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At the start of Star Wars The Force Awakens we are shown Jakku, with Poe Dameron and Lor San Tekka.

My question is, why, in such a technologically advanced age are they using candles / fire to light their huts / cook their food and living in what basically amounts to third-world squalor? This seems to be pretty common all over Jakku.

  • Because Jakku is on the outer edge of nowhere. – Valorum Oct 8 '16 at 12:15
  • @Valorum, still does not explain why in an age of such advancement that they use candle light. – KyloRen Oct 8 '16 at 12:17
  • Because the village you're looking at is populated by Force-worshipping religious zealots. – Valorum Oct 8 '16 at 12:22
  • @Valorum. that does not explain why they are living in third world conditions. – KyloRen Oct 8 '16 at 12:23
  • Religious zealots often prize the ascetic life – Valorum Oct 8 '16 at 12:26
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Things are more advanced than they appear

It’s important to note that the inhabitants of Tuanul are not actually living in low-tech conditions. Lor San Tekka’s hut, for example, contains various types of advanced technology:

Like most of the buildings in Tuanul, the residence toward which he was speeding was an odd amalgamation of the contemporary and the very primitive. Dwellings on many of the minor desert worlds were like that: designs dictated by necessity as well as the environment. Though BB-8’s intended destination resembled little more than a primeval hut, it contained electronics and multiple concealed enhancements capable of making living in a harsh, dry climate more than merely tolerable.

The Force Awakens

Indeed, the inhabitants of the village appear to restore machines for a living:

In addition to its motley group of mixed galactic peoples, Tuanul was home to an assortment of used but still valuable machinery. A fair portion of the village population eked out a modest living modifying and restoring such equipment for resale in larger towns and cities.

The Force Awakens

So it’s not just Lor San Tekka who seems likely to have access to power cells and so forth.

In other words, the fire and “primeval hut” are more aesthetic limitations than technological ones. We see this a lot in Star Wars. For example, the Gungans are often dismissed by the Naboo as primitive, but have sophisticated technology (including some they make themselves) and a standing army that uses fairly advanced military tactics. Not every culture adopts the technological aesthetic of Coruscant or Mandalore.

There are various reasons for this, but it probably just comes down to a cultural preference for lower-tech surroundings.

The villagers of Tuanal follow an aescetic lifestyle, rejecting the comforts and luxuries of the galaxy. Even in matters of defense, the villagers prefer to create their own weapons rather than line the coffers of weapons manufacturers.

The Force Awakens Visual Dictionary

So there we have it: like many real-life religious groups, it’s not technology that the villagers object to: it’s luxury. Thus they can work by candlelight while still using blaster pistols such as this one:

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