To What Extent Did the Book Hero with a Thousand Faces Influence the Sci-Fi Fantasy Film Genre, Specifically George Lucas’s Star Wars Trilogy?

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Introduction

A hero goes forth from his familiar life into a world of the supernatural; difficulties are encountered which the hero conquers; and he returns home to celebrate with his friends. You may think you know what sci-fi/fantasy movie I’m talking about. But what I was actually describing is the book Hero With a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell. Because when it comes down to it, almost all sci-fi and fantasy movies follow the same basic pattern, the “Monomyth” described in Campbell’s book. The Monomyth is the core of all mythology; the central concept is that of the Hero’s Journey- seventeen steps/points that the plot will almost unfailingly incorporate, separated into three sections: “Departure”, “Initiation”, and “Return”. Put
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He must face a long period of obscurity (301), as Luke did, growing up in isolation, unaware of his true identity and destiny. Then the true character is revealed; “The emergence of powers hitherto excluded from human life” (304). In Luke’s case the “power” that emerges is his ability to control the Force.
Luke, being the ultimate hero, possesses the rare qualities of a Hero as a Saint. A Hero as a Saint is “Endowed with a pure understanding, restraining the self …abandoning love and hatred…controlling speech and body, and mind, ever engaged in meditation…he becomes worthy of becoming one with the imperishable” (327). And that is pretty much the definition of a Jedi. Although Luke does give up romantic love when he becomes a Jedi, he does not abandon the familial love that for his sister Leia and good friend Han Solo. The figurative aspect of a Hero as a Saint is the idea that the hero becomes immortal. Combined with immortality is the statement that the Saints have “stepped away from the realm of forms, into that of an incarnation” (328). This means that the hero transcends above his prior physical representation; and while this does not happen to Luke in the trilogy, we know it will eventually from watching the deaths of other Jedi, such as Kenobi and Yoda. When the Jedi die their corpses disappear and they become spirits, higher beings, as seen in Kenobi’s and

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