One Additional Note About the Invasion of Naboo

On the show Words With Nerds, my pal Craig throws Star Wars “stumper questions” at me. I wanted to revisit and add on to one of my answers.

He asked why the Trade Federation chose to “invade Naboo the way they did and not just pop on the front doorstep” (I’m paraphrasing, forgive me). I reasoned (and maintain) that it’s primarily a stylistic choice on the part of the filmmaker to show the bygone era of war in a “more civilized age” to borrow a term. Additionally, the army was constructed not to destroy Naboo per se, but to provide a psychological advantage over the peaceful Naboo and their pacifist Queen.

Just A Bit Extra

Now here’s where I’ll flesh it out a little bit more since I don’t have Craig attempting to break my concentration, so that he can take a distracted misstatement as proof of his point.

With warships overhead and communications cut off Amidala still wouldn’t sound the alarm and at least get out of dodge. She allowed her principals to dictate that they not fight back. She chose instead to believe in the benevolent power of the Great State (the Republic) to bail her out if need be. The Federation would have known this about her. They counted on it.

In fact, Darth Sidious specifically tells them the Queen won’t be any trouble for them. It’s those pesky Jedi that screw things up.

But even with all this elucidation and further thought I want to add a few more key considerations.

Key Considerations

We see the Trade Federation land ships all over Naboo. There’s many more than one. They are obviously landing a large force, spread over a planetwide area, to pacify an entire planet. Instead of going straight to Theed (the capital city that houses the Queen and seat of government), they obviously work their way to the city from the outlying areas. This serves the purpose of cutting off escape routes and “capturing” cities and settlements as they march to the city. It’s a great campaign (albeit against a bunch of Hippie artist types) where the Federation can basically hold the entire planet hostage and wipe places out as leverage if the Queen stubbornly refuses to surrender for some reason.

There is also the issue of topography. If you note, Theed Palace is set atop a steep drop on all sides save one. So the Trade Federation, unless they wanted to bombard the city, would have simply chosen that path because it was the only way in…or out. They trapped the Queen and made her face the decision of surrender or potentially seeing people in surrounding areas held and killed as hostages.

And the final note to all of this is, the entire pacification of the planet happened in the time it took the Jedi to travel from Otoh Gunga to Theed. That might seem like a long time to someone with a short attention span, but that seems like a pretty quick “war” to me.

Not Cheating

Considering the fact that I did not change my answer, but added to it, this is not a cheat. I even ask in the episode for permission to “answer later” on any items I may have forgotten in my old age. This is my later answer and it still counts since it’s just a “special edition” of my answer.

8 thoughts on “One Additional Note About the Invasion of Naboo

  1. Hmmm, I think I agree with Craig. I see this more as a sign of Lucas’ weak storytelling than an elaborate plan on the TF’s part. But that’s me and I am biased against the prequels, as I’m sure you know 😉


    1. Agreeing with Craig is only occasionally the right thing to do!

      But seriously, calling it “weak storytelling” is a trap I wish non-fans of the PT would avoid. Through all six, style was more important than anything, and the invasion of Naboo speaks to that. In the OT, X-Wings fly in atmosphere (as do Y-Wings) and they’re not aerodynamic at all. 🙂

      My point is, no movie would withstand the sort of “scrutiny” that we like to throw at the ones that are in our personal disfavor. Even The Dark Knight, the most beloved Batman movie of all time, can’t withstand the “logic” tests when you really stop to examine the Joker’s “non-plans.” Heck, I have a friend who rips apart The Dark Knight just because in his world view nothing should ever match his views about the 1989 Batman, and so (unconsciously so far as I can tell) he looks for ways to tear down anything Nolan did so as not to have to reconcile that nostalgia plays a role in his preferences.

      The simple fact is that everyone who harps on the prequels seems to do so because they’re not “what they want” as opposed to them being actual “bad films.” And rejecting the same sort of reasoning that gives Star Trek an “out” for transporters, phasers and all other sorts of nonsense just because you don’t like the final product doesn’t mean it’s “weak storytelling” just that it’s of a type you don’t like.

      At least, that’s my take. Thank you as always for reading and participating! I much prefer engagement to typing in a vacuum! 🙂


      1. Well, its no secret that I didn’t enjoy the PT, but these issues are ones which i wasn’t even aware of until I really began to think about them and realized just how many plot holes the movies had. And it’s true, the OT had plenty of flaws, especially in the third movie. But that’s where Lucas’ tendencies for plot elements that make little sense came from.

        Think about Return of the Jedi, that entire convoluted scheme to get Han out of Jabba’s lair. The whole thing was pointless since they already had people in the palace, and Luke could have brandished his light saber at any time. It’s just that these and other story flaws were overlooked given how popular and memorable we who saw them as kids thought they were.

        As I’ve said many times in my own reviews of the prequels that the seeds of all the problems in the PT were to be found in the original movies. But since Lucas didn’t have the same degree of help he had making the originals, the flaws stood out more. And since we’re not kids anymore, we were able to see them because we don’t have our rose-colored glasses on.

        But of course, you’re right in saying that one can rip apart anything if they try hard enough. And expectations play a big role in that. As the documentarians who made “The People vs. George Lucas” concluded, it was the fact the originals were so beloved by an entire generation of fans that they felt so let down by the new movies. The movies really weren’t that bad, it’s just that fans felt so strongly because their childhood experiences weren’t being lived up to.


        1. The one thing I’ll say in defense of Luke’s plan is, he was being a Jedi. He put people in place because he foresaw the probability of Jabba being a douche, but he kept the peaceful option open until the last moment. Then, I just got another idea for a blog that will expand on my next thought. See? You guys are my muses!


  2. I have a question for you, a task for you to undertake. I was out with my son yesterday, and we were looking at XBOX One games and he said to me “Dad, who do you think would win in a battle between Grimlock and Godzilla?” I said that you did a good Batman/Jango Fett comparison so I thought I would ask you 🙂

    BTW – I think between Boba Fett and Batman, Boba would win. He is not so self centred as his father and doesn’t believe his reputation will get him to win every time.


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