- "This is my decoy, my protection… my loyal bodyguard."
- ―Padmé Amidala, to Boss Nass
Sabé (pronounced /sɑ'beɪ/) was a Human female who served as a loyal handmaiden to Queen Padmé Amidala during her reign as Monarch of Naboo. A native of Naboo, Sabé was handpicked by Captain Panaka of the Royal Naboo Security Forces shortly after Amidala's coronation, due to her strong resemblance to the new queen. Along with the other handmaidens, Sabé was trained to serve as both an attendant and a bodyguard, and as the most important of her group, she was chosen to be the first in line to take the queen's place in times of crisis, as a decoy. Together with Amidala, Sabé perfected her act as queen, learning to mimic the monarch accurately.
Sabé was required to step into the role during the Invasion of Naboo in 32 BBY. When the Trade Federation subjugated the capital city of Theed, the handmaiden donned one of the queen's gowns, while Amidala took Sabé's role, using concealed gestures and signals to communicate. Before they were taken into Federation custody, Sabé and her "retinue" were rescued by the Jedi Knights Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi. In attempting to flee Naboo in the queen's J-type 327 Nubian royal starship, the group was forced to make a detour to Tatooine in order to repair the craft before journeying to Coruscant.
Once on Coruscant, Amidala attempted to reason with the Galactic Senate, and hoped to receive aid to help remove the Federation from Naboo. No such help came her way, however, and she was forced to take matters into her own hands. Sabé once again took on the role of the queen in an attempt to persuade the Gungans to help fight the Federation. Sabé's attempts failed, forcing the real Amidala to reveal her identity. The revelation impressed the Gungan leader, Boss Rugor Nass, and he agreed to aid the Naboo. Sabé then participated in the Battle of Naboo, helping to defeat the Federation and free her planet.
- "We will fight to protect our Queen."
- ―Sabé to Padmé Naberrie, unaware of the latter's true identity
Sabé was a handmaiden in the service of Padmé Amidala, Queen of Naboo. Amidala's head of security, Captain Panaka, handpicked Sabé and the other handmaidens following the queen's coronation and had them trained in gymnastics, hand-to-hand combat and small arms handling. Despite their ability to serve as bodyguards, the handmaidens would also serve Amidala on a more personal level, tending to her outfits and hairstyles.
Thinking ahead, Panaka devised a scheme to ensure the queen's safety in times of crisis. Sabé, who bore a striking resemblance to Amidala, would adopt the role of the queen, while Amidala herself would pose as a handmaiden. The pair developed a set of signals they would use, while in disguise, to convey messages without arousing suspicion. The queen would give her dialect lessons to aid her mimicry, but Sabé was always afraid that she would give away the ruse. Though Sabé was usually first in line to play the role of "false queen," the other handmaidens could also fill the position if needs be. Due to her role as Amidala's decoy, Sabé was considered to be the most important of the queen's bodyguards. During her time as a handmaiden, Sabé became close friends with Amidala.
The handmaidens would constantly train at a secret compound set up by Panaka, located just outside Theed. There, they would hone their marksmanship under the captain's supervision. The training area included an obstacle course that the handmaidens had to navigate while constantly being harried by a floating training droid. One day, the handmaidens were joined by a newcomer, named Padmé. Yané and Eirtaé successfully completed the course that day, but Rabé encountered some potentially fatal difficulties. Hit in the arm by the training droid's non-lethal blaster fire, Rabé returned fire, but even a direct hit was unable to down the droid. Padmé and Sabé also opened fire on the training device, to no avail. The duo quickly realized that something had gone amiss with the droid, and it pursued the fleeing Rabé to a nearby waterfall while Yané went to alert the compound's droid control.
While Rabé waited on the treacherous footing near the waterfall, Sabé, acting quickly, fired a cable at a nearby branch. Padmé swung from the cable, lashing out at the training droid and knocking it wildly off course. She then retrieved the injured Rabé from her dangerous position. When everyone was safe, Padmé revealed that she was in fact the queen, and in doing so she assured her handmaidens that their loyalty to her was returned in kind.
The occupation of Naboo
- "I will not cooperate."
- ―Sabé, as the queen
In 32 BBY, the forces of the Trade Federation invaded Naboo as a part of their protest of the taxation of trade routes. Knowing that the queen would be in danger, Captain Panaka initiated his scheme to ensure the safety of Amidala. Sabé, due to her close resemblance to Amidala, took on her guise, while Amidala adopted handmaiden attire and used her birth name of "Padmé Naberrie". Before the ruse could be completed, however, it was discovered that the queen's amulet had gone missing. Sabé helped Amidala locate the object in a nearby meadow, allowing her costume to be completed.
Sabé was able to fool Trade Federation Viceroy Nute Gunray, although she did not have to keep up the ruse for long. Two Jedi Knights, Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi, rescued "Amidala" and her retinue from the Federation's forces. Jinn, fearful that the Federation might harm the queen, insisted that she journey to Coruscant to put her case before the Galactic Senate. By giving advice to her decoy in her role as handmaiden, Amidala was able to acknowledge the decision without arousing the suspicion of the Jedi, and Sabé agreed with Jinn. As they left Naboo in the queen's unarmed starship, they sustained heavy fire from the Federation blockade that surrounded the planet. Though they were able to safely make it out of the system, the starship's hyperdrive was critically damaged. Kenobi was able to locate a nearby planet without Trade Federation presence, Tatooine, where the group of fugitives would be able to purchase the repairs needed. Using Sabé as her proxy, Amidala agreed to the plan. The astromech droid that had made the speedy but temporary repairs that had allowed the ship to escape the blockade, R2-D2, was commended by Sabé, who then "ordered" Amidala to clean him up.
Upon landing on the desert planet, Amidala herself set out for Mos Espa, a nearby city, with Jinn, the Gungan Jar Jar Binks, and R2-D2. While they were absent, Sabé received a message from Governor Sio Bibble, pleading her to contact him on Naboo. Kenobi cautioned against this, a warning Sabé heeded. At any rate, she could not act without Amidala's authority, but Sabé still found the situation she was in to be highly taxing. While laying in wait, Sabé (still in the guise of Queen Amidala) was captured by Tusken Raiders. Obi-Wan successfully rescued her, returning her safely to the ship while awaiting their companions' return. After several days, Amidala and Jinn were able to secure the parts, and the group set off for Coruscant.
Arriving at the capital, Sabé again swapped identities with Amidala, allowing the real queen to deal with the critical political maneuvering that was sure to take place. This allowed Sabé to take a break from her stressful role, although the respite was short-lived. Amidala was unsuccessful in her mission, and she decided to return to Naboo and take matters into her own hands.
The Battle of Naboo
- "Viceroy! Your occupation here has ended."
On returning, Amidala and Sabé once more switched places due to the dangerous nature of the queen's plan. Queen Amidala had decided to make peace with the Gungans and persuade them to use their army to aid in the liberation of Naboo. Sabé, in her guise as Amidala, went before Boss Rugor Nass and pleaded with him to join their cause. When Amidala saw that this was not working, she revealed her identity as a token of trust. Nass was initially taken aback by this move, then amused, and agreed to help the Naboo. Sabé was to continue to assume the role of the queen in the Battle of Naboo, although she would fight alongside Amidala herself. During the battle, she met up with some members of the Naboo Underground, and ordered them to provide a diversion as she and her compatriots made their way into the Theed Hangar, so that the Naboo pilots would be able to launch in their fighters without too much difficulty.
As they battled their way through the Theed Royal Palace, Panaka came up with the idea of using ascension guns to scale up the outside walls of the building. While Amidala and Panaka did this, Sabé continued to fight the long way through the enormous halls of the palace, eventually reaching the throne room. When she got there, she found that Amidala and Panaka had been captured. Sabé, still in her royal attire, shouted out that the Federation's occupation had ended before destroying two battle droids with her blaster. Viceroy Gunray, under the impression that she was the real queen, sent several other droids after her, but the distraction allowed Amidala to retrieve the weapons hidden in the arm of the throne itself. Amidala and Panaka destroyed the few remaining droid guards, sealed the throne room from the inside, and captured the Viceroy. Thanks to Sabé and Amidala's efforts, amongst those of many others, the battle was won, and Naboo was freed. Following the battle, after the funeral of Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn, who had been struck down in combat, Sabé again contacted elements of the Naboo Underground, and had them investigate Savor Kibbs, the leader of a new renegade movement of Humans and Gungans. The underground members eventually did battle with Kibbs in Naboo's swamps.
- Skywalker: "In fact, I'm pretty sure it's… Amidala's decoys—Sabé—and Eritaé. [sic]"
- Eirtaé: "Actually, I'm Eritaé! [sic]"
- Sabé: "And I'm Sabé!"
- ―Anakin Skywalker is unable to distinguish between Sabé and Eirtaé[src]
In 22 BBY during the Clone Wars, the Jedi High Council discovered that the Confederacy of Independent Systems had paid several outlaws on Coruscant to kidnap Amidala before a crucial speech in the Senate. In an effort to draw out the kidnappers, the Jedi hid Amidala in a safe location and allowed Sabé and Eirtaé to be captured instead. The Council then sent Anakin Skywalker—now a Jedi Knight and secretly Amidala's husband—to rescue the senator; Skywalker was not aware of the exchange that had occurred. Skywalker successfully tracked down the kidnappers and subdued them. He released Amidala's decoys, but did not like the fact that he had not been told the truth about the Jedi Council's plans.
After the conclusion of the Clone Wars, Sabé continued to serve the eventual successor to Amidala in the Imperial Senate—Jar Jar Binks. She remained suspicious of the circumstances of Amidala's death, joining forces with Bail Organa, ally of the late queen. In her service to the House of Organa, Sabé was employed as an envoy to establish resistance cells across the galaxy, gather and spread information, and handle the distribution of matériel to said rebel groups. Sabé also had the opportunity to interact with young Princess Leia Organa and her friend Winter. Sabé tutored the girls; Organa in matters of court etiquette and diplomacy, and Winter in security and bodyguard tactics. These skills would later greatly serve both as agents of the Alliance to Restore the Republic.
Personality and traits
- "I never knew that a Jedi could be so rude."
Sabé was an extremely talented impersonator, fooling many in her act as Amidala. The ruse was not only successful due to her physical similarity to Amidala, but also to her skilled mimicry of Amidala's voice and mannerisms. Sabé was taught how to echo Amidala's gait by the queen herself. She was also a skilled combatant, fighting Federation droids at the Battle of Naboo. A crack shot with an ELG-3A blaster pistol, she managed to take off a droid's head with a single shot. Although no harm ever befell her, Sabé was usually in great danger when disguised as the queen. She accepted this role dutifully, however.
Sharp and calculating, Sabé became a close friend of Amidala during her time as a handmaiden, devising a set of hand signals that would enable communications between the two when playing their switched roles. Although she was adept in the role, Sabé would worry about ruining the deception with one slip of the tongue, and she found playing the part to be extremely stressful during the Invasion of Naboo, since she was effectively barred from making any actions whatsoever without Amidala's approval. In addition to her skills as a bodyguard, Sabé could speak Gunganese, Huttese, Twi'leki, and could understand Shyriiwook.
Behind the scenes
The scenes with Sabé were filmed in and around the vicinity of Leavesden Studios in southern England in August 1997, two years before the official release of The Phantom Menace in 1999. At the time of filming, Knightley (born 26 March 1985) was twelve years old and The Phantom Menace became her second feature film, and her first "Hollywood" motion picture.
The role of Sabé was originally going to be filled by a stand-in, until casting director Robin Gurland came across Knightley, who bore a striking resemblance to Natalie Portman, the actress playing the role of Padmé Amidala in the film. Knightley's role was kept quiet by The Phantom Menace's marketing department in order to heighten the surprise of there being a decoy queen when the film was released.
The queen's costumes were specifically designed to hide any height and shape differences between Knightley and Portman, so much in fact that even Portman's mother could not distinguish between the two on set. Knightley can be seen out of character and standing in for Natalie Portman at a costume fitting segment in 'The Beginning': Making Star Wars Episode I', an hour long behind-the-scenes DVD bonus disc documentary which accompanied the DVD release of the film.
Keira Knightley is credited as "Kiera Knightley" in the end credits of The Phantom Menace, which is the usual and traditional Anglo-Irish spelling of the Kiera name.
In the video game adaptation of The Phantom Menace, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Sabé, disguised as the queen, are separated from everyone else while fleeing Theed. Together, they venture through the war-torn city and find their way back to the group, although this does not correspond with events in the actual film.
- Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds (Mentioned only)
- Darth Plagueis (Indirect mention only)
- Darth Plagueis audiobook (Indirect mention only)
- Queen in Disguise
- Cloak of Deception (Indirect appearance)
- A Queen's Diary
- The Queen's Amulet
- Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace novelization (First appearance)
- Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace unabridged audiobook
- Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace / comic / junior novel / video game / script facsimile / Illustrated Screenplay / PhotoComic / Book-and-Record
- Star Wars Episode I Journal: Anakin Skywalker
- Star Wars Episode I Journal: Queen Amidala
- Star Wars Episode I: I Am a Queen
- Episode I Adventures 13: Danger on Naboo
- Star Wars Adventures 11: Danger on Naboo
- Episode I Adventures 15: The Final Battle
- Star Wars Adventures 13: The Final Battle
- Episode I: Obi-Wan Kenobi (In flashback(s))
- Star Wars: Obi-Wan (Indirect appearance)
- "In Triplicate"—Star Wars: The Clone Wars Comic UK 6.3
Notes and references
- Star Wars: Head-to-Head Tag Teams
- Queen in Disguise
- Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace
- The Force Unleashed Campaign Guide
- The Official Star Wars Fact File
- Star Wars: Episode I The Visual Dictionary
- The Queen's Amulet
- Star Wars: Obi-Wan
- Star Wars: Invasion of Theed Adventure Game
- "In Triplicate"—Star Wars: The Clone Wars Comic UK 6.3
- Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace video game
- "Appearing Knightley (and the Women of Star Wars)" – Star Wars Insider 75