In The Mandalorian, chapter 13:

The Mandalorian goes to the forest world of Corvu and goes to a village that Ahsoka is protecting.

The walls protecting the village are basic metal. The village itself looks like something out of Game of Thrones. People are dressed like medieval peasants. There are droids, but everything looks so primitive.

I know Star Wars is science fantasy, but stuff like holograms and starships are ubiquitous. Why do the people of so many planets live in such squalor when the technology to upgrade is so readily accessible?

  • 6
    Probably for the same reason that people who live in the crappiest parts of our world have terrible hygiene despite knowledge about sanitation being hundreds of years old.
    – Valorum
    Commented Nov 27, 2020 at 19:49
  • 9
    But enough about New York...
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Nov 27, 2020 at 20:05
  • 3
    Have you seen Earth? Commented Nov 27, 2020 at 21:27
  • 1
    Because those things cost money and those people are in poverty
    – Firestryke
    Commented Nov 27, 2020 at 23:11
  • 1
    Not to mention walls keep out animals quite effectively
    – Firestryke
    Commented Nov 27, 2020 at 23:11

3 Answers 3


The Empire had invested heavily in military technology (and presumably the Republic before it, though that also invested in trade and didn't build anything on the scale of death stars), so you do see advanced technology.

But advanced military technology does not improve the lot of people in occupied territories - as Willian Gibson put it "the future is already here – it's just not evenly distributed". Compare the technology levels of Afghan villagers and the US drones bombing their leaders; just because there is money to spend on technology does not mean that money is spent on improving the lot of the poorest groups. How many drones would it cost to give Flint potable water? But the technology for supplying healthy water is hundreds of years behind that of the drones. The UK has just increased defence spending and cut foreign aid; the government are playing the role of the Empire here and now, trying to increase the difference between the technology level available for war and that for peace.

Even outside of active warzones, you can get juxtapositions of rocket landings and improvised wineries found in sewage works, both from the USA today, neither out of place in a Star Wars story.

Twitter stream with rocket landing and sewage winery adjacent


Why do so many planets of people live in such squalor when the technology to upgrade is so readily accessible?

Note the situation in our world. Many people suffer and die from trivially preventable diseases and hunger, despite advanced technology and extreme wealth elsewhere. In Europe and North America many dogs have better healthcare than people in poor regions of the world.

Sometimes suffering is caused by technology and its misuse (see any war).

This, sadly, is a realistic situation and requires no extra justification as long as reasons for that are still present.

And the reasons for that situation are clearly present in Star Wars.


Relating specifically to the settlement in the episode, there are a few factors involved.

The walls are likely there to keep out the native fauna. We see near the start of the episode, when the Mandalorian lands on the planet, that there are large creatures in the distance munching on trees. Tall, solidly built walls would work to keep these creatures from stomping through the village and damaging property (whether intentionally, or just by accident).

The people of the town are effectively enslaved by the Magistrate as part of some unspecified industrial work, which is the reason that the forest is completely burnt out. This could provide a justification for the lack of advanced technology and general squalor - giving the people access to anything too advanced could lead to an uprising, and an oppressor willing to cage dissidents is unlikely to expend resources on improving the lives of their workers.

Also, some people in Star Wars are just poor. We saw the small mining town in the first episode of this season - those people don't have a lot of money, so they don't have a lot of access to the best technology. Even on Coruscant, the capital of the Republic, a huge number of people were living in dirty, dangerous districts analogous to slums below the surface. The shiny part we see in the films is just where the rich people live - the planet has a trillion people, most of whom are packed into tiny box-like apartments and rarely if ever see the sky at all. While they might have holograms and flying cars, for most of the citizenry, Star Wars is more Cyberpunk than futuristic utopia.

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