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"It's an artists' retreat, a place for creative outcasts to live together and think deep thoughts. There's a poet there, a man named Omar Berenko. Supposed to be briliant."
Elzar Mann speaks of Varykino to Avar Kriss[src]

Varykino was the name of an island and villa located in Naboo's Lake Country. The isolated estate was owned by the royal government and was used as a private refuge from the planet's capital Theed by several renowned members of the Naboo people, including Omar Berenko, a poet who occupied the villa centuries before the Invasion of Naboo.

By the time of the Fall of the Republic the estate was maintained by the Naberrie family, offering Padmé Naberrie a secluded safe haven that she visited throughout her career as both the planet's Queen and senator. During the Separatist Crisis, Amidala hid away at Varykino with her Jedi protector Anakin Skywalker to escape an assassination plot. The two fell in love with each other during their time together and later married at the estate following the outbreak of the Clone Wars.

By the time of the Galactic Civil War, the grounds had been abandoned and entered a state of disrepair. Varykino became a meeting place for the Amidalans, a group dedicated to avenging the death of the late Senator Amidala. In 3 ABY, the Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Vader, formerly Anakin Skywalker, returned to Varykino alongside Sabé, the handmaiden of Padmé and the leader of the Amidalans. They met with former Royal Security officers Gregar Typho and Tonra before leaving the estate in a Gungan bongo submarine.

Description[edit | edit source]

Varykino at sunset

Varykino was located in the Lake Country, one of Naboo’s most remote regions. The area was sealed off from the planet’s waterways, protecting the estate from attacks by the various sea monsters that were native to the world.[3] On one side of the villa a set of steps led to a private beach,[4] and across the waters of the lake was a smaller island that was home to a variety of birds.[1] On the other side of the structure was a water gate and dock that were connected to the main retreat by a series of steep stairs.

The building itself was made of a yellow rock and had red roofs topped with copper-green domes. The rooms of the villa were linked by both wide marble hallways and outdoor gardens. Notable areas of the house included a throne room that visiting royalty could receive guests in,[4] as well as the Room of Morning Mists, an open air veranda that overlooked the lake.[1] The estate kept several Berenko-class gondola speeders in service for transport across the waters.[6]

History[edit | edit source]

"I was thinking I would stay in the Lake Country. There are some places up there that are very isolated."
―Padmé Amidala[src]

The Padawan Anakin Skywalker meditates at Varykino.

Centuries before the Clone Wars, the tragic poet Omar Berenko called Varykino his home. He lived on the island in a community of Naboo and Gungan outsiders that was considered unconventional for its time. Berenko wrote some of his greatest works at the villa, including the disturbing epic, Defense of Naboo. The controversial artist resided at Varykino until he was kidnapped by a group of assailants on the estate's terrace and never seen again.[3] During the High Republic Era, the San Tekka clan owned a nearby compound with a lanai from which Varykino was visible. While visiting the San Tekkas, Jedi Master Avar Kriss noticed the island, and Jedi Knight Elzar Mann told her about the artists who lived there, including Berenko.[7]

At some point the villa came to be owned by the Royal House of Naboo,[4] and by the time of the Fall of the Republic, Varykino was maintained as a vacation home by the prosperous Naberrie family; the young woman Padmé Naberrie often spent summers there before being elected Queen of Naboo and taking the name "Amidala."[2] At the end of her term in 28 BBY[8] as monarch of the planet, Amidala spent two weeks at the villa with her handmaidens to take time away from the capital city, Theed. She was surprised by the arrival of Supreme Chancellor Sheev Palpatine, who had come unexpectedly to inquire on Amidala's future. After Palpatine's departure, Amidala held a dinner for her companions on the villa's terrace where she received word that the people had elected the former Queen Réillata as her successor.[4]

Amidala and Skywalker's wedding took place on Varykino's terrace.

In 22 BBY,[9] Amidala, now a senator of the Galactic Republic, returned to Naboo after an attempt on her life on Coruscant. Accompanied by the Jedi Padawan Anakin Skywalker, she traveled to Varykino, trusting that the secluded retreat would protect her from assassins. After being welcomed by the old caretaker Paddy Accu, Amidala recounted Skywalker with stories of the villa from her childhood. The two fell in love during their stay on the island, but agreed that a romance between them would jeopardize them both. When Skywalker began experiencing visions of the death of his mother, Shmi, Amidala agreed to leave Varykino to seek her out on Tatooine. Following the First Battle of Geonosis and the beginning of the Clone Wars, the two returned to Varykino and secretly married, with the only witnesses being the droids R2-D2 and C-3PO.[1]

The marriage between the young lovers was destined to fail, however. After being turned to the dark side of the Force by Darth Sidious, Skywalker became Darth Vader and inadvertently killed Amidala.[10] Vader went on to despise his past and was haunted by memories of Padmé, including those they shared at Varykino. While unsuccessfully attempting to resurrect his wife on Mustafar[11] in 12 BBY,[12] Vader witnessed their wedding at the lake retreat through the Force.[11]

Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]

The Varykino scenes were filmed at Villa del Balbianello, on Lake Como, Italy.[13] The interiors, which were sets constructed on a soundstage, were inspired by the basic architecture found in Caserta, where Theed was filmed, but mixed with a softer, personalized style.[14]

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Sources[edit | edit source]

Notes and references[edit | edit source]

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