“In the three decades since I discovered The Hero with a Thousand Faces, it has continued to fascinate and inspire me. Joseph Campbell peers through centuries and shows us that we are all connected by a basic need to hear stories and understand ourselves. As a book, it is wonderful to read; as illumination into the human condition, it is a revelation.”
All stories have beginnings, middles, and ends, and the hero’s journey is no exception. The hero’s journey—like the journey of life itself—is made up of three acts, and each act is made up of the steps of the journey the hero must make—a journey that will change him irrevocably and bring him to wholeness.
Let’s take a look at how the hero’s journey manifests in Star Wars: A New Hope.
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Act One (Beginning)
The Status Quo: Luke Skywalker is bored at home on the farm with his aunt and uncle.
The Catalyst: Luke finds a message from the kidnapped Princess Leia.
Denial & Encounter With the Guru: Luke meets Ben, a.k.a. Obi-Wan, but refuses his offer to train as a Jedi knight.
Acceptance and Action: Stormtroopers kill Luke’s family, and he begins his training as a Jedi knight.
Act Two (Middle)
Trials and Tribulations, Friends and Foes: Luke travels with Obi-Wan, C-3PO, and R2-D2 to the cantina and meets Han Solo and Chewbacca.
The Edge of the Abyss: Luke and the team board the Death Star to save the princess.
The Plunge: Luke encounters a series of ordeals including the monster in the sewage, the collapsing trash room, attacking stormtroopers, and so on.
The Payoff: Luke saves the princess.
Act Three (End)
The Way Through: Luke and company evade Darth Vader and go home to prepare for the attack on the Death Star.
The True Test: Luke uses the Force to destroy the Death Star.
Return to the New Normal: Luke comes home to a hero’s welcome.
Is the Hero’s Journey right for your story? Learn about plotting and structuring your novel using a variety of narrative approaches with Plot Perfect by Paula Munier.
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The Hero's Journey The hero's journey is a pattern of life, growth, and experiences. Star Wars by George Lucas is a science fiction film that clearly illustrates a hero's journey. Luke Skywalker is the hero in this film who goes through this journey. The first stage of a hero's journey is the Separation.
In this stage the initiate is separated from his / her known world. The first step in this stage is the call. " The call invites the initiate into the adventure, offers [him / her ] the opportunity to face the unknown and gain something of physical or spiritual value." In Star Wars, Luke's call was an emptiness he felt and a need to full-fill it. The threshold is the next step a hero goes through. " It is the interference between the known and unknown." Luke was given the opportunity to go with Obi-Wan Kenobi to the planet Alderon. Luke was torn between staying with his aunt and uncle or going to Alderon.
Luke's made up his mind when his aunt and uncle were killed. He was going to Alderon, to become a Jedi Knight. After the Separation the initiate begins the Initiation and Transformation. In this stage the old, irresponsible child must "die" and the new mature adult must be "reborn." The first step in this stage is the challenges, or problems the hero faces and must overcome to continue on. The first challenge Luke faces was at Mos Eisley. There Obi-Wan, Luke, and the droids went looking for a pilot to fly them to Alderon.
Upon entering the bar the droids were asked to leave. After doing so, Luke sat down and two aliens started.
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