- The great thing about the movie so far is that it's like looking in an anthill -- just the various interlocking parts of the social ecology of this weird world. When you think about it from a screenwriting-manual point of view, it would be easier for R2D2 just to land by chance near Luke's farm. Maybe some well-meaning note-giver of an early draft of this script would say, "Why not just have Luke see an escape pod streaking down from the sky, and then he goes and investigates it, and finds R2 and C3P0 himself? That's much more active and heroic!" But in fact that would ruin everything, because the great pleasure for the first 15 minutes is not following a hero's journey, but watching how the big Rube Goldberg machine of this crazy space world works -- every piece tightly logically related to the last, and yet every piece satisfyingly bizarre. Child-sized brown-robed junk dealers with glowing eyes who speak in an incomprehensible jabber? Yes! The Jawas' introduction, and the implication of a larger economy that they fit in, makes the whole world feel more real, which is necessary when the world is brand-new and crazy.
That said, I do agree with James that it was brave of Lucas to create the Jawas and give the droids some wandering around time. Part of the appeal of the movie is that it’s filled with such utterly strange and seemingly random details that don’t really “make a point” (What do the Jawas mean? What would the story lose if they were taken out?) but just make this feel like an endlessly strange and fascinating world, so it’s a plus that the details don’t all back up the theme.
In short, this movie is loose. This was a huge risk. Persistent verbal and visual pay-offs are very satisfying to an audience, and details that all reflect one subtle thematic dilemma can build up tremendous power. By keeping many of its details and plot turns loose and semi-random, the movie gambled on a very different type of appeal: scruffy charm.
This unusual strategy succeeded brilliantly. All of that randomness created a sense of utter reality: who could make this stuff up?? The immensely appealing characters draw us into this weird world and make us feel welcome, at which point all of the bizarre details and plot-turns become fascinating rather than alienating. It was a trick that dozens of space-opera follow-ups tried to duplicate, with no success, but in this case the risk led to a huge reward.