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The Omnipresent Hero’s Journey in ‘Star Wars’ Explained

2 Minute Read
Jun 29 2022
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There is an unlimited number of stories out there with a very similar backbone. One of which we see in a galaxy far, far away – the monomyth’s connection to Star Wars explained.

It’s not a secret that George Lucas looked at the work of Joseph Campbell (as well as Japanese cinema and some amazing WWII dog fight movies) as he was writing Star Wars. Campbell was a mythologist with a background in medieval literature and Arthurian legends. His education and travels in Europe and America in the 1920s and 1930s led him to a theory. Myths are the result of humankind’s need to explain our reality – be it social, cosmological, spiritual, or psychological.

He went on to write numerous books on the subject, examining myths from all over the globe. He wrote extensively on what he coined as the monomyth or hero’s journey.

A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.

The monomyth is found in the creative process that’s used for everything from Greek myths to modern television shows. In an attempt to simplify that further writer Dan Harmon (yes, that Dan Harmon) created a basic structure that revolves around the rhythms of life and death, psychology, and society and culture to create a large number of the stories we tell.

danharmons_basicmodelforstorystructure

  1. A character is in a zone of comfort,
  2. But they want something.
  3. They enter an unfamiliar situation,
  4. Adapt to it,
  5. Get what they wanted,
  6. Pay a heavy price for it,
  7. Then return to their familiar situation,
  8. Having changed.

Luke Skywalker’s story across the original trilogy uses this structure. He looks for his origins, trains as a Jedi and accepts having force power, finds his father, kills him, he accepts his linage, and moves forward with his new knowledge.

via Lucasfilm

Hero’s Journey in Star Wars

This structure can be found in your favorite movies, books, and comics. Songs also use the structure even when not taking the lyrics into account – listen to any film score.. This video from Will Schoder explains it how this works structure using a prime example of a hero’s journey: Star Wars.

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