Discussion Joseph Campbell, The Monomyth and the ST

Discussion in 'Star Wars: Episode VII and Beyond (Archive)' started by Darth Chiznuk, Feb 23, 2013.

  1. Darth Chiznuk E7 Casting Contest Host

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    This topic was suggested in another thread and since no one has made it yet (and since I really want to discuss it myself) I decided I would do the job.

    So the topic is pretty obvious: We all know how huge of an influence Joseph Campbell has had on George Lucas and Star Wars. So let us discuss Joseph Campbell's influence on Star Wars (personally I have read The Hero With a Thousand Faces but none of his other work), the Monomyth and how it will continue to have an impact on the future of Star Wars.

    For those who aren't familiar with the monomyth:

    Personally I'm very intrigued to see how this central aspect of the Star Wars Saga will continue with the ST. For me I believe it is essential for the new films to focus on the next generation (and that is obviously the most likely scenario) and for the new Skywalker to set off on the Hero's Journey just as his/her father and grandfather did before him/her. But there is a problem because as the example states the hero sets out from the mundane world into the unknown and this could be difficult to portray in the ST. In the PT it was easy for Lucas to place Anakin Skywalker into any situation he felt suitable as it was the beginning of the saga and there was nothing before it that could contradict something and with Luke Skywalker it was also rather easy because his father was dead/evil and again he could place him in any situation. It will be a little different with the ST because if the protagonist is a Skywalker than his/her father is still alive and if it a Solo again his/her father and mother are most likely still living.

    So if the protagonist is Force sensitive (which is pretty obvious) and is a Skywalker or Solo (which I think we can all safely assume they will be one or the other) then it is reasonable to assume that they have been trained as Jedi. But a child being trained from birth to assume the mantle of a Jedi with all their special skills already acquired just doesn't seem to follow the Hero's Journey. I will be very interested to see how they resolve this problem.

    So without further ado let the discussion begin.
  2. Darth Claire Force Ghost

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    Dec 21, 2012
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    *sits back* Now this thread is gunna be fun.
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  3. D_Lucks Jedi Padawan

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    I just hope they actually get back to the monomyth. I feel like with the OT
  4. Axle-Starweilder Force Ghost

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    campbell's book never states directly that the hero has to come from poverty or squalor, necessarily. he does talk a bit about the buddha and various princes which came from lives of privilege and opulence. all that is really necessary for the onset of adventure is "the call". which could work for the ghostbusters or anybody, really. and also, GL's in the laundry basket for this one. ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN!!!
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  5. D_Lucks Jedi Padawan

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    I just hope they actually get back to the monomyth. I feel like with the OT George had a good grasp of the underlying philosophy of the hero archetype, the PT just kinda feels like a checklist
  6. Axle-Starweilder Force Ghost

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    fair enough. i know what you mean. the ot had a feel as if it were some sort of space mythology whereas the pt was more like a space soap opera with vivid action sequences.
  7. Buddha Fett Chosen One

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    For those unfamiliar, I'll leave this handy reference:

    http://www.mcli.dist.maricopa.edu/smc/journey/ref/summary.html

    I totally dig the thread / topic and will check in tomorrow after much needed sleep. :)

    I think we left Luke just after the Atonement with the Father bit, and hopefully the ST will explore the final steps.
    Last edited by Buddha Fett, Feb 23, 2013
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  8. Darth Chiznuk E7 Casting Contest Host

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    The PT followed the monomyth but Anakin's story was also a tragedy so it was by necessity quite different from Luke's adventure. Anakin still had a call to adventure (Qui-Gon's arrival), he still had the refusal of the call (he expresses fear of abandoning his mother in the slave quarters after he's freed and then rushes back to his mother's arms), he has the crossing of the first threshold (leaving his mother's embrace and walking back toward Qui-Gon), etc.
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  9. gregvader123 Jedi Master

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    The PT was too intricate plot-wise. The politics bogged it down.
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  10. Axle-Starweilder Force Ghost

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    agreed. and i thought of that too after i made the post, i just didn't want to start hurling the lightning bolts. they made a good joke about all of the political crap in the simpsons once too when the AT-AT bust in to the senate chamber and started to read off its list of grievances. at any rate, yeah. i guess they threw all of that in there to show how the galaxy tumbled from a place of rules and policy and order into a galactic struggle and basically a civil war. but, all the same, nobody wants to sit in a theatre and watch all that. you never get those minutes back.
  11. LawJedi Force Ghost

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    I wish @The-Eternal-Hero was here. He would have a ton to contribute to this topic.

    And I wish I had the power to summon someone by merely saying their name.
  12. Darth Chiznuk E7 Casting Contest Host

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    Can we please not get into a prequel debate here?
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  13. Axle-Starweilder Force Ghost

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    it was bound to happen, bro. and there was nothing any of us could do about it.




    and i summoned ken kenobi the other day by just saying his name. it was a mini-adventure!!!
    Last edited by Axle-Starweilder, Feb 23, 2013
  14. Buddha Fett Chosen One

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    Did you try looking in the mirror and saying it three times? :p Sorry, stay on topic...
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  15. Darth Chiznuk E7 Casting Contest Host

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    I agree that it would be very interesting to see the end of one journey and the beginning of a new one in Episode VII (although I would like Luke to survive until Episode IX.)

    You're right about that but rich or poor the hero ventures out into an unknown world full of trials and lessons. Again training to be a Jedi from birth and then going out on a first mission or whatever doesn't fit IMO. It's not much a a journey if you've been training to do this your whole life. It will be very interesting to see how the writers handle this.
  16. Reveen Jedi Grand Master

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    I've never been convinced that the hero's journey showing up in alot of stories is as mind blowing a concept as people think it is.

    Guy goes out into the big world, learns stuff, and surmounts obstacles. Of course people are going to write about this, it's how life works.
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  17. Axle-Starweilder Force Ghost

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    there's still a wealth of untrammeled planets in the film series. and we could be gaining access to the protagonist's journey at the onset of their jedi training if that is to be the basis. it really wouldn't be hard for the monomyth to be figured into all of this, really. most stories find themselves following this pattern quite unconsciously even.
  18. Darth Chiznuk E7 Casting Contest Host

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    Just like TPM and ANH but unlike those two stories the protagonist has parent(s) who are powerful Jedi Masters. So I'm not saying the story won't start out with the beginning of their training but it is the way they are just beginning that intrigues me.
  19. Axle-Starweilder Force Ghost

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    maybe it's about cade skywalker!?!?!?
  20. Darth Chiznuk E7 Casting Contest Host

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    A character like him would work quite well IMO. Someone who is hiding from their legacy and destiny. Something happens and they're drawn into the larger conflict for they are little prepared for.
  21. Trebor Sabreon Force Ghost

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    Well, that's part of the argument, yes? That the basis of legend and myth is imprinted in out DNA? Thus it's appeal as a tool in storytelling?
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  22. Darth Chiznuk E7 Casting Contest Host

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    Exactly, TreborSabreon. This discussion doesn't just have to just be about how to fit the monomyth into the ST. It can be about Joseph Campbell, his influence on the SW universe, the importance of the monomyth, etc. Many discussions to be had.
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  23. Leias_Left_Bun Jedi Master

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    Well I'm a huge Joseph Campbell fan, so this is right up my alley.

    Disclaimer: I think the main character will be a young man. But I would love to be wrong about that.

    I don't think they're going to go with any EU characters (and I stopped reading the EU a few years ago so I'm not familiar with Cade) but the basic scenario that we discussed earlier -- a Skywalker or Solo child who is hiding from his legacy and suppressing his force-powers because he is afraid of turning into another Vader -- fits very well. Whether the main hero is a Solo or a Skywalker, his grandfather was still Darth Vader. I actually see it as the mirror-image of Luke's journey. Luke started out as an "average" farm boy who longed for greatness and adventure. Our new protagonist can start out as someone who was born into greatness, apparently destined for greatness, but all he wants is to be a regular person.

    It doesn't matter so much what socioeconomic background the main character comes from. The main story is about transformation of consciousness. Through trails and revelations, the hero becomes a completely different person than he was at the beginning. When he gets called to the adventure, he can be a reluctant hero or an eager hero. But either way, he learns important lessons along the way and becomes a different person as a result.

    If you haven't already seen "The Power of Myth" series with Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers, I would strongly recommend it. Especially the fist installment, "The Hero's Adventure." You can see it here:

    Last edited by Leias_Left_Bun, Feb 23, 2013
  24. LunarMoth Force Ghost

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    Yeah, basically what is refferenced is just saying that the hero is called away from whatever "normal" is to them.
  25. Leias_Left_Bun Jedi Master

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    It's all a matter of perception. Of course the hero's journey echos what we all go through in life. That's why it resonates. The very fact that it's a common story -- told in an uncommon way -- is what gives the story its power in the first place. Although fictional heroes rarely fail, whereas in real life, would-be heroes fail all the time.

    It's like when you look at a beautiful sunset. Some people will look at the sunset and see something that is mind-blowing -- the incredibly beauty of nature and the power of the eternal cycle of day and night. Others will look at a sunset and think, "Meh. I see that every day, so what?" It's all in how you look at it.
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