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In Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace, the Trade Federation blockades Naboo at the start of the film. The opening crawl says the reason for this is due to taxes the Republic is charging. However, it's not really clear to me how this would help them with a taxation issue. Especially since this blockade is apparently secret. When Queen Amidala brings the issue before the Republic Senate, the Trade Federation denies it, so they want the blockade and subsequent invasion to be a secret. If they're blockading due to taxes, wouldn't they publicize this, instead of keeping it a secret? So my questions are, why did the Trade Federation blockade Naboo, and why did they keep it a secret?

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6 Answers 6

up vote 51 down vote accepted

The plan was to invade Naboo from the beginning, the blockade was merely an excuse for the presence of the battleships. This is what Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan found in the hangar of the federation battleship while they were escaping assassination.

QUI-GON: Battle droids?
OBI-WAN: It's an invasion army.
QUI-GON: It's an odd play for the Trade Federation. We've got to warn the Naboo and contact Chancellor Valorum. Let's split up. Stow aboard separate ships and meet down on the planet.

As for the issue which brings Amidala before the Republic Senate, it's that the blockade was in fact an invasion.

AMIDALA: Honorable representatives of the Republic, distinguished delegates, and Your Honor Supreme Chancellor Valorum, I come to you under the gravest of circumstances. The Naboo system has been invaded by force. Invaded...against all the laws of the Republic by the Droid Armies of the Trade...
LOTT DOD: I object! There is no proof. This is incredible. We recommend a commission be sent to Naboo to ascertain the truth.

The Trade Federation was hoping it would be too late for the senate to do anything if the invasion was complete before they were notified of it. Or, as a B plan, before the senate decide to assist the peoples of Naboo.

NUTE GUNRAY: The invasion is on schedule, My Lord.
DARTH SIDIOUS: Good. I have the Senate bogged down in procedures. By the time this incident comes up for a vote, they will have no choice but to accept your control of the system.

Naboo is a world rich in Plasma, and It would be a great asset for the Trade Federation. Damask Holdings, the plasma mining company owned by Darth Plagueis, was active on Naboo and that's how Sidious was recruited.

Finally, while the choice of Naboo is defensible on an economic standpoint, it was selected by Darth Sidious because the resulting crisis would propels his Palpatine alter-ego to the chair of the Supreme Chancellor.

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+1 for conversation... – SS-3.1415926535897932384626433 Sep 19 '11 at 16:06

Darth Sidious told them to.

It really is as simple as that - they were sick of the taxes the Republic levied, and Sidious sold them on a plan where, if it had succeeded, they would never have had to pay Republic taxes again.

Plus, I'm sure the net gain they could get from looting, ransoming, or running Naboo would have been significant enough to drive them to it, once Sidious assured them he could keep the Senate off of their backs.

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+1 it was all part of Sideous's plan to take control of the Republic. – Chad Oct 27 '11 at 13:42

The whole point of the invasion from the beginning was to generate sympathy for Palpatine in the Senate to help him rise to the office of Chancellor. Palpatine, as Darth Sideous, was responsible for tricking the Trade Federation into starting the invasion in the first place. Palpatine had not yet at that time gained full control of the Senate. While it is unlikely that he had planned for the Jedi to be able to free the planet of the blockade, he was still able to turn all the events to his benefit.

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In addition to what's been said above, you can read Cloak of Deception (written by James Luceno who wrote Darth Plagueis) where they talk about the Republic's taxation of the Outer Rim systems and how the Trade Federation began funding their massive droid armies.

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I would assume the reason the Trade Federation people are listening to this dark mysterious figure is because he had done incredible things for them in the past. When one of them asks, "Is that legal?" he says, "I will make it legal". So, whoever this person is, they think, he is someone who can make things happen in the Senate for them. Their loyalty and certainty in doing what he says shows this must have been the case in the past. It's the only interpretation that makes sense.

As for why he would try to capture them, and then have them make the vote of no confidence in the Senate as part of his plan, is likely because his plan has many iterations depending on how different events go. There are many places throughout the clone wars when this seems to be the case (he's trying to do something, but then takes advantage another way when things go differently). For example, if the Separatists had won the Clone Wars instead of the Republic, he would never have had to use Order 66 because they separatists would have killed off the Jedi. And, he'd still rule the galaxy anyway as Sideous.

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Lucas is an idiot is also an explanation that makes sense. – Oldcat Oct 20 at 19:23

The point of the invasion of Naboo from the perspective of Palpatine was definitely so that he could gain a sympathy vote in the Senate and be named Supreme Chancellor. His reasons for ordering Nute Gunray and Darth Maul to stop the Jedi and Queen Amidala from reaching Coruscant however, fail to stand up to any sort of logic or reason. If the Trade Federation or Darth Maul had succeeded in stopping them, the no confidence vote would not have happened and the invasion would have been achieved. Palpatine would be the Senator of a subjugated world- powerless and without political influence.

The point of the blockade and subsequent invasion of Naboo from the perspective of the Trade Federation is never made clear in the movie. People can talk about story lines from books and such all they want, but the fact remains that there is no clear explanation given in the movie. Yes, the Trade Federation obviously always intended to invade at the urging of the Darth Sideous' hologram. As for why they are listening to this mysterious figure in the first place, it is never explained in the movie either.

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-1. "People can talk about story lines from books and such all they want, but the fact remains that there is no clear explanation given in the movie" - Books are considered canon (though lesser level of canon as far as determining contradiction), and unless the asker explicitly asked for G-canon, criticizing the answers because they are not based on G-canon is not helpful to anyone and is merely your personal opinion/prejudice. – DVK Feb 10 '12 at 16:10

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