When viewing the film ‘Star-Wars: A New Hope’, the most important and beneficial lens to watch the movie from is the Social Power lens. Star Wars is a movie entirely about one group oppressing another, or how one group has total dominance over everyone else. After looking closely, we can see that there are more subtle conflicts in class, other than the glaring Empire vs the rest of the galaxy conflict, which is most evident. The droids is one such example. There are many scenes where it feels as if droids aren’t much more than slaves, or servants completing chores. A great example of this is when the Jawas captured R2-D2 and C-3PO on the planet Tatooine. There were many other droids aboard the ship, as we saw, and then we soon find out that the Jawas sell the robots to citizens of Tatooine for money, much like how slaves were captured and sold many decades ago. The humans would be their masters, which is proved when C-3PO refers to Luke Skywalker as ‘Master Luke’. However, with droids, they do not seem to be unhappy about their treatment as a minority class. R2 and 3PO seem to be content to be servants, and express no qualms throughout the movie. When thinking about economics, we see how the Empire has lots of money and power. This includes a massive, fortified battle station with a laser weapon capable of destroying entire planets. Also known as the Death Star. While the name at first glance just seems like a ‘cool, fitting name’, it also serves as the Empire’s way of showing off its power. Let me explain, by naming the station the ‘Death Star’, they make it clear to all forces in the galaxy that they are capable of utterly destroying anything and everything that comes across their way. They are not to be denied, and are free to do whatever they please. However, the Empire doesn’t use this weapon to hurt anyone that isn’t doing anything wrong. They seem to want to keep order and peace in the galaxy, but the rebels keep disrupting their plans. Alderaan wouldn’t have been blown up if there were no rebels, and in the fights between both sides many innocent lives were lost. When we look at the Rebels, their technology doesn’t seem in any way as high tech as the Empire. Their helmets are dirty along with their uniforms, and their X-Wing fighters don’t look in the best shape either. This leads us to believe there is a drastic difference in economic power between the Empire and the Rebels, and that they aren’t similar at all in terms of financial stability. Speaking of wealth and finance, your economic power play’s a large role in how high your social class is. We can agree that the humans seem to be above the humanoid alien-like species, right? Well, there is one big case where this doesn’t apply, and all because of financial power. Jabba the Hutt. When we first see Jabba, he is surrounded by many armed bodyguards and henchmen. Based on this, we can infer that Jabba has lots of money, and thus is a powerful figure not to be reckoned with. Jabba further implies his wealth when he tells Han, “If you fail me again, I’ll put a price on your head so big, you won’t be able to go near a civilized system.” Now a bounty that makes it impossible to go near any civilized system must be a massive bounty, provided only by the richest. This example shows how wealth plays a big role in determining social standings in Star Wars. In conclusion, the film Star Wars is a representation of a monarchy, where Luke and Leia are nobles, next in line to the throne, which has been overtaken by another Empire (or in this scenario Kingdom); Obi-Wan fits into a mysterious wizard-like role, utilizing ancient magic whereas Han is a masterless mercenary doing as he pleases.
In Star Wars, your social standings are heavily determined based off of what you are born as, or in droids’ case programmed as. This lens is important due to how much social conflicts are in the film, and how the film is based off of conflicts in social class.