Alas, now I must become a common farmer!

The main problem with the Star Wars universe is the absence of any substantive class conflicts. There is, for sure, a struggle between good and evil, but what exactly is good or evil is primitively defined. We side with the rebels only because we are told they are good. And we, as gregarious apes on earth, prefer, for the most part, to be associated with the good.

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But if we look at the Jedi, a warrior class, we find an elite that is on the side of both the "good" and the "bad." If the good did not participate in this elite, it would be easily destroyed by the bad. And so what ultimately matters is not this side or that, but the mastery of this metaphysical substance called "the Force."

The Star Wars universe never critiques in a profound way the fact that on both sides of the galactic war, the elite are closely connected. Indeed, it is really just one family. And it is this small circle of people (sisters, fathers, mothers, brothers) that form the core of a warrior elite that do the real and often final fighting. Any person beneath them is merely a part of the larger and central struggle occurring within that distinguished family.

If you want an idea of how the unspoken class issues of the Jedi movies could have been represented or expressed, you only have to watch martial-arts masterpiece One-Armed Swordsman. Released in 1967, directed by Chang Cheh, starring Jimmy Wang, and presented as part of Northwest Film Forum's Shaw Brothers series, the film's plot is shaped by class conflicts. The hero, Fang Kang (Wang), is a swordsman (a Jedi) who loses his arm for some dumb reason and falls into a lower class, the farming class.

He is saved by a peasant woman, Xiao Man (Lisa Chiao Chiao), who believes that the upper classes, with their warriors and rigid codes of honor, are generally unhappy and make the world unhappy, and it's better just to be a peaceful farmer. She wants to reform her one-armed swordsman. He needs to see the richness of being common. As a result, a key point of the plot concerns the struggle within the swordsman between becoming common (contentment) or remaining a part of the elite (always at war).

One might argue that Luke Skywalker is, after all, a country boy. His roots are in moisture farming. And so there is that difference between him and the elite (the princess, the dark lords, the priests, and what have you). But unlike the one-armed swordsman, Skywalker, who loses a hand at some point, never really strives to be a part of the upper class.

His issue is not the acceptance or rejection of an elite class, but an acceptance of his own abilities. Is he the right person for the job? Is he really the one to save the galaxy? He struggles with the evil of pride. Not so with the one-arm swordsman. He is proud and has to learn humility. This education happens with the loss of his arm and a fall into the passing boat of a peasant girl.