In the Phantom Menace, Padmé is cleaning R2-D2 when Jar Jar walks in, and she asks him

"you're a Gungan, aren't you?"

Why would she not realize that he was one, considering that she lives on the same planet and that and she's the queen? Did the Naboo not get taught about the other civilization on their planet?


2 Answers 2


It seems deeply unlikely that Queen Amidala wouldn't know exactly what a Gungan is. In this scene she's trying to cement the idea that her alter-ego, (the palace handmaiden Padmé) isn't especially worldly and perhaps a little bit naive.

“Mesa JaJa Binkssss,” Jar Jar said.
“I’m Padmé,” the girl told him. “I attend Her Highness.” She looked at him curiously. “You’re a Gungan, aren’t you?”
Jar Jar nodded. Most Naboo didn’t like Gungans any more than Gungans liked them, but this girl seemed nice. And she not yelling over little mistakings, like everybody else.

Star Wars: The Phantom Menace - Official Novelisation

As far as the charade is concerned, the novel also makes it clear that Naboobians and Gungans don't typically mix. They live in different climes and have very little in common. Trade between the two races is solid, but conducted largely through intermediaries and it, presumably wouldn't have been unheard of for a Naboobian to never see, let along meet a real life Gungan.

On top of that, there's the fact that most trade contact is done by the ruling Ankura Gungans (of which Boss Nass is a prime example) rather than the majority Otolla Gungans (such as Jar Jar). Even if you'd ever met an Ankura Gungan, you might not recognise an Otolla Gungan as being from the same species.


It's entirely possible that all of Padme's knowledge of the Gungan race was purely academic, and has never actually seen/met a Gungan in person.

According to Boss Nass's bio, the Gungans maintained a policy of isolationism.

He kept a tight rein on Gungan affairs, continuing a longstanding custom of isolationism.

The archived version of his bio expand on this slightly, mentioning that the isolationism dates far back to the days of human colonization on the planet.

He kept a tight rein on Gungan affairs, continuing a longstanding custom of isolationism. Ages ago, a cultural misunderstanding led to a rift between the Gungan and the Naboo colonists. This tension was perpetuated by stubbornness and ignorance on both sides.

Given that there are two species of Gungans (Anakura like Boss Nass, and Otolla like Jar Jar), the Gungan cities are underwater, far from the humans of Naboo, the Gungans and humans don't interact, and the fact that Padme is only 14, it's entirely possible that Jar Jar was the first Gungan she'd ever actually met.

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