Though critics call it a simplistic fantasy, there's a lot going on beneath the surface of the Star Wars series. There are political commentaries, allegories of heroism, and subtext about the dangers of biotechnology. And environmental journalist Tim De Chant argues that there is also a not-so-subtle hatred of cities and urban life that runs beneath the surface of nearly every Star Wars movie. On Per Square Mile, Tim De Chant writes:
George Lucas hates cities. At least that's what I gather from decades of watching and rewatching the original Star Wars movies.
The Star Wars movies are famous for hewing to archetypal stories-hero sets out to save galaxy from evil warlords, hero confronts his (familial) past, hero grapples with his role as a savior. And the movies' portrayal of urban agglomerations is similarly archetypal, drawing on a long tradition of damning the city while praising the countryside.
Let's start from the beginning. When we meet our hero, Luke Skywalker, he's lamenting how isolated life is on his aunt and uncle's moisture farm on Tatooine. But it's that same upbringing-away from the corrupting influence of a big city-that frames his character. Luke may be brooding and somewhat annoying on the surface, but deep down we understand him as innocent and inherently good.
A few scenes later, that isolation is shattered. His aunt and uncle are ruthlessly slaughtered by Imperial storm troopers-interlopers from the city-searching for R2-D2 and C-3PO. With few other options available, he joins Obi-Wan Kenobi, a philosophical hermit living out his days in the wilderness, on a journey to find Princess Leia. That journey starts in Mos Eisley, what Obi-Wan calls a "wretched hive of scum and villainy." The characters in Mos Eisley live up to that description, providing a stark contrast to Luke and Obi-Wan. The cantina patrons are rude, incendiary, and violent. It's quickly apparent that Mos Eisley has no redeeming qualities. The best thing to do in Mos Eisley is to leave-which with the help of Han Solo, they do.
The problem is, the next place they end up is even more treacherous. They drop out of hyperspace where they had expected to find Leia's home planet of Alderaan, but instead are captured by the Death Star. The moon-sized space station is the city at its most extreme. The Death Star is not just a moon-sized spaceship with a city covering its surface-the whole thing is a city, straight through to the power station at its core.
How does Coruscant fit into all this? Well, you'll have to read the rest of De Chant's article on Per Square Mile to find out.