Star Wars
According To Jack

Episode I
The Phantom Menace

Scene 27: Return of the Queen

Captain Panaka crawls up into the throne room blaster first. The chamber remains as it was when the Queen was attacked--whitewashed walls, clear plastic steps, a blank screen waiting for a projection. Finding the way clear, he helps Padme up.

She sees before he does.

"Captain, look out!"

It's too late. The blaster shot hits him in the head, and he collapses.


"Yessssss!" hisses Viceroy Newt Gunray. "Time to finissh what we ssstarted, Queen Amidala!"

Keeping his blaster pointed at Padme, he walks over and kicks Panaka's blaster far away from the Captain's limp hand. "On your kneesssss! Handsss behind your back!" Padme complies.

"You'll never get away with this!" she says, glowering at her captor as he binds her hands. He pulls her close, face to face with his blaster digging into her jaw. She can smell his sour venomous breath.

"Lisssten to me, Amidala!" he hisses. "You're lucky to be alive. I killed you onccce, I can do it again. Now you mussst decccide. If you help me, I may let you live."

"I'll never help you, you snake! I'll give my life for my people!"

"Really?" Newt begins to pace, delivering his evil monologue. "You are one of the oldessst creaturesss in the galaxy. After ten millennia of life, are you really prepared to die? Have you ever been prepared to die? I'm thinking no. I'm thinking an immortal ssssuch as yourssself would give up all elssse to avoid death. Am I wrong?" She says nothing, so he continues. "You came here today for sssomething. A sssecret weapon. What isss it?"

"The...throne..." Padme speaks softly, eyes on the floor in shame.

"I ssssee no throne."

"I have to ascend the steps," she whispers. "It will rise to greet me."

The Viceroy grabs her roughly by the arm and drags her up the steps of the dais. When they reach the peak, there is a mechanical clank and whir as the room recognizes her. The harsh lights fade, and majestic galaxies whirl to life around them. Newt looks down, and it seems he is standing on nothing but air. Terrified, he presses his blaster against Padme's skull.

"Thisss better not be a trick! I will kill you where you ssstand, and you can die where your sssissstersss did!"

"No! No!" Padme whimpers. "See, the throne!"

Near them floats a steel chair with a high back, simple and sturdy in design, without any of the ornamentation that one typically finds from the Naboo. It is a chair with a purpose.

"It will work for anybody," says Padme. "It's a neural amplifier."

"Ssssso! That'sss how you do it! That'sss how you control thisss world! Ssssit on your throne and dominate the mindsss of an entire planet!" Newt laughs. "Why you devioussss bitch! Of courssse the people love you! You give them no choiccce!"

Padme keeps her eyes downcast and her voice small. "That's not quite how it works, Viceroy."

But the Viceroy pays her no mind; his attention is absorbed by the throne. He walks toward it with delight.

"And now, the people ssshall love ME!"

He casts one more dubious look at Padme, making it clear that he's not taking his blaster sights off her, and then he seats himself on the Throne of Naboo.


Below them, Obi-Wan shuffles up a ramp, arms wrapped around broken ribs. The tubes of lucasite reaching below and above him begin to spark and pulse with a preternatural hum.

"I knew it!" smiles Obi-Wan. "That genius of a goddess did it!"

The tubes flare, sending a wave of energy up toward the throne room.

Obi-Wan grins and sighs through the pain in his chest, "Cool!"


"I can sssee them!" the Viceroy cries out triumphantly. "My godsss, there are ssso many of them!"

His mind reaches out and touches the minds of each and every human born on Naboo. Millions of souls mingle with his own.

And they are all in pain.

Their sorrow, despair and terror grip him, and he feels it all. Children torn apart from their families, ripped from their homes and thrown into dirty concentration camps, watching their loved ones die in public executions carried out by heartless skeletal battle droids. Millions of voices scream out to him, echoing with hopelessness and doubt, crying for him to save them, desperate to see the blood of their oppressors.

"What have I done?" he whispers. "No...I didn't know! I'm ssssorry! It wasssn't me! I couldn't have known! WHAT HAVE I DONE!!!!"

Leaping from the throne, Viceroy Newt Gunray flees for his life, wailing repentance. He bursts through the throne room doors with a bang, his bellows recede, and there is only silence and the spinning of galaxies.

Panaka moans.

"Captain!" Padme stumbles down the stairs and to his side.

"Your Highness," groans the Captain, attempting to sit up. Half of his face is burnt black and red. One eye is gone; the other is wide open and as focused as ever.

"I've got to get you to a medic droid," says Padme.

"No!" Panaka gasps, "No, you've got to sit on that throne!" He reaches out and picks apart the knot tying her wrists.

"Thank you," she says, kissing him tenderly on the lips. "Thank you for everything."

He shuts his remaining eye. "Go! Now!"

Padme runs back up the steps, and Queen Amidala retakes her throne.

Across the planet, millions of scared and frantic citizens hear the soothing yet commanding voice of their eternal mother proclaim, "MY PEOPLE! I HAVE RETURNED!"

"We live! And now we shall destroy those who have invaded the peace of our home! Our Gungan allies have lured the Trade Federation forces away from our cities! Already the Viceroy flees for his life! You need only rise up now, rip apart our droid captors and taste again of freedom! My people! The choice, as always, is yours. WHAT SAY YOU?"

Millions of souls become one in spirit. A world torn apart finds that it is again whole. Hope and courage flood the planet with a force more powerful than any boomer, blaster or lightsaber. Naboo resistance leaders far and wide pull their weapons from hiding and raise them up high, screaming her name.


Their droid guards don't stand a chance.

Next Scene: The Chosen One