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.
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.
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.