The Star Wars prequel trilogy met with a mixed reception when Episode I: The Phantom Menace premiered. Natalie Portman took on the role of Padme Amidala, mother to Luke and Leia Skywalker, was 16 when she joined the galaxy far, far away, and now she's explained how the backlash to the prequels made her feel.
“It was hard,” she told Empire. “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.”
“With the perspective of time, it’s been re-evaluated by a lot of people who actually really love them now,” she continued. “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.”
Portman starred in all three prequel films. She's gone on to appear in other films both major and minor, including Thor and Thor: The Dark World. She's not the first person to express how badly the backlash to the prequel films made her feel. Ahmed Best, who played Jar Jar Binks, says it nearly drove him to suicide, and Jake Lloyd -- who played Anakin Skywalker -- was bullied at school for his role in the series.
Directed and co-written by J.J. Abrams, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker stars Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, Billie Lourd, Keri Russell, Matt Smith, Anthony Daniels, Mark Hamill, Billy Dee Williams and Carrie Fisher, with Naomi Ackie and Richard E. Grant. The film arrives Dec. 20.