After being devoured by the Kraken, Jack Sparrow is imprisoned in a wasteland alongside the Black Pearl, with William and Elizabeth enlisting the help of Captain Barbossa to rescue him. Bringing back the notorious pirate and his ship turns the tide for the magical world in a struggle to oppose the East India Trading Company’s material world. After reaching an island, Jack Sparrow and Captain Barbossa find the Kraken’s carcass, gazing at this mythological being who was once king of the seas. They reminisce about the old fantastical world, understanding that the Age of Piracy has ended with the new civilized world peddling the Age of Industrialization. In Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007), Captain Barbossa says: “The world used to be a bigger place.” Jack Sparrow replies in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007): “The world is still the same, there’s just less in it.” These characters embrace their doom through this exchange by accepting that Lord Cutler Beckett has completed the world map and imposed totalitarian rule over the seven seas. Consequently, the Black Pearl is confined to a world devoid of anything new to discover, and the crew loses the freedom to be masters of their destiny. Therefore, Jack Sparrow and Captain Barbossa forsake their prideful rivalry to achieve a victory that will guarantee their survival in the new material world as the old magical world fades away.
In the final confrontation, the Black Pearl releases the goddess Calypso, who reclaims her supremacy as queen of the seas in the form of a tempest that the East India Trading Company cannot quell. To counter this unpredictable force of nature, Lord Cutler Beckett unleashes Davy Jones, with the world’s fate mediating between order and chaos being decided by pirates. However, the tide is turned when William Turner stabs the heart of Davy Jones, sacrificing himself by taking over as captain of the Flying Dutchman. Blinded by his arrogance, Lord Cutler Beckett sails with the Endeavor to finish the Black Pearl. Nevertheless, the feared commander is caught in a trap between Jack Sparrow’s Black Pearl that draws him in and William Turner’s Flying Dutchman that emerges to surround his ship. At this moment, Lord Cutler Beckett’s vision of ruling the material world fails to materialize, facing two free pirates who are masters of their destiny. For the first time, the feared commander is outside his cabin, incapable of scheming a plan that can save him. A sense of powerlessness freezes him, as Lord Cutler Beckett cannot comprehend how his flawless design for the world collapsed, failing to give orders whilst his ship is shelled by cannon fire. Desperately, the crew abandons their stations to flee from the Endeavor, but the feared commander drowns with his flawed plans of tyrannical rule over the seven seas.
Although this is a victory for the magical world, the Black Pearl is still confined to the material world, with the East India Trading Company dominating the seven seas. Consequently, Great Britain is defeated by losing Lord Cutler Beckett aboard the Endeavor. However, the feared commander proves to be a chess piece of the East India Trading Company that’s quickly replaceable by another tyrant to hold governance over the seven seas, protecting their imperial interests. Jack Sparrow’s triumph is surviving the death of his old fantastical realm and adapting to the new civilized realm. Sadly, the infamous pirate loses his beloved Black Pearl, but this doesn’t stop him from seeking an adventure in the unknown. Finally, Jack Sparrow boards a humble boat and uses his cherished compass to guide him across the seven seas, tasting freedom as the master of his destiny.
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.
Directed by Gore Verbinski, Walt Disney Pictures, 2007.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.
Directed by Gore Verbinski, Walt Disney Pictures, 2006.
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.
Directed by Gore Verbinski, Walt Disney Pictures, 2003.
Amid the rivaling worlds of order and chaos are William Turner and Elizabeth Swann, who act as intermediaries between the fantastical and civilized realms through their blossoming love. When these characters first encounter each other, William Turner is perilously drifting in a wreckage, gasping for life as a despicable young pirate. Meanwhile, Elizabeth Swann is safe aboard a ship living her life as an esteemed young lady. This meeting flickers curiosity amongst them about what the other lacks, either to be civilized by an aristocratic woman or find excitement with a dangerous man. Further on, they’ve both grown infatuated with each other, leading a life of comfort confined to an island under the protection of Great Britain’s Royal Navy. During this time, William struggles to leave behind his life as a pirate to integrate into society, whilst Elizabeth desires to escape her life as a lady held hostage in an arranged marriage. However, William is entranced by Elizabeth’s life as a lady and the prospect this brings for him to settle in by courting her. Counterintuitively, Elizabeth is smitten by William’s life as a pirate and the opportunity this brings for her to be swept off in an adventure. Nevertheless, both are thrust into a perilous voyage when William’s pirate life surfaces to haunt him, with Elizabeth being entangled by boarding the fantastical realm to escape the civilized realm.
Along their adventures, Elizabeth and William are captured by either Captain Barbossa or Davy Jones, facing ruthless pirates who plunder the seas to instill terror. To rescue each other, the couple enlists help from Captain Jack Sparrow, an outlandish mariner who serves as a mentor in their journey across the world of chaos. Elizabeth and William free each other from the clutches of piracy and experience a thrilling sense of freedom with guidance from the notorious pirate. A mere taste of sailing across the seven seas enamors the couple with being masters of their destiny aboard the Black Pearl, away from the world of order. Though attracted to this life, both return to the civilized realm by arranging a marriage after guaranteeing Captain Jack Sparrow’s freedom in the fantastical realm.
Despite this, William’s and Elizabeth’s lives are threatened when Lord Cutler Beckett hunts them down for their past dealings with the infamous pirate. To safeguard their future, the couple navigates the seven seas in search of Captain Jack Sparrow to aid them reclaim their freedoms. Once reunited, William and Elizabeth join the struggle to prevent the extinction of the old fantastical realm due to the East India Trading Company’s tyrannical imposition of the new civilized realm. Ultimately, this leads the couple to become pirates aboard the Black Pearl who fight for their freedoms alongside Captain Jack Sparrow’s magical world, opposing Lord Cutler Beckett’s material world that oppresses the seven seas with the East India Trading Company.
In Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Jack Sparrow is introduced as a captain without a ship who sails aimlessly in a sinking boat. Using his cherished compass, the infamous pirate is guided towards what he desires most, to navigate freely beyond the horizon without a destination. Throughout his story, Jack Sparrow embarks on perilous voyages in a constant chase to recover his beloved ship. For the notorious pirate, commanding the Black Pearl means being the master of his destiny. Aboard his ship, Jack Sparrow can search for adventures in the unknown world beyond the horizon, crossing the seven seas to explore the blank edges of the map. Whilst drunk on an island in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), Jack Sparrow expresses the significance of his ship: “Wherever we want to go, we go. That’s what a ship is, you know. It’s not just a keel and hull and a deck and sails. That’s what a ship needs. But what a ship is… what the Black Pearl really is… is freedom.” With these words, the character exposes his irony as a pirate who doesn’t seek fortune by plundering ships but reveals a mariner whose most treasured possession is his freedom to sail whenever and wherever he pleases.
Using his compass, Jack Sparrow traverses through the magical world of chaos inhabited by pirates such as Hector Barbossa aboard the Black Pearl and Davy Jones aboard the Flying Dutchman, who terrorize any hapless ship they encounter. Nevertheless, these pirates navigate at the mercy of the goddess Calypso and the monstrous Kraken, who reign over the fantastical realm of the seven seas. Despite Jack Sparrow’s terror of confronting rival pirates and mythical beings, his greatest fear doesn’t emerge from the magical world of chaos but from the material world of order. Through the East India Trading Company, Jack Sparrow’s freedom to be the master of his destiny is threatened, with Lord Cutler Beckett filling the blank edges of the map and ending the Age of Exploration by claiming dominance over the seven seas for the civilized realm of Great Britain’s imperial interests.
Opposing Jack Sparrow’s fantastical realm of chaos with the Black Pearl is Lord Cutler Beckett’s civilized realm of order with the East India Trading Company. Sailing aboard the Endeavour, this feared commander secludes himself in his cabin with a prized map of the world, designing a strategy to submit the magical world to his vision of a material world. Consequently, Jack Sparrow’s freedom in the new civilized realm becomes a threat to Lord Cutler Beckett because of his inability to exert dominance over him in the old fantastical realm. In Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006), Lord Cutler Beckett reveals his perception of the infamous pirate: “Jack Sparrow is a dying breed. The world is shrinking, the blank edges of the map filled in. Jack must find his place in the new world or perish.” With these words, the character divulges his prideful ambitions to eradicate the Age of Piracy and surface the Age of Industrialization, allowing him to govern the seven seas. However, Lord Cutler Beckett believes himself to be a just leader who shields and spreads the material world of order by structuring the unknown. Instead, this feared commander is a tyrannical ruler who crushes and restrains the magical world of chaos by oppressing the freedom of pirates to be masters of their destiny. Therefore, the East India Trading Company enslaves Davy Jones and executes the Kraken to mop up any threat from the fantastical realm that can contest their power over the seven seas in their self-imposed civilized realm.
In behind the scenes footage of Star Wars Episode I The Phantom Menace (1999), George Lucas summarized The Hero’s Journey and The Family Tragedy of The Skywalkers by saying that the story was about:
“… Anakin… duplicating the Luke Skywalker role, but you see the echo of where it’s all gonna go… it’s like poetry… they rhyme… every stanza kind of rhymes with the last one, hopefully it’ll work.”
The Hero’s Journey of father and son parallel each other in Episode I The Phantom Menace and Episode IV A New Hope, with Anakin and Luke Skywalker abandoning the familiar to embark on an adventure into the unknown, becoming Jedi Knights that overcome challenges by carrying the burden of responsibility to fulfill Destiny and embrace their Doom. Through The Family Tragedy, the story of a father falling to the Dark Side and turning into a Sith echoes with that of his son embracing the Light Side and becoming a Jedi, as they confront each other to complete their journey. Although Anakin and Luke Skywalker tread along the same path in the first chapter of their journey, in the latter episodes their choices lead them towards a different Doom but a similar Destiny.
On one side, the journey of Luke Skywalker continues in Episode V The Empire Strikes Back and ends in Episode VI Return of the Jedi, with the hero becoming a fully realized Jedi Knight who rejects the temptations of the Dark Side and saves the galaxy from the tyrannical Galactic Empire. Through the guidance of mentor figures such as Yoda and Obi-Wan, Luke learns the ways of the Force and becomes a Jedi. Alongside, with supporting characters such as Leia Organa, Han Solo and Chewbacca, the hero forms bonds of friendship and finds meaning in the cause of the Rebellion. However, when Luke has a vision of his friends in danger, he rushes in to be the hero without finishing his training. Attempting to dissuade him, Yoda and Obi-Wan warn Luke of acting rashly over an uncertain future that could place him in peril as well. Disregarding their wisdom, the hero falls to his impulses and is beaten by Darth Vader, who cuts off Luke’s hand, revealing that he is his father. Fortunately, the hero survives and recognizes his mistake, opting to patiently finish his training to then embark on a rescue mission of his friends. With newly gained wisdom, Luke saves his friends from the clutches of the vile gangster, Jabba the Hutt. Later on, he returns to Yoda and Obi-Wan, who advise him on confronting The Emperor, with the hero convinced that he can redeem his father. At the height of the climactic battle in the forest moon of Endor, Luke fights Vader in an attempt to save him from The Emperor’s chains. Clashing in a lightsaber duel, the hero is tempted by The Emperor to give in to his hatred and strike down his father to replace him. When Vader discovers Luke has a twin sister, he uses this against him by saying that Leia will fall to the Dark Side. This triggers the hero’s anger as he beats his father and upon striking the death blow he halts, refusing to become Vader. Throwing away his lightsaber, Luke stands against The Emperor unveiling the white underneath his black suit, with the hero becoming a Jedi who chooses to reject the Dark Side and fulfills Destiny by embracing his Doom. Climactically, The Emperor strikes the Jedi Knight with lightning, killing him slowly and agonizingly, with The Hero’s Journey being completed when Vader redeems himself by overthrowing his master and saving his son. Hence, Luke’s purpose is accomplished, not to defeat The Emperor by himself, but to save his father, who seizes to be Sith Lord Darth Vader and returns to be Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker.
Meanwhile, the journey of Anakin Skywalker continues in Episode II Attack Of The Clones and ends in Episode III Revenge Of The Sith, as the hero becomes a Sith by falling into the temptation of the Dark Side and damns the galaxy with the birth of The Galactic Empire. Due to the loss of Qui-Gon Jinn, Anakin stumbles to learn the ways of the Force by being deprived of a father figure to call him on his wrongdoings. Occupied with the Jedi Order, Yoda doesn’t watch over the hero’s development, entrusting Obi-Wan to train him, who has a brotherly bond with his apprentice, leaving none to regulate Anakin’s recklessness or impulses. This leads to the hero forming bonds of friendship with supporting characters such as Padme Amidala and Obi-Wan, who give him meaning with the ideals of The Galactic Republic and Jedi Order. However, when Anakin has a vision of his loved ones in peril, he rushes in to avoid these from becoming a reality. Overwhelmed by pressure of being the prophesied chosen one, burdened with the demands or neglects of the Jedi Order and lacking the proper guidance, the hero doesn’t seek wisdom, instead placing himself and those he loves in danger by acting rashly. Thrusting himself to save Shmi Skywalker, Anakin fails and watches his mother die, with no one to console him, the hero lashes out in anger, slaughtering the tribe of Tusken Raiders. Later on, in a duel with Sith Lord Count Dooku, Anakin hastily strikes and loses his hand. Thereafter, the hero marries in secret with Padme Amidala, violating the ideals of the Jedi Order, forbidding intimacy. Further on, Anakin shows a lack of patience by being frustrated with becoming a member of the Jedi Council, but not granted the rank of master. Ultimately, this unchecked erratic behavior that none have cautioned against, leaves the hero learning nothing from his failings, leading Anakin to find solace and validation through Chancellor Palpatine, a Sith who steers the hero astray to damnation. Through Palpatine, Anakin forms a fatherly bond, with a Sith Lord being the mentor figure of a Jedi Knight. Playing both sides of the war, the Sith Lord plots the demise of the Jedi using two personas, leading The Galactic Republic as Chancellor Palpatine, whilst puppeteering The Separatist Alliance as Darth Sidious, grooming the hero to be his new apprentice. Once again haunted by visions, Anakin sees an uncertain future in which his pregnant wife dies along with their unborn children, as the hero desperately acts to save their lives by bargaining with the Dark Side. Since the Jedi provide no comfort or solution to Anakin’s worries, the hero seeks Chancellor Palpatine, who unveils himself as Sith Lord Darth Sidious, promising the Jedi Knight that together they will unlock the secret to avoid death. Fooled by his wicked promise of acquiring great power to cheat death through the Dark Side, Anakin abandons the Light Side and becomes a slave to Darth Sidious’ will. Seizing to be Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker, the hero is granted a new identity by his master, reborn into the villain Sith Lord Darth Vader. Alongside, Chancellor Palpatine ignites a false crisis by accusing the Jedi of attempting a coup, proclaiming himself as The Emperor. Meanwhile, Vader is sent to eradicate the Jedi Order, as concurrently the democratic institutions of the Republic are dissolved, reborn with the tyrannical regime of the Empire. Thereafter, in the climactic duel between Vader and Obi-Wan amidst the volcano planet of Mustafar, the master defeats his former apprentice, leaving him mutilated and burnt by lava. Consequently, Vader is imprisoned within a suit of armor that keeps him alive, whilst his wife gives birth to Luke and Leia, as The Emperor fulfills his bargain by draining the life of Padme and granting it to his apprentice. Hence, struggling to thwart Destiny, Anakin turns into a Sith and allows his vision to become reality, as the hero born a slave becomes a servant to Darth Sidious, forever haunted by his choice that lead to his Doom.
At its core, The Skywalker Tragedy is about the story of Anakin Skywalker falling into temptation by turning into a Sith who damns the galaxy to tyranny, whilst Luke Skywalker rejects the Dark Side by becoming a Jedi who redeems Darth Vader, together fulfilling Destiny. The story echoes profoundly in Episode III Revenge Of The Sith and Episode VI Return Of The Jedi, in the moments Anakin falls to the Dark Side and when he is redeemed to the Light Side. In the final chapter of each trilogy, Anakin is faced with a choice that can lead the galaxy to perdition or salvation, standing in between Luke and The Emperor in Return Of The Jedi, while being in between Mace Windu and Darth Sidious in Revenge Of The Sith. By the end of their duel, the Sith Lord lies beaten, as Anakin intervenes and Darth Sidious pleads him to spare his life, promising the power to save the one he loves. Standing triumphantly the Jedi Master doesn’t want to spare his life for a trial of his crimes, instead yearning to kill Darth Sidious, casting away any mercy and nobility. Previously, the chosen one faced a similar dilemma when rescuing Chancellor Palpatine, beating Count Dooku and intending to imprison him for a trial, but being encouraged to strike down the Sith Lord. Although hesitant at first, Anakin is swayed by Palpatine to kill him, as the chosen one expresses regret of the deed by saying it didn’t abide to how a Jedi should behave, with the Sith Lord responding in Star Wars Episode III Revenge Of The Sith (2005): “He was too dangerous to be kept alive.” Echoing these words, as Darth Sidious lies defeated, Mace Windu counters Anakin by saying in Star Wars Episode III Revenge Of The Sith (2005): “He’s too dangerous to be left alive.” On one side, the cowardice and wickedness of the Sith are unveiled, with Darth Sidious begging to be saved while being in the same position Dooku was in. Meanwhile, the hypocrisy and dishonesty of the Jedi are unmasked, as Mace Windu utters the same words of Darth Sidious, with the codes of these religious creeds being bent at their behest, leading to Anakin’s reality being broken by concluding that there’s no difference between noble knights and power-hungry sorcerers. Without hesitation, Mace Windu raises his arm to strike down the Sith Lord, with Anakin instinctively igniting his lightsaber, disillusioned by the Jedi he looked up to, as the chosen one intercedes by opting to acquire the power to cheat death. Decisively, Anakin cuts off Mace Windu’s hand and damns the galaxy by sparing the life of Darth Sidious, as the Sith Lord drops his weak act to strike lightning at the defenseless Jedi, turning the hero into his apprentice who overthrows the noble knights along with democracy.
In a poetic juxtaposition, at the end of Return Of The Jedi, Vader witnesses The Emperor torture a defeated Luke, who agonizingly looks at his father, begging to save him. Beholding his son’s triumph over the temptation of the Dark Side, Vader realizes that Luke prevailed where he failed, with Anakin being renewed, liberating the galaxy and saving his child by overthrowing The Emperor. With this final heroic deed, Vader’s chains are broken, reborn as Anakin Skywalker, who chooses freely to fulfill Destiny by embracing his Doom. Dying from his injuries, the father pleads to be unmasked, gazing triumphantly and peacefully at his son, as he passes away to be one with the Force. At the end of The Skywalker Tragedy, father and son bear the burden of responsibility, completing The Mythical Hero’s Journey by becoming Jedi who defeat the Sith, saving the galaxy through their sacrifice.
Overall, myths, mystery and the unknown, found within the infinity of space sparked the imagination of George Lucas as he lived at home in California from an early age. At that moment, the soon-to-be filmmaker wondered as soon-to-be Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker did, with both yearning for adventure to escape the confines around them by gazing on the horizon at the binary sunset for Destiny to call them. Reminiscing on The Story of Star Wars, in an article titled: Mythic Discovery Within The Inner Reaches of Outer Space: Joseph Campbell Meets George Lucas, Part 2, by Lucas Seastrom, from the official Star Wars Website, The Filmmaker said in 1997:
“When I was in college, for two years I studied anthropology […] myths, stories from other cultures. It seemed to me that there was no longer a lot of mythology in our society, the kind of stories we tell ourselves and our children, which is the way our heritage is passed down. Westerns used to provide that, but there weren’t Westerns anymore. I wanted to find a new form. So I looked around, and tried to figure out where myths come from. It comes from the borders of society, from out there, from places of mystery […] And I thought, space. Because back then space was a great source of mystery.”
Barson, Michael. George Lucas. Encyclopedia Britannica,
Alongside, The 12 Stages of The Hero’s Journey are manifested as well in the First Chapter of The Prequel Trilogy, Star Wars Episode I The Phantom Menace, through the story of Anakin Skywalker. A Long Time Ago In A Galaxy Far, Far Away, the hero finds himself in The Ordinary World, living subjugated to slavery and comforted by his mother, Shmi Skywalker, on the desert planet of Tatooine. Suddenly, Jedi Knight Qui-Gon Jinn alongside his apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi, find themselves stranded on a mission to escort Queen Amidala safely to the planet Coruscant, capital of The Galactic Republic. Looking to repair their ship, the Jedi Knight enters a shop where he meets Anakin, sensing that the child is powerful with the Force. Through their bond, Qui-Gon uncovers that Anakin was born by will of the Force, believing him to be the chosen one that the Jedi prophecy foretells will defeat the Sith. Realizing the predicament of the Jedi Knight and encouraged by him, the hero receives a Call to Adventure, feeling compelled to aid these strangers get off planet. Enlisting in a pod race, the child wins the prize money needed to fix their ship and is freed from slavery after Qui-Gon wins a gamble against his master Watto, who bet wrongly that Anakin would lose. Tragically, Shmi Skywalker isn’t freed from slavery, leaving her son to choose whether to leave with his new mentor or to stay behind with his mother. Even though the hero is keen on becoming a Jedi and Shmi pleads him to go with Qui-Gon, in the Refusal To The Call, the child wavers because he doesn’t want to abandon his mother. Only after Shmi reassures Anakin that she will find happiness knowing he is free to choose his Destiny, does the child let go of his mother. Turning his back on Shmi, Anakin faces Qui-Gon, deciding to train in the ways of the Force, with the Jedi Knight swearing to take care of the child, being not only a mentor but a father figure that gifts wisdom for the journey ahead in Meeting With The Mentor. Thereafter, the hero leaves Tatooine by mounting a ship in Crossing The Threshold, traveling to Coruscant and entering The Extraordinary World.
At the stage of Test, Allies and Enemies, Anakin’s abilities are tested in the Jedi Temple, with the council disapproving of his training. Prominently, Master Yoda expresses concern over the child’s attachment to his mother, foreseeing that Anakin’s fear of losing her will lead to anger, then hatred and ultimately suffering, being the hero’s undoing. However, Qui-Gon protests this decision and vouches for Anakin by recommending Obi-Wan to be promoted as Jedi Knight while offering to take the child as his new apprentice, convinced he’s the chosen one. After much deliberation, Anakin’s fate is left unresolved due to Queen Amidala failing to convince the senate to act against the invasion of her planet and opting to liberate Naboo with help from Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi. Joining them in this endeavor is the hero, as he enters The Approach To The Inmost Cave, going into the occupied planet to liberate it from The Trade Federation, with a battle ensuing as the heroes scramble to shut down the droid army. Approaching the hangar bay, pilots mount their starfighters to destroy the battleship, entering The Ordeal as Sith apprentice Darth Maul emerges. Threatening to end the heroes, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan fight off against this foe, allowing Queen Amidala and Anakin to escape. However, the Jedi Knight is slain whilst his apprentice defeats Darth Maul. Simultaneously, the hero finds a safe hiding spot inside an N-1 starfighter, with R2-D2 hopping on board, as the engine accidentally starts and takes him off to battle in space. Without his mentor figure, the child must rely on his newfound friends and abilities to confront the peril ahead. Consequently, in The Reward, Anakin joins the struggle to liberate Naboo by using his skills as a pilot. Upon arriving at the fight on the battleship, in The Road Back, R2-D2 warns the hero that they are in danger and must return to the planet, but Anakin refuses to abandon his friends, choosing to bravely face Destiny. This leads to The Resurrection, where the hero destroys the battleship, deactivating the droid army and saving the inhabitants of Naboo. Thereafter, in The Return With The Elixir, the heroes celebrate in a parade, with Anakin being rewarded by Obi-Wan, who vouches for him to be trained under his guidance, as the slave turned ace pilot completes his journey and takes the first steps towards becoming a Jedi.
The 12 Stages of The Hero’s Journey manifest in the First Chapter of The Original Trilogy, Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope, through the story of Luke Skywalker. A Long Time Ago In A Galaxy Far, Far away, the hero finds himself in The Ordinary World, living within the confines of a moisture farm on the desert planet of Tatooine. In this desolate place, Luke dreams of venturing into the galaxy in search of adventure, but Uncle Owen dissuades the hero and instead wants him to stay home as a farmer. However, here Luke receives a Call to Adventure, meeting C3-PO and R2-D2, who’ve landed on Tatooine escaping from Imperial pursuit. Within the memory of R2-D2 is a message from Princess Leia Organa, asking Obi-Wan Kenobi to aid her in this desperate hour, propelling the hero to start his journey. After meeting the wise figure of Obi-Wan, Luke fears the peril ahead in the Refusal To The Call, being reluctant to accompany the old Jedi Master in aiding The Rebel Alliance in its struggle against The Galactic Empire. Consequently, in Meeting The Mentor, Obi-Wan gives the hero his father’s lightsaber, offering to train the farm boy in the ways of the Force to become a Jedi. After finding his home destroyed by the Empire alongside his relatives dead, Luke heeds the words of the old Jedi Master, embracing Destiny. Therefore, the hero accompanies Obi-Wan on a perilous journey to Alderaan, delivering vital information carried by the droids on how to destroy the Death Star, a Battle Station that can wipe out planets, to Leia’s adoptive father, Bail Organa. In Crossing The Threshold, the farm boy ventures into Mos Eisley Spaceport in search of a pilot to sweep him off Tatooine, setting foot in The Extraordinary World.
At Mos Eisley, Luke encounters Test, Allies and Enemies, with Imperial Sand Troopers interrogating him, along with an entire garrison scouting the Spaceport in search of the droids. Inside the Cantina, a place of scum and villainy, the hero and mentor encounter trouble with a few locals, but meet Han Solo and Chewbacca, agreeing to give them passage to Alderaan. Upon arriving at Alderaan, the heroes and misfits discover that it’s been wiped out by the Death Star, getting captured by the Battle Station. This leads to Luke breaking out Princess Leia, as they attempt to escape the Empire with Obi-Wan’s help in The Approach To The Inmost Cave. Afterward, in The Ordeal, the old Jedi Master sacrifices himself to allow the heroes and misfits to survive, as they board the Millennium Falcon. Losing his mentor, now the hero must rely on his newfound friends and what he’s learned from the journey to defeat the Empire. This leads to The Reward, where Luke decides to join The Rebel Alliance in a desperate attempt to destroy the Death Star. However, before boarding his X-wing fighter the hero is confronted by smuggler Han Solo, who persuades Luke to abandon the cause and escape with him. At this stage of The Road Back, the hero refuses Han Solo’s offer and instead strengthens his resolve by getting into the cockpit of the X-wing fighter, choosing to bravely face the Empire. Thereafter, as the battle on the Death Star’s Trench Run ensues, when all hope seems lost, Luke heeds Obi-Wan’s words of wisdom from the afterlife, telling him to let go and trust in the Force. In The Resurrection, the hero lets go of the targeting computer abord his X-wing fighter and fires the torpedoes by trusting the will of the Force, destroying the Death Star. Hence, in The Return With The Elixir, Luke arrives at the rebel base on Yavin IV to be greeted as a hero in a ceremony in which Princess Leia gives him a medal, as the farm boy turned ace pilot completes his journey and takes the first steps towards becoming a Jedi.
In the article: Exploring The 12 Stages Of The Hero’s Journey, by Ken Miyamoto, the path to fulfill Destiny of Luke and Anakin Skywalker is divided into phases that propel the protagonist into an adventure. Firstly, the hero finds himself or herself in the confines of The Ordinary World, where the protagonist lives in comfort, waiting to be swept by adventure. Thereafter, the hero receives a Call to Adventure, leading to the questioning of his or her reality that pushes the protagonist to pursue a journey. These fears and insecurities of the character are known as the Refusal To The Call, in which a hero hesitates on whether to take the next step, being afraid of bearing the burden of responsibility. In Meeting The Mentor, the protagonist is introduced to a wise figure who gives advice, provides essential information and gifts an important item for the journey ahead. Then comes an in-between worlds stage known as Crossing The Threshold, in which the hero leaves The Ordinary World to begin his or her journey in The Extraordinary World.
Afterward, the protagonist faces challenges in Test, Allies and Enemies, being hindered or aided by new characters, places and occurrences. Surpassing these trials, the hero is experienced enough to undertake The Approach To The Inmost Cave, confronting the main conflict by using what’s been learned to overcome obstacles and find a solution to the problem. However, in The Ordeal, a plan fails and the character loses something or someone of importance, going through a crisis that reasserts his or her resolve to fulfill Destiny. Consequently, in The Reward, the hero is gifted an item or gains knowledge that helps him or her defeat the antagonist. Nonetheless, in The Road Back, the protagonist is presented with an opportunity to give up, but instead, his or her conviction is strengthened for the final trial. Then, in The Resurrection, the hero uses lessons, items and skills acquired in the journey to resolve the main conflict. Finally, in The Return With The Elixir, the protagonist completes his or her purpose triumphantly and returns to The Ordinary World with newfound wisdom from The Extraordinary World.
In an article by Ancient History Encyclopedia, titled Mythology, Joshua J. Mark discussed the meaning behind myth. Being a fundamental element of cultures, myths were created and passed on from generation to generation, by societies that sought to understand the nature of the world. They pondered questions such as: Where did we come from? How did our way of life come to be? Why did events occur in this manner? Searching for answers, societies became civilizations by finding meaning in myths that granted an identity, which formed cultures. Hence, for a myriad of civilizations, these stories became the primary source to explain how their people originated and how their social and cultural way of life came to be, giving significance to a chaotic world that was made comprehensible through myths.
Derived from the Greek word “mythos”, Mythology means in direct translation, Story. As a field of study, Mythology researches and interprets a compendium of stories that deal with the human condition. Amongst these are: the dualities of good and evil, the origins and prophesized end of humanity, the meaning of suffering and happiness, the meaning of life and death, along with the deeds of mortals and gods. Therefore, these myths hold the beliefs and customs of a civilization in a given time and space.
Furthermore, in the same article by Ancient History Encyclopedia, titled Mythology, Joshua J. Mark presented the differing types of myths. Firstly, Etiological Myths seek to answer the why and how, giving an explanation on the nature of the world. Defined as being an origin story, this myth illustrates why the world is a certain way and how it came to be.
In Greek Mythology, the etiological story of existence began in the void inhabited by Chaos, who made Nyx. Their union conceived Erebus who took Nyx as his betrothed, having Aether and Hemera. Mating, the siblings birthed Gaia (Earth), who created Uranus (Sky). Both shaped titans and cyclops, with Gaia loving her creation but Uranus hating it. Seeking to protect her children, Gaia rebelled with the aid of her son, Cronos. This led to Uranus being castrated by his son and from his blood and flesh various beings and creatures were born. Thereafter, Cronos mated with his sibling Rhea, who gave birth to the Twelve Olympians. However, following the footsteps of his father, Cronos despised his children due to fear of being overthrown by them, devouring each one as Rhea birthed them. Consequently, Rhea became horrified and gave birth to Zeus in secret, growing up to be a powerful god who defeated Cronos and freed his kin from the titan’s belly.
Moreover, the etiological story of Pandora’s Box explained the nature of how suffering was unleashed upon mankind. Here, the titan Prometheus, mankind’s creator and protector, defiled Zeus by stealing fire and gifted mortals knowledge. Enraged, Zeus plotted to destroy mankind for this treachery and fashioned the first woman, as the gods of Olympus molded Pandora with beauty and speech. Thereafter, Zeus sent Pandora to mankind, with a sealed jar that contained every conceivable evil. Finally, Pandora opened the jar, pouring out diseases and miseries that plagued mankind.
Meanwhile, in Norse Mythology the etiological story behind creation began in an abyss, with only the Ice Realm of Niflheim and the Fire Realm of Muspelheim that formed through the mixing of water drops and fiery heat the giant Ymir. Thereafter, the god Odin alongside his brothers slayed Ymir, shaping from the giant’s dismembered limbs The World Tree of Yggdrasil and The Nine Realms. Hence, Odin ruled alongside Frigg as the chief god and goddess over Asgard (Heaven), with mankind under the protection of Thor, who inhabited Midgard (Middle Earth), and the damned souls suffered in Hel (Underworld) under the dominion of Loki’s daughter, as Baldur became haunted by visions of his death, a warning sign to the Aesir and Vanir deities that the predestined end of all creation drew near, Ragnarök.
Alongside, in Christianity, the etiological story of how the world was formed is told in The Bible. By reading The Book of Genesis, it’s explained how God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh. This gave humanity an identity by illustrating how God made man and woman in his own image. Later on, Adam and Eve ate a fruit from the forbidden tree of knowledge, gaining consciousness and becoming awake. By heeding the deceitful promise of Satan, a fallen angel in the guise of a snake, of acquiring a godlike vision with a bite of the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve caved into their darkest and deepest impulses. Upon devouring the fruit, both committed sin and recognized their nakedness, being ashamed of themselves. Realizing they had disobeyed God’s command; Adam and Eve hid in fear. Nevertheless, this proved futile as they were found and exiled from The Garden of Eden, with the history of humanity and their condition of suffering commencing since the banishment from Paradise.
Thereafter, Historical Myths recite an episode of the past from a civilization, embellishing the original event. Although the story has a basis on historical events, figures and locations, there are dramatized and romanticized. Examples of such are found in The Hebrew Bible along with Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. Firstly, the story of Abraham provided an answer to the origins of the Jewish People, who were bestowed with a foundational figure that made a covenant with God, making them His people, the chosen nation that would inherit the promised land of Judea. Meanwhile, the kidnapping of Helen by Paris lead to the Siege of Troy, in which Greeks and Trojans fought for the coveted woman, as the event is told through the exploits of Demigod Achilles and the journey of King Odysseus.
Lastly, Psychological Myths narrate a journey undertaken from the ordinary world to the extraordinary world, representing a psychological need to balance the external world with an internal consciousness. In this story, a hero embarks on a voyage traversing through trials and tribulations that will lead to uncovering an identity. Primarily, the hero’s fate will be determined by the ability to carry the burden of responsibility and reach Destiny to become. Hence, through this expedition the audience relates to the hero’s struggle, focusing on the morals and values held by the protagonist that determine his or her thoughts and actions.
An example of a psychological story is the Greek Play of Oedipus The King, a tragedy by Sophocles. In the story, King Oedipus was tasked with lifting a plague from the city of Thebes. To resolve this crisis, he sought the oracle for guidance, being told that to repel the curse he must find the murderer of the former King Laius. Previously, at an early age, Oedipus had fled his home in fear of a prophecy that he would kill his father, with Laius abandoning his son due to the same reason. However, neither of them escaped the prophecy, as Oedipus unknowingly murdered his father at a crossroads. In the unraveling of the tragedy, the protagonist became horrified upon discovering that he had committed patricide and was in an incestuous relationship with his wife Jocasta, that turned out to be his mother. Therefore, Oedipus ironically resolved the misfortune of Thebes by finding that he was the murderer, making him a tragic hero who became tormented by Destiny and gouged his eyes as punishment.
Another psychological story is the Norse Poetic Legend of The Saga of the Volsungs. In the story, Odin punished Sigi for killing a slave, cursing his family lineage. Tragedy struck when Signy, daughter of King Volsung, had been promised against her will to King Siggeir. When King Volsung and his sons traveled to the kingdom of King Siggeir, they had been warned by Signy that treachery would befall them, as her father died and her brothers were imprisoned. Devoured one after the other by a wolf, the brothers of Signy were eaten, save the youngest, Sigmund, who survived with help from his sister. Later on, dealing with a witch, Signy exchanged appearances with her and engaged in an intimate relationship with Sigmund, becoming pregnant with Sinfjotli. Thereafter, she returned to King Siggeir and transformed back to herself, leaving the task of raising her son to her brother. With training from his father, Sinfjotli became a man, aiding the siblings in avenging the Volsung family by killing King Siggeir and restoring their throne. Hence, the bloodline of the Volsungs became the driving force of the narrative that embroiled King Volsung then Sigmund and finally Sinfjotli in a generational conflict in which a son inherited the sin of his father.
Through Etiological and Historical Myths, The Story of Star Wars acquired the origins of its universe and conflict in the religious creeds of Jedi and Sith that wield the mythical power of the Force. Clashing through a millennium, these noble knights and power-hungry sorcerers resemble the dualities of good and evil within mythology, that are embodied through characters such as Jedi Master Yoda and Sith Lord Darth Sidious. This eternal duel between Jedi and Sith is fought in The Clone Wars and The Galactic Civil War, coming to a climactic end in The Family Tragedy of The Skywalkers.
However, Psychological Myths provided the main source of influence to Star Wars with The Mythical Hero’s Journey. In the stories of Oedipus The King and The Saga of the Volsungs, The Family Tragedy of the heroes had them undertake a journey from the known world to the unknown world. On one side, King Oedipus fulfilled Destiny by saving Thebes of its curse through uncovering the culprit behind King Laius’ murder. In a twist of irony, the protagonist discovered that he killed his father, bearing responsibility and enacting punishment on himself. Meanwhile, the Volsungs struggled through a generational conflict against King Siggeir, which involved grandfather, father and son. Therefore, Sinfjotli inherited the curse of the family, but fulfilled Destiny by avenging his kindred.
The journeys of Anakin and Luke Skywalker are evidently influenced by Psychological Myths, with The Hero’s Journey and The Family Tragedy being present in the story of a father that falls to the Dark Side and damns existence by turning into a Sith, whilst his son embraces the Light Side and achieves Destiny by becoming a Jedi. Nevertheless, Luke Skywalker doesn’t become a Jedi to destroy his father, but rather uses his newfound purpose to save Darth Vader by stripping away the dark within and unearthing the light of Anakin Skywalker, leading to the salvation of the galaxy.
Through Mythology, George Lucas crafted the story that these background elements revolved around. At the forefront, is the character of Anakin Skywalker who begins The Family Tragedy by falling to the temptation of the Dark Side. As this protagonist symbolizes the antithesis of The Hero’s Journey, in which he doesn’t become and fulfill Destiny, but rather is undone and damns existence. Discovered by the Jedi, Anakin Skywalker trains in the ways of the Light Side of the Force, being foreseen as a prophesied hero who will bring balance by defeating the Sith. However, the chosen one constantly falls into temptation by allowing his impulsiveness to control him across the journey, growing closer with the Dark Side and drifting from the Light Side. Summarizing his journey, in Star Wars Episode I The Phantom Menace (1999), Master Yoda says: “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” In The Prequel Trilogy, Anakin Skywalker never learns to let go of those he loves and doesn’t recognize or correct his failings. Most worrying is the absence of a father figure to call out Anakin Skywalker’s mistakes, as the chosen one ultimately proves to be the Jedi’s demise. By the end of his story, Anakin Skywalker becomes Darth Vader, a Sith who commits sin and gives himself to the servitude of the vile Darth Sidious.
Afterward, The Family Tragedy continues with Luke Skywalker, who learns the ways of the Light Side of the Force and becomes a Jedi Knight, being the direct embodiment of The Hero’s Journey who fulfills Destiny. Although Luke Skywalker shows identical traits as his father, such as impulsiveness, recklessness and a neglect to let go of those he loves, after trials and tribulations the protagonist acknowledges and corrects his failings. In The Original Trilogy, the protagonist inherits the sin of his father and trains to become a Jedi who carries the burden of responsibility, saving the galaxy. Consequently, Luke Skywalker lives in a galaxy ruled by the tyrannical Galactic Empire, which rose to power when the democratic Galactic Republic was overthrown by his father. Guiding him is the mentor figure who calls out his failings, with Master Yoda providing lessons to avoid losing the hero to temptation. In the crucial training of Luke Skywalker to become a Jedi, the old master teaches him words of wisdom to break the reality of the hero and point out his mistakes. Establishing the core tenets of the Jedi in a simplified manner, in Star Wars Episode V The Empire Strikes Back (1980) Master Yoda says: “A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, never for attack.” Gifting him an insight into the religious creed of the Jedi, the old master ensures that the hero will not easily give in to his impulses and fall prey to the tempting acquisition of power. Alongside, as Master Yoda shows his abilities with the Force, Luke Skywalker lies mesmerized, not believing what he’s witnessing. To this denial and lack of faith within the hero, in Star Wars Episode V The Empire Strikes Back (1980) Master Yoda responds: “That is why you fail.” Here, the Jedi Master demolishes the reality of the hero, by pointing out how his lack of faith in himself and the will of the Force are a grave mistake that will lead to his undoing. Thereafter, in Star Wars Episode V The Empire Strikes Back (1980) Master Yoda instructs: “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” With these pivotal words of wisdom, the old master demands Luke Skywalker to pledge himself wholly to embarking on The Hero’s Journey to surpass the challenges ahead. Finding purpose, the hero is devoted to the completion of his training, becoming a Jedi Knight who believes in himself and the will of the Force. In the end, Luke Skywalker fulfills Destiny by rejecting the temptation of the Dark Side and redeeming his father, with Darth Vader overthrowing The Emperor, saving his son and the galaxy, as both complete The Mythical Hero’s Journey.
To craft the setting and story of Star Wars, George Lucas became a pupil of anthropology and mythology. Through Anthropology, The Filmmaker built the background elements of his story with fictional societies and cultures. This led to the creation of various alien species and planets. From the desert planet of Tatooine, the snow planet of Hoth and the forest moon of Endor, with harsh living conditions, to technological marvels such as the hovering settlement of Cloud City in Bespin or the technological terror such as the hovering battle station of the Death Star, for various species to inhabit. Alongside, there’s the planetwide metropolis of Coruscant, the wild jungles of Kashyyyk, the boundless oceans of Kamino, the towering spires of Geonosis and the verdurous valleys of Naboo, presenting a variety of environments that differing species roam around. At the center of the story, there are the Jedi and Sith who have clashed through a millennium with their religious creeds. Fighting for these ideals are the factions of The Rebel Alliance, which stands for freedom over tyranny, or The Separatist Alliance, which stands for control over the economy. These are contrasted by The Galactic Republic, which defends democracy and the ideals of the noble Jedi Knights, twisted into The Galactic Empire which imposes totalitarian rule and the ideals of the sinister Sith Lords.
Going back to his years as a student of Social Sciences, George Lucas learned about the science of human beings, Anthropology. In this field, the main objective relies on studying the ancestors of a civilization in a specific time and space, exploring primarily their society and culture. Within Anthropology, there are the branches of Social Anthropology, which seeks to comprehend patterns of behaviors in societies, and Cultural Anthropology, which strives to understand the meanings, norms and values of cultures. In each branch, George Lucas found answers on how individuals in societies thrived and how achievements in cultures gave life meaning. From here arose prerogatives such as: How were societies organized? What was the relationship between behaviors and values? Why did people act in a specific manner? These key questions sparked the imagination of The Filmmaker, who sought to become a participant observant of his creation. A Long Time Ago In A Galaxy Far, Far away … George Lucas created varied alien species who inhabited a multitude of planets and took sides with differing factions that encompassed the societies and cultures of Star Wars, crafting the setting of the story. Such a feat of imagination was achieved through the use of an Anthropological Setting comprised of religious, magical and artistic expressions within cultures that became the background elements of the Mythological Story.