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Natalie Portman Missed The Phantom Menace Premiere To Study

In the early to mid-'00s, few cinematic events were as exciting as the "Star Wars" return to theaters. While George Lucas' prequel trilogy turned out to be pretty divisive overall, that doesn't change what a huge moment in pop culture this was, particularly for fans who had been long starved for official "Star Wars" content.

Of course, the prequel trilogy also helped to cement many of its leads as major up-and-coming stars. While actors like Ewan McGregor and Samuel L. Jackson proved that they had the right stuff to help carry such a massive franchise, younger performers like Natalie Portman and Hayden Christensen became household names seemingly overnight due to their central roles in the saga as Padmé Amidala and Anakin Skywalker.

However, the always practical Portman has long been known as someone who takes education very seriously, despite having a ready-made acting career from such a young age. In fact, Portman was such a stalwart in her studies that she skipped the premiere of "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace" to ensure she was prepared for exam season.

Natalie Portman has long been a proponent for the importance of education

Natalie Portman stayed home to finish studying for her high school final exams instead of heading to the hotly touted premiere "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace" and to hear it from the performer, she doesn't have any regrets about choosing education over her burgeoning acting career from time to time.

"I don't care if [college] ruins my career... I'd rather be smart than a movie star," Portman told Vanity Fair in 2016. It really shouldn't come as a surprise that Portman takes education so seriously, as the actor has been a vocal proponent and even an activist for the importance of education for years.

Despite being a Harvard graduate, though, and her father asking her to quit acting for more noble pursuits, Portman ultimately decided to stick with acting. As anyone who has seen the Oscar-winning performer in films like "Black Swan," "Closer," or "The Professional" can no doubt attest, she definitely made the right choice. Furthermore, with four MCU appearances under her belt, Natalie Portman can also add that legendary franchise to her sizable resume as well.