Star Wars and the Hero’s Journey

Mythic Character Arcs Through the 12-Film Epic


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About the Book

The original Star Wars trilogy famously follows Joseph Campbell’s model for the hero’s journey, making Luke Skywalker’s story the new hero quest for a modern age. With the nine-plus film saga complete, however, new story patterns have emerged as the hero’s journey is imagined over and over for characters of different ages, genders, and backgrounds. The prequels offer the plot arc of the villain’s journey through Anakin. Leia and Padme, while damsels in the men’s story, break out to undergo their own ordeals. The heroine’s journey is exemplified by Rey and Jyn. Obi-Wan, Yoda, and Vader must accept the loss of power and fade into spirit guardians, perpetuating the lifecycle. By the sequel era, the original trio become mentors to the younger generation and finally must do the same. Meanwhile, the Mandalorian explores a different form of the quest as he transforms from immature warrior to patriarch. This book tracks the journeys of over 20 characters throughout the franchise.

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About the Author(s)

Valerie Estelle Frankel teaches English at Mission College and San Jose City College. The author of 90 popular culture books and more than 100 stories and essays, she lives in Sunnyvale, California.

Bibliographic Details

Valerie Estelle Frankel

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 239
Bibliographic Info: bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2021
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8429-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4379-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

The Phantom Menace 5
Young Anakin’s Traditional Hero Quest 5  •  Padmé and the Power of Disguise 8  •  ­Qui-Gon and ­Obi-Wan: Warrior Monks 11  •  The Droids as Ordinary Heroes 16  •  Darth Maul’s Failures 18

The Clone Wars and the Fall of the Republic 23
Anakin’s Descent 23  •  Padmé’s Romance and Fall 41  •  ­Obi-Wan: Failed Father to Sage 48  •  The Jedi vs. the Sith 50  •  Yoda Battles the Emperor 54

The Original Trilogy 59
Luke’s Classic Journey: Youth to Champion 59  •  Leia: Rebel Princess 85  •  C3PO: Servant to War Hero 96  •  Han Solo: Beyond the Antihero 100  •  Chewie: Perpetual Sidekick 108  •  Lando: ­Collaborator-Ruler to General 111  •  Darth Vader: The Failed Tyrant 114  •  ­Obi-Wan and Yoda: Ascension to Spirit Guides 122

The Sequel Era 127
Rogue One and the Heroine’s Sacrifice 127  •  The Mandalorian Finds His Clan 138  •  The Mentors Fade 150  •  Finn and Poe 167  •  Kylo Ren: Nihilism to Redemption 177  •  Rey’s Heroine’s Journey 192

Conclusion 219
Works Cited 221
Index 229