

    PADMÉ: What?

    ANAKIN: An angel. I heard the deep space pilots talk about them. They're the most beautiful creatures in the universe. They live on the moons of Iego, I think.

    PADMÉ: You're a funny little boy. How do you know so much?

    ANAKIN: I listen to all the traders and star pilots who come through here. I'm a pilot, you know, and someday I'm gonna fly away from this place.

    Just like Leia and Padmé, Anakin and his future son, Luke, share similar origins and goals. Both live on Tatooine but have dreams they will escape thanks to their skills as pilots.

    ANAKIN: He's a protocol droid to help mom. Watch.

    C-3P0: Oh. Oh. Uh—Where is everybody?

    ANAKIN: Whoops. Yeah.

    C-3P0: Oh, hello. I am C-3P0, human-cyborg relations. How might I serve you?

    Here, we learn that Anakin Skywalker built C-3P0, um… yeah. Let's just move on.

    KI-ADI-MUNCI: Your thoughts dwell on your mother.

    ANAKIN: I miss her.

    YODA: Mmm. Afraid to lose her, I think, mmm?

    ANAKIN: What has that got to do with anything?

    YODA: Everything. Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.

    Returning to the Anakin/Luke parallels, we see how each character treaded similar paths but to different fates. Both experienced loss, fear, and anger in their quests to become a Jedi knight. The difference is that Luke learns to conquer his fears and sadness while Anakin does not.

    OBI-WAN: It's not disrespect, Master. It's the truth.

    QUI-GON: From your point of view.

    OBI-WAN: The boy is dangerous. They all sense it. Why can't you?

    QUI-GON: His fate is uncertain. He's not dangerous.

    Fans of Star Wars will recognize that Obi-Wan drops that "truth from a certain point of view" line on Luke in Return of the Jedi. The scene is showing us how Qui-Gon's teachings had an impact on Obi-Wan and his own worldview.

    QUI-GON: Obi-Wan. Promise—Promise me you'll train the boy.

    OBI-WAN: Yes, Master.

    QUI-GON: He is the chosen one. He will bring balance. Train him.

    Obi-Wan assumes Qui-Gon's defiance, which leads him to train Anakin to bad results. But it also leads him to push Yoda to accept Luke as his apprentice in Empire (to much better results). Also, Qui-Gon's belief that Anakin will bring balance to the Force does come true. Anakin just took a very roundabout, very murderous way to it.

  • Politics

    Turmoil has engulfed the Galactic Republic. The taxation of trade routes to outlying star systems is in dispute. […]

    While the Congress of the Republic endlessly debates this alarming chain of events, the Supreme Chancellor has secretly dispatched two Jedi Knights, the guardians of peace and justice in the galaxy, to settle the conflict….

    The opening crawl firmly establishes the importance politics will play in The Phantom Menace and, as we'll see, the prequels as a whole. It frontlines the political maneuverings in the galaxy far more than the original film, which can summed up as "Empire vs. Rebels. Round 1. Fight!"

    SIDIOUS: This turn of events is unfortunate. We must accelerate our plans. Begin landing your troops.

    GUNRAY: My lord, is that legal?

    SIDIOUS: I will make it legal.

    Sidious is a villain for numerous reasons, not the least of which is penchant for murder and Halloween fashion sense. Yet his most villainous aspect might be his disregard for the political system and its laws designed to protect the people. He believes the law should be under his control. Until then, it's more of a nuisance than anything.

    AMIDALA: The Federation would not dare go that far.

    PANAKA: The Senate would revoke their trade franchise and they'd be finished.

    AMIDALA: We must continue to rely on negotiations.

    BIBBLE: Negotiation? We've lost all communications. And where are the Chancellor's ambassadors?

    At this point, Padmé believes in the due process of law and the political system. She sticks to negotiations and believes her opponent will do the same because that's what is required of them. Only Bibble, who looks like he's seen some politicking in his day, knows what's coming.

    BOSS NASS: Wesa no carrre-nn about da Naboo.

    QUI-GON: Then speed us on our way.

    BOSS NASS: Wesa ganna speed yous away.

    QUI-GON: We could use a transport.

    BOSS NASS: Wesa give yousa una bongo.

    Interestingly, one quality Qui-Gon shares with the antagonist, Sidious, is his willingness to go outside the political system to get what he wants. Here, we see him manipulating the leader of the Gungans with his mind trick, and we'll see his defiance against authority again later when he announces he'll train Anakin regardless of what the Jedi Council says.

    PADMÉ: I can't believe there's still slavery in the galaxy. The Republic's antislavery laws—

    SHMI: The Republic doesn't exist out here. We must survive on our own.

    What makes Tatooine such an awful place to live isn't the crime, sandstorms, dangerous wildlife, or risk of dehydration…. okay, those things, too, but the main reason the place is so dangerous is because it lacks a government. Contrasting the democracy of the Republic, Tatooine is ruled by the gangster Hutts, who has allowed anarchistic, outlaw justice to rule.

    PALPATINE: There is no civility, only politics. The Republic is not what it once was. The Senate is full of greedy, squabbling delegates. There is no interest in the common good. I must be frank, Your Majesty. There is little chance the Senate will act on the invasion.

    PADMÉ: Chancellor Valorum seems to think there is hope.

    PALPATINE: If I may say so, Your Majesty, the chancellor has little real power. He is mired by baseless accusations of corruption. The bureaucrats are in charge now.

    And like any good liar, Palpatine's story infuses just enough truth to help it go down smooth. Yes, politicians are greedy squabblers, but they also have the needs and rights of their constituents to consider. Yes, the chancellor lacks authoritative power, but that's by design, ensuring one person isn't able to force the majority to his will. Granted, that's bad news for Padmé's cause, but the alternative, as we shall see in the later films, is far worse.

    PADMÉ: The Trade Federation has destroyed all that we have worked so hard to build. If we do not act quickly, all will be lost forever. I ask you to help us. [Genuflects.] No, I beg you to help us. We are your humble servants. Our fate is in your hands.

    BOSS NASS: [Laughs.] Yousa no tinken yousa greater den da Gungans? Me-e-esa like dis! Maybe wesa bein friends.

    Despite Padmé's misgivings about the Republic's political system, it is ultimately politics that win the day. By setting aside their differences, forging an alliance, and working cooperatively toward a goal that will benefit all, the Gungans and Nubians are able to thwart the Trade Federation's invasion and restore sovereignty to their people.

  • Greed

    Hoping to resolve the matter with a blockade of deadly battleships, the greedy Trade Federation has stopped all shipping to the small planet of Naboo.

    We don't know much about Viceroy Gunray. We don't know the specifics of his problem with the trade tax or what Lord Sidious promised him that made him think, "Yeah, the guy talks like a demon must be on the up-and-up." All we know we get from the opening crawl: He's greedy. This drives him to make some ultra-poor decisions.

    QUI-GON: Battle droids.

    OBI-WAN: It's an invasion army.

    QUI-GON: This is an odd play for the Trade Federation. We've got to warn the Naboo and contact Chancellor Valorum. Let's split up. Stow aboard separate ships and meet down on the planet.

    This battle isn't Qui-Gon's fight, so his decision to warn the Naboo is altruistic of him. We imagine he could have easily stolen a ship and saved his own butt. Although if he's going down with the invasion army, how much forewarning can he possibly give the Naboo? A minute? Two, tops?

    BOSS NASS: Wesa no like da Naboo. Tkk-tkk-tkk-tkk-tkk-tkk-tkk. Da Naboo tink day so smarty. Day tink day brains so big.

    OBI-WAN: Once those droids take control of the surface, they will take control of you.

    BOSS NASS: Mesa no tink so. Day not know of uss-en.

    OBI-WAN: You and the Naboo form a symbiont circle. What happens to one of you will affect the other. You must understand this.

    BOSS NASS: Wesa no carrre-nn about da Naboo.

    Boss Nass only considers the needs of his own people, neglecting the Naboo due to his distrust. While not as greedy as Sidious or Gunray, Boss Nass lacks the compassion of characters like Obi-Wan, and he'll pay for it when the droid army is finished occupying the Naboo.

    MAUL: At last we will reveal ourselves to the Jedi. At last we will have revenge.

    We get three lines out of Darth Maul, but that's all we need to know this is a greedy character. Unlike justice, which seeks to punish under the law for deterrence and social benefit, revenge enacts punishment outside the law in order to benefit oneself alone.

    QUI-GON: You should be very proud of your son. He gives without any thought of reward.

    SHMI: Well, he knows nothing of greed. He has a—

    QUI-GON: He has special powers.

    SHMI: Yes.

    Anakin knows nothing of greed, and so he joins the side of the heroes. Done and done. Sure, you can argue that he was racing to win his own freedom, but he didn't know about Qui-Gon's backroom betting. For all he knew, he'd do all the work and others would reap the rewards.

    WATTO: Don't get me wrong, no. I have great faith in the boy. He's a credit to your race, but, uh, Sebulba there is going to win, I think.

    QUI-GON: Why do you think that?

    WATTO: He always wins! [Laughing.] I am betting heavily on Sebulba.

    QUI-GON: I'll take that bet.

    WATTO: You what?

    QUI-GON: I'll wager my new racing pod against, say, the boy and his mother.

    Watto is super greedy. Crazy greedy. So greedy that it's a detriment to his wellbeing. In the original bet, Watto would win regardless of the race's outcome: he'd get the prize money if Anakin won or the Nubian cruiser if he didn't. But he wants more, more, and, better still, even more. This leads him to bet heavily on Sebulba, and he loses everything when Anakin takes home the cup.

    ANAKIN: You're coming with us, aren't you, Mom?

    SHMI: Son, my place is here. My future is here. It is time for you to let go.

    ANAKIN: I don't want things to change.

    SHMI: But you can't stop the change any more than you can stop the suns from setting.

    There is a greedy streak in Anakin, but it isn't for wealth or material possessions. Anakin fears change and losing loved ones, and he selfishly clings to those close to him. It's a type of avarice that we can all relate to, and Anakin's inability to overcome it will ultimately lead him to become Darth Vader.

    PALPATINE: I feel confident our situation will create a strong sympathy vote for us. I will be chancellor.

    PADMÉ: I fear by the time you have control of the bureaucrats, Senator, there'll be nothing left of our people, our way of life.

    Palpatine and Padmé are the yin and yang of the political world in Star Wars. Palpatine uses politics to increase his status and power in the universe, whereas Padmé uses her political power to help those in need. By the end of the prequel trilogy, Palpatine becomes emperor of the galaxy and Padmé dies… wait, what is the moral of these films again?