Padmé Amidala (born Padmé Naberrie) is a fictional character in the Star Wars franchise, appearing in the prequel trilogy portrayed by actress Natalie Portman. She served as the Princess of Theed and later Queen of Naboo. After her reign, she became a senator in the Galactic Senate, an anti-war movement spokesperson, and co-founded the opposition-faction that later emerged as the Rebel Alliance. She was secretly married to the Jedi Anakin Skywalker, the mother of Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa, which makes her the mother-in-law of Han Solo, and the grandmother of Ben Solo.
- 1 Concept and creation
- 2 Appearances
- 2.1 Feature films
- 2.2 Television series
- 3 Family tree
- 4 See also
- 5 References
- 6 Further reading
- 7 External links
Concept and creation
In initial drafts of the Star Wars story, Luke Skywalker's and Princess Leia's mother was not well developed. According to Dale Pollock, Luke Skywalker was originally Luke Starkiller and "Leia is the daughter of Owen Lars and his wife Beru and seems to be Luke's cousin – together they visit the grave of his mother, who perished with his father on a planet destroyed by the Death Star. In an interview, Lucas answered a question about the development of characters like Obi-Wan Kenobi, Luke, and Leia; their mother was not a factor:
The first [version] talked about a princess and an old general. The second version involved a father, his son, and his daughter; the daughter was the heroine of the film. Now the daughter has become Luke, Mark Hamill's character. There was also the story of two brothers where I transformed one of them into a sister. The older brother was imprisoned, and the young sister had to rescue him and bring him back to their dad.
Film historian Laurent Bouzereau reports that the second draft of the Return of the Jedi screenplay contained dialogue in which Obi-Wan Kenobi explains to Luke that he has a twin sister. She and their mother were "sent to the protection of friends in a distant system. The mother died shortly thereafter, and Luke's sister was adopted by Ben's friends, the governor of Alderaan and his wife." Lucas is quoted in Star Wars: The Annotated Scripts (1997) as saying:
The part that I never really developed is the death of Luke and Leia's mother. I had a backstory for her in earlier drafts, but it basically didn't survive. When I got to Jedi, I wanted one of the kids to have some kind of memory of her because she will be a key figure in the new episodes I'm writing. But I really debated whether or not Leia should remember her.
Revenge of the Sith does not explain how Leia remembers her "real mother". Film critic Peter Travers of Rolling Stone applauds Lucas's attempt to link the two trilogies in Revenge of the Sith's final scenes, but says, "It's too little and too late." He explains, "To hail Revenge of the Sith as a satisfying bridge to a classic is not just playing a game of the Emperor's New Clothes, it's an insult to what the original accomplished."
When Lucas drafted the script for The Phantom Menace, he envisioned a "link between Padmé and Princess Leia, the daughter who follows so closely in her footsteps." According to Natalie Portman, "It definitely did come into play how strong and smart a character Carrie Fisher portrayed, because I think that a lot of that is passed on from parent to child. I think George wrote Amidala as a strong, smart character, but it helped to know that I had this great woman before me who had portrayed her character as a fiery woman." Paul McDonald notes that there are "inevitable comparisons" between the two characters: "both develop soft spots for rogue pilots, and both have a knack for slipping into and out of stilted British accents." Despite being diplomats, each is also the best marksman of her respective trilogy, rarely missing.
George Lucas, Rick McCallum, and casting director Robin Gurland auditioned over 200 actresses for the part of Padmé Amidala. They chose 16-year-old actress Natalie Portman to play the role. According to The Phantom Menace production notes, "The role required a young woman who could be believable as the ruler of that planet, but at the same time be vulnerable and open." Portman's performances in The Professional (1994) and Beautiful Girls (1996) impressed Lucas. He stated, "I was looking for someone who was young, strong, along the lines of Leia. Natalie embodied all those traits and more."
Portman was a unique choice in that she was unfamiliar with Star Wars. "My cousins had always been obsessed with the films, yet I hadn't even seen them before I got the part," she says. "When it all happened for me, my cousins were exclaiming, 'Oh, my God, you're in Star Wars!'" She told a CNN interviewer, "I really wasn't aware of how big a deal Star Wars was ... and when I saw the films, I really liked them, but I still didn't really understand how many ... were passionate fans of this film." Portman was, however, enthusiastic over being cast as the queen of Naboo, a character she expected to become a role model: "It was wonderful playing a young queen with so much power. I think it will be good for young women to see a strong woman of action who is also smart and a leader."
In The Phantom Menace, Portman had to portray a character younger than herself. In Attack of the Clones, however, her character had aged 10 years. Portman had aged only five years between the two films. She remarks, "[Lucas] wants to make sure I seem older than Anakin in Attack of the Clones, so it's believable that I can be bossing him around, and he's a little intimidated. She looks at him as a little boy – at least for the first half of the film."
Portman signed a contract to play Padmé in the three prequel films. Reactions by critics to her performances were mixed. James Berardinelli called her acting in The Phantom Menace "effective," but Annlee Ellingson of Box Office Magazine said "Portman's delivery is stiff and flat, perhaps hindered by the gorgeous but cumbersome costumes." Mike Clark of USA Today complained about Portman and Hayden Christensen, claiming, "Both speak in monotone for doubly deadly effect, though when not burdened by his co-star, Christensen often finds the emotion in his limited intonations." A Revenge of the Sith reviewer for The Village Voice accused "computer-generated characters like wheezing cyborg baddie General Grievous and blippeting fireplug R2-D2" of "emot[ing] more convincingly than either Natalie Portman or Hayden Christensen." Nonetheless, Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle described Portman's performance in the third episode as "decorative and sympathetic."
Critics have blamed Portman's performance on Lucas' direction and script. Roger Ebert, for example, charged that in Attack of the Clones "too much of ... the film is given over to a romance between Padmé and Anakin in which they're incapable of uttering anything other than the most basic and weary romantic clichés, while regarding each other as if love was something to be endured rather than cherished." He offered a similar critique for Revenge of the Sith: "To say that George Lucas cannot write a love scene is an understatement; greeting cards have expressed more passion." Todd McCarthy of Variety likewise lamented that "Lucas's shortcomings as a writer and director of intimate, one-on-one scenes" hampered Portman's performance.
An extensive wardrobe was designed for Padmé Amidala by Lucasfilm concept artists and costume designers. Like Leia Organa, one of the inspirations for Padmé was the Flash Gordon character Dale Arden. The wardrobe in The Phantom Menace was designed by concept artist Iain McCaig and costume designer Trisha Biggar; concept artist Dermot Power joined McCaig and Biggar in the design process of Attack of the Clones. Biggar worked as costume designer on the three films. Many costumes were inspired by the historical royal fashions of different cultures. For example, in The Phantom Menace, the dress which Padmé wears when addressing the Senate is based on Mongolian imperial fashion worn by Empress Dondogdulam, the wife of Bogd Khan, and other monarchs into the early 20th century. Padmé's travel gown in Attack of the Clones is based on 17th-century Russian fashion photographed on Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna at the Romanov Anniversary Ball in 1903.
The costumes of the prequel trilogy are purposefully more elaborate than those of the original trilogy. Lucas asserts that galactic society in the prequels is much more sophisticated. Commenting on the disparities between the two trilogies, Carrie Fisher mused, "Harrison Ford wears the same outfit for three flicks, and I was complaining that I wear, like, six outfits. And my mother – Natalie Portman – she wears three million. She walks through a doorway and there's another outfit. It's like the Liberace of sci-fi changing of clothes." Trisha Biggar reveals that originally there were only three costumes planned for Amidala in The Phantom Menace, but "[Lucas] decided that every time we saw [her] she was going to have a different costume." Lucas explains, "Someone of that stature would automatically be changing their costumes to fit the occasion."
Aesthetics aside, the wardrobe was designed to reflect key plot developments. In Attack of the Clones, Lucas wanted Padmé's wardrobe to mirror the romantic elements of the film. He suggested that her costumes be more "sultry in nature." Trisha Biggar notes that Lucas wanted her to appear "sexy, gorgeous, and young in skimpy clothes." Portman laughs, "I got over the hump of 18 so I'm allowed to show tummy now, I guess.", so during the battle of Geonosis the bottom part of her top is ripped off revealing her midriff, For Revenge of the Sith, Biggar says, "We knew that Padmé was going to be pregnant through the whole film, and nobody in the outside world could know that. Because she's pregnant, I wanted a soft quality to be apparent in the fabrics that were used."
Some of the costumes created by Biggar's staff did not appear in the final version of the films. In Revenge of the Sith, for example, a multi-colored "Peacock Gown" and a "Green Cut Velvet Robe" worn by Padmé in scenes featuring the Delegation of 2000 were deleted during post-production. Biggar remarks that the Peacock Gown had been one of her favorite designs and that much time and money had been invested in these particular costumes. Ultimately, the Peacock Gown would be used only for the film's theatrical poster. The velvet robe was ultimately re-used for a short scene filmed during pick-up photography, thus appearing in the film, and features on the DVD cover art.
Many of Padmé's costumes in The Phantom Menace were featured in the Japanese magazine High Fashion in 1999 and the Attack of the Clones costumes were in Vogue in 2002. The costumes went on display in the 2005 exhibit Dressing A Galaxy: The Costumes of Star Wars at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM) in Los Angeles. Trisha Biggar won a Saturn Award for Best Costumes in 2000 for The Phantom Menace and in 2003 for Attack of the Clones. She was nominated in 2006 for Revenge of the Sith, but lost to Isis Mussenden, costume designer for The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005).
Padmé Amidala is depicted in Star Wars fiction as beautiful and graceful. In Cloak of Deception, she is described as having "a slight figure and a lovely, feminine face as one of the most beautiful, feminine women in Star Wars. She was remarkably solemn for one so young. It was clear that she took her responsibilities with the utmost seriousness." Terry Brooks details the alien Nute Gunray's reaction to her appearance: "She was considered beautiful, Gunray had been told, but he had no sense of human beauty and by Neimoidian standards she was simply colorless and small-featured." Brooks writes that she is "young, beautiful, and serene."
The Star Wars Databank describes her as "one of Naboo's best and brightest" and "interested in public service". She demonstrates a devotion to the disadvantaged and deprived beings of the galaxy. Her childhood and adolescence is sacrificed to public service. In the Attack of the Clones novelization, Padmé's sister Sola Naberrie tells her, "You're so tied up in your responsibilities that you don't give any weight to your desires."
Padmé relies on diplomacy to resolve disputes, often appearing as a pacifist. She is not, however, an advocate of appeasement, as she is willing to use "aggressive negotiations" to preserve democracy. The Star Wars Databank notes, "Despite her initial objections to a Republic army, Padmé nonetheless fought alongside the newly created clone troopers against the Separatist droid forces." Film critics Dominique Mainon and James Ursini classify her as a "modern Amazon," a reference to the warrior women of ancient Greek mythology.
Her combat skills are explored further through the Star Wars Universe. In Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones she has fought squads of battle droids with hand-to-hand combat and a blaster. She is an expert markswoman and has managed to outgun Aurra Sing in the episode Assassin in Season 3 of Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
As a ruler and politician, Padmé is distrustful of bureaucracy, opposed to corruption, and attached to the ideals of democracy and the rule of law. She tells Anakin, "Popular rule is not democracy .... It gives the people what they want, not what they need." According to Mainon and Ursini, "she tried to preach compromise and reason, [but] the disarray within the [Republic] ... led her to doubt the senate's effectiveness." Her loyalty remains with the Republic until she suspects it no longer represents the democratic principles she espouses. In the novelization of Revenge of the Sith, Padmé advises Senator Bail Organa and Mon Mothma, "Be good little Senators. Mind your manners and keep your heads down. And keep doing ... all those things we can't talk about."
Padmé is sometimes mysterious and deceptive. She is described in Brooks' The Phantom Menace novelization as a "chameleon of sorts, masking herself to the world at large and finding companionship almost exclusively with a cadre of handmaidens who were always with her." Her decision to quietly marry Anakin and secret discussions with other senators about Palpatine add to the character's duplicity. Paul F. McDonald of Space.com observes, "Amidala ... embod[ies] many of the dualities that inform Episode I— war and peace, queen and commoner, form and substance. Unlike other characters, whose personalities are divided and usually warring against one another, her dual nature works to her advantage." He explains, "Amidala can be cold and commanding when she needs to be, or warm and loving as Padmé."
In The Phantom Menace, Padmé Amidala, in her capacity as queen, is addressed as "Your Majesty", "Your Royal Highness" and "Your Highness". Contrary to usage in real monarchies, where the style is fixed and tied to the person's rank, in Lucas's Star Wars universe they are apparently interchangeable.
After her tenure as monarch ended and she became a member of the Senate, Padmé Amidala was addressed as "Senator Amidala" with no formal style, although she continued to use her regnal name instead of her family name in accordance with Naboo custom.
Return of the Jedi
Return of the Jedi, the final film in the original trilogy, alludes to the character. While in the Ewok village on the forest moon of Endor, Luke Skywalker asked if Leia Organa remembers their "real mother". Leia answers that "she died when I was very young" and also says that "she was very beautiful... kind... but sad" while Luke confesses to have no memories of their mother. In an extended scene of Return of the Jedi, when Obi-Wan Kenobi talks to Luke he explains in detail what happened to his mother. It differs from the prequels in that Luke and Leia's mother snuck away as a handmaiden of Bail Organa and was with Leia until the Princess turned four, making the line Leia says to Luke about remembering their mother more believable.
Episode I: The Phantom Menace
Padmé Amidala makes her first film appearance in The Phantom Menace. She is introduced as the recently elected 14-year-old queen of Naboo, dedicated to ending the planet's occupation by the Trade Federation. She attempts to deal directly with Federation Viceroy Nute Gunray, who attempts to force her to sign a treaty which would legitimize the Trade Federation's occupation of Naboo, her city. Padmé escapes from Naboo with the help of Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and Padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi, but they are forced to land on the desert planet of Tatooine. Disguised as a handmaiden, Padmé meets nine-year-old slave Anakin Skywalker and his mother Shmi Skywalker. Anakin gives her a hand-carved charm on a leather necklace. She witnesses Anakin win the Podrace at the Boonta Eve Classic that both aids her mission to Coruscant and secures his freedom.
Arriving on Coruscant, Padmé consults with Senator Palpatine, who encourages her to appeal to the Senate to resolve Naboo's dispute with the Trade Federation. Palpatine persuades her to make a motion in the Senate to have Supreme Chancellor Valorum removed from office, which later enables Palpatine to be elected in his place. (She is unaware that he is in fact the Sith lord Darth Sidious, and is responsible for the crisis.) Padmé returns to Naboo to fight for her planet's freedom, enlisting the aid of Jar Jar Binks's Gungan warriors and having the handmaiden Sabé pose as her. As Sabé attempts a peace deal between Naboo and the Gungans, Padmé intervenes and reveals her true identity. The Gungans agree to help and offer a diversion to lure the droid armies away from the palace. Once in the palace, Padmé's forces storm the throne room and capture the Viceroy, ending the trade blockade of Naboo once and for all. A celebration is held to announce the unity between Naboo and the Gungans.
Episode II: Attack of the Clones
Padmé Amidala makes her second film appearance in Attack of the Clones, which is set a decade later. Now holding office as Senator following her term as queen, she represents Naboo in the Galactic Senate and leads a faction opposed to the Military Creation Act that would create an army of clones for the Republic, which has been threatened by a growing Separatist movement. As she arrives on Coruscant to cast her vote, assassins hired by the Trade Federation make an unsuccessful attempt on her life. Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi and Padawan Anakin Skywalker are assigned to protect Padmé. Chancellor Palpatine sends Padmé into hiding on Naboo, where she and Anakin struggle to maintain a platonic relationship despite their obvious mutual attraction. In a deleted scene, she introduces Anakin to her parents (Ruwee and Jobal Naberrie) and informs him of her charitable work with the Refugee Relief Movement, a galaxy-wide disaster relief and resettlement organization.
When Anakin has a vision of his mother in danger, Padmé accompanies him to Tatooine in a failed attempt to rescue Shmi from a band of Tusken Raiders. Anakin returns with Shmi's body and tearfully confesses to Padmé that he slaughtered the entire tribe. Padmé is troubled by what Anakin has done, but nevertheless comforts him. After they receive a message from Obi-Wan on the planet Geonosis, Padmé and Anakin rush to the Jedi Knight's aid, only to be captured themselves and condemned to death in a Geonosian coliseum by Separatist leader and Sith Lord Count Dooku. They declare their love to each other, and are saved at the last minute by Jedi Masters Mace Windu and Yoda leading an army of Jedi and clone troopers, thus marking the opening salvo of the Clone Wars. Afterwards, Padmé and Anakin are married in a secret ceremony on Naboo witnessed by the droids R2-D2 and C-3PO.
Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Padmé Amidala makes her third film appearance in Revenge of the Sith, which is set three years later. After Anakin returns she informs him that she is pregnant. Padmé watches with increasing suspicion as Supreme Chancellor Palpatine uses the Clone War in control over the Senate and judiciary. In another deleted scene, Padmé is seen as a dissenter in Palpatine's government and an early constituting member of the Alliance to Restore the Republic, joined by senators Bail Organa, Mon Mothma and Bana Breemu. Meanwhile, Padmé detects changes in Anakin after he begins having dreams about her dying in childbirth. Eventually, these fears lead to Anakin turning to the dark side of the Force and becoming Palpatine's Sith apprentice, Darth Vader.
As Palpatine declares martial law by transforming the Republic into the Galactic Empire, Padmé remarks to Organa: "So this is how liberty dies – with thunderous applause". After Palpatine names himself emperor for life, Obi-Wan informs Padmé that her husband has turned to the dark side and killed everyone in the Jedi Temple. Unable to believe this, Padmé travels to the volcanic planet Mustafar (with Obi-Wan a stowaway aboard her ship). Padmé begs Vader to escape Palpatine's grasp and flee with her, but Vader insists that, together, they can overthrow Palpatine and rule the galaxy. Padmé recoils in horror, but still tries to persuade him to come back. When Obi-Wan emerges from her ship, Vader accuses Padmé of betrayal and uses the Force to choke her into unconsciousness.
After Obi-Wan defeats Vader in a lightsaber duel, he brings Padmé to the secret asteroid base Polis Massa. Despite efforts of medical droids, Padmé dies after delivering twins, Luke and Leia. Just prior to her death, Padme tells Obi-Wan she knows "there is still good" in her husband. After Padmé's body is altered to appear still pregnant and given an elaborate funeral ceremony on Naboo, her twins are separated to be hidden from Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine: Leia is adopted by Senator Organa and his wife Queen Organa on Alderaan to be raised as a princess, while Luke is brought to Tatooine to be raised by his father's step-family, Owen and Beru Lars.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Padmé Amidala makes her fourth film appearance on Star Wars: The Clone Wars. While Anakin and his Padawan Ahsoka Tano search for Jabba's son Rotta, Padmé meets Jabba's uncle Ziro the Hutt at his palace on Coruscant to convince him to side with the Jedi. After Ziro forcibly removes Padmé, she escapes and eavesdrops on his communication with Count Dooku and the Separatists about an elaborate scheme to kidnap Jabba's son, frame the Jedi for his murder and force Jabba to attempt revenge, leaving Ziro as the Hutts' ruler. After being discovered, Dooku suggests Ziro collect the bounty placed on her head. When battle droids confiscate Padmé's comlink and blaster, she outwits and tricks one into activating her comlink as C-3PO is attempting to contact her before a droid smashes the device. C-3PO leads a squad of Coruscant Guard troopers to rescue her. Padmé then contacts Jabba just as the Hutt is about to execute Anakin and Ahsoka, and forces Ziro to confess his betrayal to Jabba. Padmé proceeds to negotiate an alliance between the Republic and the Hutts which would allow Republic warships to use unknown Hutt hyperspace lanes.
In the subsequent TV series, Padmé is mostly portrayed working in the Senate toward a peaceful resolution to the Clone Wars, although a few episodes have portrayed her fighting the Separatists alongside Anakin, Ahsoka and Jar Jar Binks. She has appeared in seven episodes in the first season and third season, four episodes in the second season, nine episodes in the fourth season, and one episode in the fifth season. A trilogy of episodes were set with her as the main focus in which she meets with her old friend Rush Clovis; these episode were later removed, however, and set to be bonus material.
The novelizations of the Star Wars prequel films introduced material about Padmé Amidala that was not included in the films. Terry Brooks' Phantom Menace (1999) includes a discussion between Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi. Qui-Gon describes the then-queen of Naboo as "something of an unknown" before the Trade Federation blockade. In the Attack of the Clones (2002) adaptation by R. A. Salvatore, there is a detailed conversation between Padmé and her sister Sola Naberrie shortly after Jamillia appoints her senator. Sola chides her for ignoring her personal life: "What about Padmé Amidala? Have you even thought about what might make your life better?" Matthew Stover's Revenge of the Sith (2005) elaborates upon Padmé's role in the formation of the Rebel Alliance. Stover narrates Darth Vader's reaction to the death of his wife: Vader thinks to himself, "You killed her because, finally, when you could have saved her, when you could have gone away with her, when you could have been thinking about her, you were thinking about yourself ..."
Padmé's background prior to her appearance in the prequel films is revealed in Star Wars novels and comics. In Terry Moore's comic "A Summer's Dream" printed in Star Wars Tales 5 (2000) and set a year before the events of The Phantom Menace, Padmé is the Princess of Theed, Naboo's capital city. A young man, Ian Lago, falls in love with Padmé, but she places her duty to the people over her personal happiness and rejects him. Lago is the son of an advisor to King Veruna, the reigning monarch of Naboo.
In the novel Cloak of Deception (2001) by James Luceno, King Veruna is forced to abdicate the throne following accusations of corruption. Padmé is elected Queen of Naboo and contacts Palpatine to inform him that Veruna has been mysteriously killed. She and Palpatine discuss the events that lead to the Trade Federation blockade of Naboo. She admits to him, "Naboo can scarcely afford to become embroiled in a dispute that pits the Republic against the Trade Federation."
Star Wars literature focuses on Padmé's career as ruling monarch of Naboo. The young adult novel Star Wars Episode I Journal: Amidala (1999) by Jude Watson focuses on Padmé Amidala's early career as and narrow escape from the Trade Federation. The Queen's Amulet (1999) by Julianne Balmain narrates the close friendship between Padmé and her handmaiden Sabé immediately before the events of The Phantom Menace. Erik Tiemens's comic "The Artist of Naboo" details the story of a young, unnamed artist on Naboo who becomes captivated by Padmé's beauty. The artist features her in a series of paintings and later risks his life to save her.
Padmé's role in the Delegation of 2000 – the senatorial resistance movement to Palpatine's growing absolutism – is discussed in James Luceno's Labyrinth of Evil (2005). The Delegation of 2000 is primarily concerned with Palpatine's calls for public surveillance and restrictions on freedom of movement and action. Still, Padmé is confident Palpatine will relinquish his power when the crisis is over: "He's not stubborn," she tells Bail Organa. "You just don't know him as I do. He'll take our concerns to heart."
Padmé appears in novels and comics set after the events of the original trilogy as holograms and flashbacks. In Troy Denning's The Joiner King (2005), the first book in the "Dark Nest Trilogy" set 35 years after the events of A New Hope, Luke Skywalker discovers a hologram recorded by R2-D2 of Anakin Skywalker informing Padmé of his vision of her death in childbirth. This is the first time Luke sees his mother. Another hologram discovered in R2-D2 chronicles a conversation between Padmé and Obi-Wan. In this hologram, Luke and Leia hear their mother's name for the first time. In the final novel of the trilogy, The Swarm War, Luke and Leia see their mother's death and their own births.
Star Wars: Clone Wars (2003)
Padmé Amidala appears in eight chapters of the Star Wars: Clone Wars micro-series that aired on Cartoon Network from 2003 to 2005. She is secluded on Coruscant and maintains a correspondence when Anakin Skywalker is fighting in the Clone Wars. In one chapter, Padmé travels with Yoda aboard her ship when he senses a disturbance in the Force coming from the ice planet Ilum. Despite Captain Typho's protest, she accompanies Yoda and helps rescue Jedi Master Luminara Unduli and Padawan Barriss Offee. In another chapter, she is thrilled by Anakin's graduation from Padawan to Jedi Knight. In the final chapter, she is briefly seen during General Grievous's assault on Coruscant.
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