Exploring Star Wars and the Hero’s Journey

“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.”

—George Lucas

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.


Download a printable version of this infographic.

Act One (Beginning)

1.1_StatusQuoThe Status Quo: Luke Skywalker is bored at home on the farm with his aunt and uncle.


1.2_TheCatalystThe Catalyst: Luke finds a message from the kidnapped Princess Leia.


1.3_AcceptanceAndActionDenial & Encounter With the Guru: Luke meets Ben, a.k.a. Obi-Wan, but refuses his offer to train as a Jedi knight.


1.4_DenialAndEncounterAcceptance and Action: Stormtroopers kill Luke’s family, and he begins his training as a Jedi knight.

Act Two (Middle)

2.1_TrialsAndTribulationsTrials and Tribulations, Friends and Foes: Luke travels with Obi-Wan, C-3PO, and R2-D2 to the cantina and meets Han Solo and Chewbacca.


2.2_EdgeOfAbyssThe Edge of the Abyss: Luke and the team board the Death Star to save the princess.


2.3_ThePlungeThe Plunge: Luke encounters a series of ordeals including the monster in the sewage, the collapsing trash room, attacking stormtroopers, and so on.


2.4_ThePayoffThe Payoff: Luke saves the princess.


Act Three (End)

3.1_WayThroughThe Way Through: Luke and company evade Darth Vader and go home to prepare for the attack on the Death Star.


3.2_TrueTestThe True Test: Luke uses the Force to destroy the Death Star.


3.3_ReturnToNewNormalReturn 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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