Natalie Portman: Star Wars Prequels Backlash Was ‘A Bummer’

Natalie Portman

by Ben Travis |
Published on

Twenty years ago, the world was whipping itself up in frenzied anticipation of the blockbuster event of the decade: the return of Star Wars. But when Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace and its sequels finally arrived after that long, long wait, they struggled to live up to those expectations, and were far from universally loved. One person in the eye of the storm was Natalie Portman, who played Padmé Amidala – eventual mother of Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa – across all three films, starting at the age of 16. In a career-spanning Empire interview, featured in the current John Wick issue of the magazine, Portman opened up about facing the backlash to some of the most anticipated films of all time.

“It was hard,” she recalls. “It was a bummer because it felt like people were so excited about new ones and then to have people feel disappointed. Also to be at an age that I didn’t really understand that’s kind of the nature of the beast. When something has that much anticipation it can almost only disappoint.”

Star Wars - Padme

Of course, it’s somewhat of a different story now – while not universally beloved, the Star Wars prequel trilogy now very much has its defenders and unashamed fans, a curious but worthwhile era in the overarching saga. “With the perspective of time, it’s been re-evaluated by a lot of people who actually really love them now,” Portman says. “There’s a very avid group of people who think they’re the best ones now! I don’t have enough perspective to weigh in.”

Empire - June 2019 - Natalie Portman

Read the full Natalie Portman interview in Empire’s June issue, on sale now and available to order online here{ =nofollow}, with Portman talking Leon, Black Swan, and her bold, brash turn in arty new pop star drama Vox Lux.

Empire – June 2019 cover – John Wick Chapter 3

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