Episode I Books
Despite not having a large part in the film, the Handmaidens of Episode I are featured and mentioned quite extensively in several books. The only drawback to all the mentions is several contradictions are made among all the books and with the film.
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The Phantom Menace novelization by Terry Brooks is an expanded version of the film. Not only does it contain cut scenes from the movie, but it also elaborates on those scenes already there. While the "Anakin Can't Count" part is not in the book, Rabé invites the boy to the Senate with them and gives him a viewscreen so he can watch the proceedings from the corridor. During the hanger battle, Sabé is struck by a "glancing blow" from droideka fire, but still stays in the fight. After Amidala's true identity is revealed, she is still refered to as Padmé for the rest of the book.
Memorable Quote: "Captain Panaka and his fighters backed away at once. Then, on command from Qui-Gon, Padmé and her handmaidens gave ground as well, though less quickly and with more reluctance." Yes, the men were afraid of Darth Maul, but our ladieraid of Darth Maul, but our ladies were more than willing to face the Sith Lord.
The Episode I Junior Novelization by Patrcia C. Wrede mentions the handmaidens quite frequently. The decoy plot is revealed to the reader from the beginning. Amidala is only called Padmé during the sections not told from her point of view. Once again, Anakin does not go to the visit the Queen looking for Padmé. This is most likely due to the fact that the scene was added in pick-up shooting very close to the film's release.
Memorable Quote: "Sabé appeared...behind her Amidala could see the ruins of several destroyed droids." That's Sabé dealing with matters and distracting the Viceroy all by hereself without the help of the guards.
Queen Amidala's Journal by Jude Watson is another young adult book. The Journal retells the film entirely from Amidala's perspective, as if she were recording events and observations on an electronic journal. The book begins with the bloackade of Naboo and moves on from there. Since this is told from Amidala's point of view, the decoy plot is explained in detail. It is said that Yané and Saché are left behind because they are the youngest and newest in service. The "Anakin Can't Count" scene is included here, but Rabé doesn't have lines. In this book, Sabé replaces the Queen on the landing platform as they leave Coruscant, which differs from the film. The two switch on board just before Amidala asks for Jar Jar's help. Later, Sabé scales the palace wall with Amidala's group. She then fades away, only to reappear, distract Nute, and flee alone, with six droids on her tail.
Memorable Quote: "The Queen's Handmaidens are an elite group. They aren't servants or pretty decorations for the court. They are chosen for their courage and intelligence. They would give their lives for the Queen and for Naboo. In other words, they aren't there to fetch me glasses of nectar."
The Queen's Amulet by Julianne Balmain is a short, illustrated children's book that takes place the morning of the Trade Federation Invasion. Before the occupation, Amidala realizes she has lost her amulet which was given to her by her father. She recruits Sabé's help, and off they go to search for it in a nearby meadow. After it is found, the two switch places with Amidala giving the handmaiden her amulet to wear to complete the decoy deception. The brief book also comes with a plastic amulet necklace replica.
Memorable Quote: "Amidala was searching her memory so intently, that she did not notice when Sabé, one of her handmaidens, entered the room. The two were as alike as sisters and as fond of each other as friends in any galaxy."
The Queen in Disguise by Monica Kulling is part of the Star Wars Step Into Reading series. This book is aimed at children around age seven, but is exclusively about the handmaidens. Amidala has just been elected Queen, and Panaka has taken her aside to explain the role of her handmaidens. The new Queen decides she wants to secretly train with the others. Padmé arrives at the handmaiden boot camp and sees the other girls competing in an obstacle course and weapons training. A weapon droid malfunctions and attacks Rabé, leaving her injured. Padmé rescues her, and the others realize they have been training with the Queen. The handmaidens here are in action as a fighting unit. However, all five girls look exactly alike; Eirtaé is no longer blonde. Also, the handmaidens are choosen for their intelligence, but they have to be rescued by a Queen they should recognize after working with her before.
Memorable Quote: " 'Watch your handmaidens,' said Captain Panaka. 'They are quick and strong.'" Hey, it is a children's book.
I Am A Queen by Alice Alfonsi is yet another child's book about Amidala. The book is very short and aimed at children just learning to read. Basically, it's a short description of who Amidala is and what is going on around her. The book mostly focuses on Theed and those who work with the Queen. It has photos from the film on every page, several of which feature the handmaidens. The ladies and their duties are described on about four pages. This book claims that Rabé is the youngest of the group.
Memorable Quote: "Each of my handmaidens is a trained bodyguard. In an emergency, they all know how to protect me and themselves."
The Star Wars: Episode I Visual Dictionary by David West Reynolds is a reference book written as if the characters and events of the film were not ficitonal. There are six, full-color pages devoted to Queen Amidala, two of which are entitled "The Queen's Handmaidens". These two pages feature numerous color photographs, including two large shots of Rabé and one large Eirtaé. The Escape from Naboo Gown is shown, but it's Natalie. The text explains the role of the handmaidens, the decoy plot, and costuming details. It also gives background on the Big Three: Sabé, Rabé, and Eirtaé. Sabé is called the most important handmaiden, and apparently plays the decoy with some apprehension. Doesn't want to let anything slip. Rabé soothes Amidala's nerves and fixes her elaborate hairstyles. Eirtaé is from a wealthy family and coaches the others in protocal.
Note of Interest: A diagram of the five hamdaidens in the book is completely mislabeled. All the names, except for Sabé who is dressed as the Queen, are switched. Handmaiden Indentification was still in its infancy when this book was released, so a lot of research had to be done in order to correct the error.
Cloak of Deception by James Luceno is about the circumstances leading up to the Trade Federation's blockade of Naboo and the events of Episode I. King Veruna, Amidala's predecessor, is mentioned several times because of the importance of Naboo to the plot. Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan are the main characters in the novel, but Queen Amidala is finally elected at the end of the book, setting the stage for the opening of the film. After her election, Amidala speaks with Palpatine via a hologram. It mentions that she is not the youngest monarch ever elected, but the most conventional.
Note of Interest: Panaka is described as "humorless-looking". During her discussion with Palpatine, it is obvious from the book's description that Amidala is wearing her red Throne Room Gown. The book also states: "Five handmadiens stood behind her, dressed in hooded burgundy gowns." Luceno apparently didn't know that the yellow handmaiden dress goes with the Throne Room Gown.
The Episode I Graphic Novel is adapted by Henry Gilroy and illustrated by Rodolfo Damaggio and Al Williamson. This softcover comic adaption by Dark Horse follows the same storyline that's in the junior novelization. There are illustrations of the handmaidens in several cases, but mostly in the background. In some instances, the dialogue and scenes have been shortened. However, some cut scenes were added back in. It makes for an interesting read to see visual representations of those scenes.
Note of Interest: One of the cut scenes include a conversation between Amidala and Anakin on the Queen's ship just before they return to Naboo. Amidala and her handmaidens are already dressed for battle, and you can see the ladies in the background, perhaps discussing strategy. Amidala explains to Anakin that "the Queen" has just made a difficult decision to go towar. She says that her people believe in peace and not fighting.
The Episode I Storybook by "George Lucas" is a retelling of the film using full-color photos from the movie on every page. There are several clear photos of the handmaidens, but none of the ladies, with the exception of Sabé, are mentioned by name. Because the story is mostly told through pictures, many scenes are shortened significantly or left out altogether.
Note of Interest: When addressing Boss Nass, "Queen Amidala" speaks in a shaky voice! Sabé looked fairly calm and confident in the film; nerves of steel.
The Episode I Illustrataed Screenplay by George Lucas is the complete screenplay. It includes scenes cut from the final print and those scenes filmed as pick up shots. Since this is the full script, the handmaidens are mentioned many times. During her first communication with Nute, it is said that Amidala is flanked by four handmaidens: Eirtaé, Yané, Rabé, and Saché. Like the official novelization, Amidala is still refered to as Padmé, even after the decoy plot is revealed. Yané and Saché begin to cry when they are left behind!
Note of Interest: Storyboards, drawings to help with pre-production and filming, are included in the book. They show Queen Amidala only has a handful of costumes. The Senate costume is used for the entire first half of the film, worn by both Amidala and Sabé. When they meet with Boss Nass, Sabé is in her battle gown, but the handmaidens are clad in what appears to be the Flame gown. They don't change until later.
The Art of Episode I by Jonathan Bresman contains pre-production art work and concept art by design director Doug Chiang and concept designer Ian McCaig. The book is separated by locations, and the Theed section has many sketches and illustrations of interest. Featured in Theed are the costumes and hairstyles of Queen Amidala and her Handmaidens, as well as artwork of the city and palace. The book discusses different inspirations for the costumes and the orgins of the designs.
Note of Interest: While designing one of Amidala's gowns, McCaig got frustrated and scribbled over the sketch. He liked the pattern that created, and the Escape from Naboo Gown was born.
The Making of Episode I by Laurent Bouzereau and Jody Duncan is an account of the creation and filming of The Phantom Menace. The book has a several shots (both promotional and behind the scenes) of the handmaidens with Amidala, a few mentions of the handmaidens' role, and a cast list. A call sheet from a day of filming is printed in the book. Judging from the actors needed, it is the scene on the landing platform when Amidala's entourage arrives on Coruscant.
Note of Interest: A behind the scenes photograph has tiny Keira Knightley standing next to Silas Carson, who plays Nute Gunray, during rehearsals on the palace staircase. Several men dressed in white flank them; they will be replaced with the battle droids in the final film.
The Secrets of Naboo by Steve Miller and Jo Wiker is an expansion of the Roleplaying Game galaxy. Decoy Sabé and the handmaidens are on the cover, which is always a good sign. However, although the cover and title suggests learning about Naboo secrets, there's only three pages in the entire book devoted to the handmaidens. Some "Republic Intelligence Agents" think the handmaidens may protect the Queen at some points. (They're quick.) The report mentions that Amidala has thirteen handmaidens on duty in the palace at all times, but only five travel with her. Interesting, but this information is found in no other sources.
Note of Interest: She may have thirteen handmaidens, but only the Big Three are mentioned in detail. It's said that Eirtaé is less skilled in martial arts than the others, but is apt at spotting treachery. Rabé excelled in weapons training and other subtle forms of persuasion. The Queen's best friend is Sabé, who is often mistaken for Amidala's sister. It also mentions that Padmé is considered a royal messsenger.
Although some of these items were released several years ago, you may still be able to purchase the majority of them. Your best bet would be to browse your local and online book stores, collector websites, and www.starwars.com.
For more information on Handmaiden Merchandise, please visit our Miscellaneous Handmaiden Merchandise and Dolls and Action Figures sections.
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