DEFEND YOUR MOVES PRESENTS:
THE ULTIMATE STAR WARS FAN THEORY!!!!!
Intro | Synchronicity | Episode IX | Civilized Age | Epic Poetry | Jedi Steps
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The entire Defend Your Moves staff are BIG TIME Star Wars guys from way back.
We have never seen a Star Wars movie we didn’t like.
With the Skywalker Saga coming to a close this year, we wanted to take a minute to shout out all the Star Wars haters in our lives. We see yall out there. It's time to come home.
A lot of people these days say they loved the old Star Wars, but hate the new ones. We always find this preposterous since they’re all the same.
Each Episode parallels and references the previous ones in specific, calculated ways through themes, plot lines, cinematography, and music. Not only that, but most of these references and most of the major plot points are synchronized - appearing at the same time in each film - so that the exact same story is told at the exact same pace.
The fact that people can watch the Prequel and Sequel films and come away thinking that new writers or directors had departed in some major way from George Lucas’s vision is actually a testament to those filmmakers’ genius
There are three essential principles to DYM's Ultimate Star Wars Fan Theory:
First, we begin by looking at the (1) synchronicity between the Trilogies. Then, within the instances of synchronicity, we will see how each of the Trilogies deals with the same dramatic themes in increasingly sophisticated ways. Next, we will conceded that Star Wars has changed over the years, but c'mon, (2) you shoulda changed too, dontcha think? Then, once we're done ad homineming all you straw-men, we'll return to what all three Trilogies have in common - (3) They are all the same story, and it’s the best story ever.
PART 1: SYNCHRONICITY
The first principle of our Ultimate Star Wars Fan Theory is the trilogies are synchronized. They tell the same story with the major plot points appearing at the same time in each film - so that the story is told at the exact same pace every time.
Mike Klimo's "Star Wars Ring Theory" (starwarsringtheory.com) is an exhaustive analysis of the myriad examples of synchronicity between the Original and Prequel Trilogies. Ring Theory also explains why Episode I imitates Episode VI and III mirrors IV. You can click over to his site for the full treatment of his theory, but that's the thesis right there. DYM's analysis has found that the Sequel Trilogy (thus far) adds far more depth while strengthening his argument considerably.
Klimo's probably chomping at the bit to get Episode IX on digital so he can complete The Ring. There's no way he hasn't already picked up on the Sequel's continuation along the path he laid out. He's probably gonna wait a while to digest the whole new Trilogy before he commits to anything.
BUT NOT US!!! Only thing we keep under our hat is this silky head of hair. DYM Scholars know we calls em how we sees em, and if we got an big idea you're gonna hear about it, right or wrong. Shooters gotta shoot, and we're feeling like JJ Redick right about now.
So, without further to do, let's start with a look at some of the scenes Klimo culled from the Original and Prequel Trilogies and see how they play out in the Sequel Trilogy.
Act 1: Arcane and Esoteric References
Klimo has many more examples of things that happen at the same time in New Hope and Revenge of the Sith, some even more arcane than these. We found many more examples too, which we'll get back to in Part 5.
First, here's a few of our favorites - Some are meaningfully tied into one of the major themes of the films, and others are really just for fun. Like this one:
The New Ship
At the 21 minute mark of Episodes IV, III, and VII a pilot pilot boards a strange ship. His partner then asks something to the effect of: “Do you know how to fly this thing?”
The pilots all do know how to fly this new ship, but their results are mixed.
At the end of the first hour, a snitch contacts the authorities and informs them of a fugitive's location.
This is one of the neat little role-reversals that helps set the tone in the Prequels. Obi-Wan was the fugitive in the Original and becomes the authorities in the Prequel.
Hiding from troopers
At 1:25 of Episode IV and III Obi-Wan is back on the wrong side of the law.
Rey's scene comes in about ten minutes later, but it looks exactly like Obi-Wan's Death Star scene. These scenes in Episdoes IV and VII both end with an old man catching a lightsaber in the gut with exactly 33 minutes left.
Apply Directly to the Forehead
The hero falls down. A friend comes to their aid and immediately places a hand on the hero’s forehead.
These three don't happen at even close to same times but still, it's weird right?
Act 2: Love & War
The principal themes of the second act of each Trilogy (Empire Strikes Back, Attack of the Clones, and Last Jedi) are love and war. This is an interesting set piece for any sequel or second chapter where, in the heat of battle, familiar friends become lovers and familiar enemies become more entrenched. But Star Wars takes the opportunity to play out the themes three times in contrasting settings. All three films treat both themes in their own unique way. But The Last Jedi makes the most profound statement, while paying a touching tribute to the late Carrie Fisher.
All three films feature battle scenes at the beginning and at the end with contrasting visual styles - one large-scale and intense, the other smaller and more subdued. The war scenes all feature Luke or Anakin winning the day on the strength of their lightsabers. That's significant, as we’ll see the weapon is employed quite differently in each film. The way the weapon is used pointedly indicates the ways the characters have grown throughout the saga. In short:
Young Luke rushes into a fight alone, before he’s ready, and loses.
Anakin depends on his friends’ help, and wins.
Old Luke wins without fighting at all.
The opening of Episode II has Obi-Wan and Anakin rescuing Padme from an assassin. They catch the assassin in a bar and Obi-Wan cuts off one of her hands. This clearly mirrors the final scene in Empire where Luke attempts to rescue Leia and Han only to have his hand cut off by Vader.
Clones' final battle takes place in an arena on the mountainous desert planet of Geonosis - a clear contrast to both Hoth and Crait.
The battles of Hoth and Crait begin with a series of nearly identical establishing shots.
When a Resistance soldier instpects the white substance covering Crait's ground and informs us that it is salt (not snow), this is a clear message to the audience that all the similarities we see between Crait and Hoth are only surface deep.
The opening battle scene in Last Jedi (the Dreadnaught battle) looks nothing like this and Luke is not there. But curiously, the film cuts away from the battle to look in on Luke and Rey from minute 20-26. Here Luke says a line that ironically echoes a line from minute 25 in Empire, which also foreshadows his eventual role in the Battle of Crait.
There is a pattern to the way the scenes are synchronized across the Trilogies. Following this pattern, it's clear that Luke's subdued scene with Rey, not the raucous Dreadnaught battle, is meant to be the parallel to the War scenes of the previous two films. Just like Poe taunts General Hux as a distraction before the attack on the Dreadnaught, that enitre war scene is merely a distraction from the scene that delivers a message about war.
The War sequence plays out as:
First, Luke rushes in to a fight and takes down a Walker with his lightsaber (Walkers enter @ 26'). Later he rushes to fight, and lose, a lightsaber duel (26' from the end).
Next, Anakin is aided by Obi-Wan's lightsaber (24'). Later by he is aided again by a legion of lightsabers when the Jedi army attacks Geonosis (22' from the end).
Last, Luke refuses to fight during the first battle ("Time for the Jedi to end" spoken @ 26'). Later, he appears at the battle only to reveal he had kept his promise, and wins while still refusing to fight (20' from the end).
The original and Prequel versions offered diametrically opposed images of battles. The Last Jedi subverts them both by removing Luke from the physical battle and instead highlighting his internal struggle with the morality of violence in general.
By winning the battle, and saving his family NON-VIOLENTLY, Luke has learned lessons from his past mistakes and truly transformed himself into a Classical Hero with the power to transform his world as well.
All of the war scenes described above are book-ended by the love scenes we will describe below - the love scenes we found in each film appear immediately after the first battles, and immediately before the last.
There is a budding romance in all three films (Leia+Han; Padme+Anakin; Rose+Finn) where the couple begins the film at odds with one another, then they find each other during an off-world venture, and finally kiss at the end just before the climactic battle scene.
They all fit this pattern, but there are complicating factors in The Last Jedi. Last Jedi actually has multiple romantic soirees with overlapping entanglements. Rose+Finn follows the same basic arc as Leia+Han and Padme+Anakin. Finn warms up to Rose and she does kiss him on time. But, he also pines after Rey throughout Episodes VII and VIII. Rey does not initially reject Finn (actually seems to like him a lot), but the circumstances at the end of Force Awakens keeps them apart for most of Last Jedi (she goes to find Luke while Finn's unconscious). While Rey is away she reaches out to Kylo Ren, who embraces her affections at first, only to be rejected by her at the end.
Leia+Han and Padme+Anakin are tortured romances, and the romantic web of Last Jedi is exponentially more tortured. This is why it is so interesting that following the pattern of synchronized scenes through Last Jedi bring us to a different type of love scene altogether:
While escaping Hoth, Leia bickers with Han over the Falcon's ongoing mechanical issues (34'). Later, Leia kisses Han then says “I love you” (32' from the end), just before the lightsaber duel.
After the bounty hunter is dispatched, Padme rejects Anakin's first romantic advances (29'). Later, Padme says “I love you” then kisses Anakin (38' from the end), just before the lightsaber battle.
At the end of the Dreadnaught battle, we get a shot of Leia alone, reaching out to her son with the force (30'). Later we get another shot of Leia alone, waiting for her son to arrive on Crait (35' from the end) before the final battle.
The first thing to notice is the continuing subterfuge Last Jedi employs against the audience:
In the War sequence, the Dreadnaught battle becomes an afterthought once Luke pays off his promise to not fight. The Dreadnaught presents a more obtuse parallel with the other large-scale battle scenes, but carefully watching the scene leads us directly to Luke's words to Rey.
Likewise the Rose+Finn romance is an eye-catching corallary to the other two love stories. Like Leia+Han, and Padme+Anakin, they are driven into each other's arms amongst the terrifying backdrop of galactic war. But we realize it is a red herring when Leia appears at exactly 30 minutes into the film. Thus when we line up the three films side-by-side, another message emerges. While the war had sparked the passions of young lovers, The Last Jedi's Leia (once the young lover, now the wizened mother) becomes introspective in the heat of battle and refocuses on the most important relationship in her life: Mother and Child. An expression of a mother's love - the purest love of all, helps make Last Jedi a true sublimation of Episodes II and V.
Act 3: COMING SOON!!!
PART 2: EPISODE IX PREVIEW
Episode IX Concept Art
Every new Star Wars is made to appeal to a new generation. So of course when Disney shook up the production team for Episode IX last year, the first thing they did was reach out to the trend-setters and taste-makers here at DYM. They already knew Episode IX was gonna be VERY in our wheelhouse. Based on the pattern set out in Part 1, Rise of Skywalker would have to hit many of the same notes as our two FAVORITE Star Wars - Phantom Menace and Return of the Jedi.
In this Worldwide DYM Exclusive - we have finally been permitted to release the 'concept art' storyboard we brought to our sit-downs with Kathy and JJ. We're excited to see how much of our stuff makes the final cut.
These films all open with a hooded figure entering a long, empty hallway.
Here, we see Jedi Master Hoody Melo entering Lifetime Fitness trying to get a pick-up game at 2pm on a Wednesday.
Exactly 9 minutes into each film is a hologram.
Hoody Melo has sent our heroes on a quest to Coachella to study the prophecy imparted to them by Hologram Tupac.
Next our heroes stand before a monstrously obese and moist looking overlord.
This one’s kind of a slam dunk, either him or Mike Francesca would work here too.
The heroes have a non-human companion who gets them in trouble while eating purloined food.
In Episode IX our heroes are ROLLIN OUT in search of the galaxy’s GREATEST diners, drive-ins and dives!!
Then a militia of primitive non-humans helps win a battle against a technologically advanced army.
Caeser's sage leadership would be a great addition here, but Koba was the real military mind (RIP, Koba). Caeser’ll have to hope Master Hoody Melo can get that shield generator down in time.
Pod Racing was hardbody. But for Episode IX they’ll take it to the whole nother level.
Jedi Master Dom Torreto no longer feels The Force, only the speed and the rush.
In the end, someone must say goodbye to their family as they prepare to cross the "final threshold."
In this touching scene, our guy Juju puts on a tough face but we know he's crying inside just like Shmi and Leia were..
Dramatic Themes for Episodes I & IX
DYM Readers know The Phantom Menace has always been our favorite Star Wars ever since we first saw it 20 years ago (our old favorite was Return of the Jedi). Phantom Menace has, in our opinion, the most powerful themes and the most light-hearted fun of any Star Wars.
Now, since we know The Rise of Hoodie Melo is destined to re-imagine all of these same magical elements, there's a good chance that DYM could be getting ourselves a New Favorite Star Wars later this year. We were very happy to see how many images the first trailer for Episode IX lifted directly from the 1999 trailer for The Phantom Menace.
Both trailers open with the same phrase “Every generation has a legend…” then Episode I continues with “Every saga has a beginning” and Episode IX states “Every saga has an end.” They both cut to a barren desert scene. A vehicle approaches at incredibly high speed. The pod racer moves across the screen from left to right (beginning to end), the TIE fighter enters from right to left (from the end, returning to the beginning). These are overt, explicit references and there is surely much more to come in the film itself.
At this point we get that Episode IX will look like Episodes I and VI. But if you're wondering what The Rise of Hoodie Melo is really gonna be about, we can look back at some of the unique themes that Episode I introduced, but were not found as explicitly in any other Star Wars film. Interestingly, it seems that the first two acts of the Sequel Trilogy have set up nicely for these themes to come back into play:
Slavery - Anakin's introduction as a child slave is a far harsher image than the one of Luke as an outcast. This harshness reverberates throughout the saga. When Qui-Gon, the most independently forthright of all Jedi, is initially reluctant to emancipate Anakin, the entire order is painted as cold and lacking in empathy, an image that plagues them throughout. But Anakin is interested in more than his own freedom, declaring more than once that he intends to return home someday to "free all the slaves."
The slavery dynamic disappears from the Saga all the way up until The Sequels. When we meet Rey, she is laboring in a sort of indentured servitude on a planet remarkably similar to Anakin's. Then in The Last Jedi we see child slaves again on Canto Bight. Many critics point to this scene - specifically Rose and Finn relishing in liberating the fathiers (horse-dogs) but not the enslaved stable boys - as one of the Last Jedi's greatest failures. There is certainly an opportunity for redemption, as the final scene of The Last Jedi strongly suggests we have not seen the last of "broom boy."
Prophecy - We don't think it's a coincidence that the prophecy at the center of the plot of The Phantom Menace, "the chosen one, who will bring balance to The Force", is first alluded to in Return of the Jedi (this scene also has one of the rare utterances of the name "Anakin" in the Original Trilogy). Obi-Wan tells Luke it is his "destiny" to destroy the Sith, the same destiny that Qui-Gon believed to lay before Anakin. In The Last Jedi, Snoke stops short of saying the words "prophecy" or "destiny" but does speak of foreseen but misunderstood visions of the future. Once again the subject of his divination is "balance" in the force. Which tees up another opportunity for Episode IX to have Rey (or broom boy!!) complete what Anakin began.
Balance - The significance of ‘balance’ is mostly plainly exemplified in the climactic scene of The Last Jedi.
Snoke addresses Rey and Kylo: "I warned my young apprentice that as he grew stronger, his equal in the light would rise."
He believes that the will of The Force demands balance and will not allow dark energy to exist without light, nor vice-versa.
Kylo turns on Snoke in the midst of this chastising speech. Then he and Rey fight Snoke's guards together. It seems that working together makes them stronger - In this frenetic scene Kylo and Rey together are the most ferocious and unstoppable fighting team we have seen in any Star Wars film. When the fight is over they both reach for Anakin’s lightsaber and for that one moment we see perfect balance.
This is the last time Rey and Kylo see each other in Espiode VIII
Duality (symbiosis) - Rey and Kylo are the latest in a long line of dynamic duos in Star Wars:
3PO & R2, Han & Chewie, Vader & the Emperor, even the twin suns of Tatooine are deeply symbolic. People generally point to C-3PO and R2-D2 as the achetypal Apollo and Artemis of the Saga - R2 is brave, brash, and sarcastic, while 3PO is self-serious, cautious, and incessantly nagging. But with limited interaction between these two, Episode I manages to deal with the 'duality' theme much more explicitly than any other. It discuss the "symbiotic" nature of different organisms (twice!!), which is in fact the basis for the power of The Force itself (midi-chlorians). And we are introduced to Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan who also have a sort of symbiotic relationship with each other, where each performs an essential function that the other depends on. They contrast and complement each other to give us a fuller idea of The Jedi order and The Force itself. They express a duality within The Force that goes beyond Light vs Dark. Rey and Kylo have each felt the call of the Light and Dark sides of The Force. The next step may be for them to move beyond that old duality together.
The Living Force - Growing up with the Original Trilogy we always wanted to see a fully trained Jedi in his prime, and we weren’t trying to read a bunch of Legends books cause we’re not nerds. So, that’s the main thing we wanted to see when the Prequels came out. We would have to wait until Attack of the Clones for a full-scale lightsaber battle, but Episode I gave us something much more powerful.
With Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan, we got two Jedi who, through their two markedly different approaches to the Force, demonstrate two very different world-views and senses of self.
Obi-Wan is dogmatic* in his obedience of the Jedi Council and Code. Along with the most other Jedi of this era, Obi-Wan is more attuned to the "Cosmic Force" which is the organizing principle of life in the universe. Through the midi-chlorians who "speak" to the Jedi, they experience the "will of the force" in extra sensory perceptions and premonitions of the future. To know the Cosmic Force is to know The Truth. It is how Jedi make rational sense of the world. Abiding by the ways of the Cosmic Force, Obi-Wan is the sober-minded objectivist, the pragmatist of the Jedi.
Qui-Gon, on the other hand is something of a bohemian to the Jedi. He is fiercely independent and self-reliant. He seeks out the "Living Force" which is a natural energy permeating the galaxy and all living things. It surrounds us at all times and it's source is life itself. Practitioners of the Living Force must remain mentally present, and learn through observation. Following the Living Force, Qui-Gon does not seek to rationalize The Force's will only to follow where it leads. He does not try to manipulate The Force's will either, refusing to use his "powers" to resolve issues that ought to play themselves out naturally.
Just as Jedi derive their clairvoyance and telekinetic abilities from their connection to the Cosmic Force, The Living Force imbued Qui-Gon with unique powers as well. His claim to fame is he was the first modern Jedi to become a Force Ghost. Qui-Gon's connection to The Living Force allowed him to "become one with" it after death. Fortunately, Qui-Gon’s teachings did not die with him. He would later impart the secrets of this ability to Yoda and Obi-Wan. Forever impacting the course of the Saga. That’s the main reason why Qui-Gon is still #1 in the DYM Jedi Power Rankings (updated 5/25/19).
The Episode IX trailer ended with Palpatine's unmistakable laugh, which was so prominent that we would not be surprised if Force Ghosts played an even more pivotal role in IX than they did in Last Jedi.
*NOTE: Jedi Dogma
A few characters in the Prequels are critical of the Jedi’s dogmatic clinging to the rules of their Order. The idea of "Jedi Dogma" always seemed counter-intuitive to us as well:
If The Force speaks to the individual Jedi at all times and gives them personal insights into The Truth, what use would they have for rigorous traditions and dogma?
There is a similar dis-congruence in the duality of The Force presented in The Phantom Menace. The Jedi of the Republic era favor the Cosmic Force, it is their "official" view of The Force. The irony is that the Cosmic Force is cultivated in the Jedi through meditation and "reaching out with your feelings," while the Living Force speaks to those most empirically "focused on the here and now." By our “modern” standards, The Living Force ought to be considered the more objective and even handed, yet it is treated as fanciful and out dated by the Jedi of the Prequels.
Setting aside this apparent contradiction, it is important to notice that the holder of the accepted establishment view of The Force (Obi-Wan) is the one who survives Episode I and becomes the wise mentor of the rest of the Prequels. Qui-Gon’s spirit of rebellion essentially died with him. Qui-Gon was a short-lived role model for Anakin who inherited his master's fearlessness and independence. But when Anakin became the enemy of the Jedi, not a positive force for change from within, the Jedi Dogma was justified in remaining the dominant philosophy of The Force. From there it has continued to filter our view of The Force as a whole all the way up until the Sequels. Only now do we see uninitiated force-wielders like Rey and broom-boy. Here we also see the "Last Jedi," Luke, reject the Code outright, while remaining a force for good. So in this sense, we suppose, the critics are right to say that Star Wars did change quite a lot after the turn of the 21st Century.
PART 3: "A MORE CIVILIZED AGE"
In the first section above, we established the first principle of The Ultimate Star Wars Fan Theory - the calculated synchronicity between the trilogies. Within the instances of synchronicity, we also began to identify ways the Trilogies have changed - we see the same themes treated in increasingly mature ways. That's the second principle of our theory, and the topic of this section.
Which brings us back to our initial thesis:
It's preposterous that some people love the old Star Wars and hate the new ones.
Now, in real life when people tell us they "don't like Star Wars anymore because it changed," we usually don't hit em with the "Synchronicity" part first. What we usually want to say is: "You shoulda changed by now too, dontcha think?"
So when we said "every new Star Wars is made to appeal to a new generation" we don't really mean the stories are ripped from the days headlines. Rather, every new* Star Wars conveys the Saga's ongoing intellectual development - the same sort of development the audience presumably undergoes over the years as well.
As people grow, there is a basic pattern to the way our minds develop. The rough overview we'll describe here is more-or-less the accepted view of western science and philosophy since Plato (see "Allegory of the Cave" here). This is the way we conceptualize the development of our intellectual faculties over the course of our lives. But in another way, on a micro-level, we follow this same psychological process any time we learn new concepts or skills:
Experiencing something new always begins with confusion, and we interpret things we don't understand at first through images and metaphors.
At some point we begin to notice patterns, we now can begin to extrapolate concepts from the particular examples we have seen.
Finally, a formal understanding is reached, where we behold more complex ideas and reflect on their relationships to other ideas.
The father to our style of poetic irony here at DYM, the great Giambatista Vico, gave an artful account of this development pattern (in 1725) in “The New Science.” He masterfully combines both the macro and micro level phenomena we just described in a "Philosophy of History" which describes the evolution of the human mind as expressed in the changes in civilizations thoughout history. He identifies three distinct eras of humanity as the Ancient, Medieval, and Civil eras.
The corollaries between the three modes of intellect, Vico’s three eras, and the three Star Wars Trilogies will be quite clear.
Vico's formulation characterizes each of the three eras in three ways:
Each of the three eras is distinguished by a predominant intellectual bent or “school of thought” (Imagination for the ancients; objectivity for the middle ages; reflection for the civil age).
The nations of each era take on distinctive forms of civic order and government (theocracy, monarchy, democracy).
The literature of each era is marked by a characteristic figure of speech (metaphor, synecdoche, irony).
These eras repeat throughout history in cycles as civilizations rise and fall. For instance - the fall of the civil age is what he calls a "barbarism of reflection." Where devastating wars are fought over material gains instead of for any moral cause. (Huh.) Through the corso and ricorso of time (cycle and counter-cycle), the height of reasoned reflection will always be succeeded by a return to imagination and myth.
You may experience this cycle within your own mind many times over during your lifetime. The experience is described, quite unintentionally, by Obi-Wan early on in the first Star Wars film:
On Tatooine, old-man Obi-Wan lives in the barbaric "ancient" times. When he introduces the lightsaber to Luke, he calls it "an elegant weapon for a more civilized age ... before the dark times." Of course the Republic Era was cold and brutal in ways Obi-Wan is well aware of. A little later in the film, he won't be shy about publicly dismembering people with that "elegant weapon.” Then, in Episode III we'll see that that was a go-to move back in his "more civilized age." But now in this "ancient age" of the Original Trilogy, his experience is defined by mystery and confusion, and no one feels more out of place here than the sober, rational Obi-Wan. His disposition is clearly more suited to the Medieval Age of Objectivity in the Prequels.
The real message here is that old people, taken aback by the way things have changed during their lifetime, will always believe that the world used to be "more civilized" back when they better understood their place within it.
Original Trilogy: Ancient Age of Imagination
In Vico's account of the "ancient age," people understood the physical world primarily through the imagination. Without even rudimentary scientific explanations for their world, they crafted mythological tales as a way of describing their experience* of that world. They understood themselves and their own minds better the rest of the things around them. So, they imagined gods as the motive forces of the nature, and made those gods in their own likeness: “for when man understands he extends his mind and takes in the things, but when he does not understand he makes the things out of himself and becomes them by transforming himself into them.” (Vico 405).
The defining trait of ancient language is metaphor - describing what is not seen by representing it abstractly with a more familiar image.
The civic and political order of the first age is Theocracy. So, embracing your community's religious symbols and traditions is the primary rite of passage in ancient social and civic life.
The Original Trilogy clearly represents this ancient age of metaphor.
This part of the connection is simple, since George Lucas painstakingly incorporated so many classical mythological images into the Original films (more on that in the next section).
But there are more contextual indications as well:
In A New Hope the Jedi are literally a myth, they no longer exist, and their order is a relic of a forgotten past. The most powerful force-wielder in the galaxy wears a mask at all times.
Nonetheless, Luke ventures to become a Jedi when there are no others. Luke must represent the Power of the Force entirely in his own person. He must become the hero (the god) in order to survive in a world ruled by mysterious forces.
The Force is referred to as a ‘hokey religion’, yet it is clear that those who abide by its traditions rise to the greatest levels of power.
Prequel Trilogy: Medieval Age of Objectivity
The Second Age of man is defined by people with a more objective bent, but an incomplete understanding of that which they see. In this age people seek to understand the universal laws of nature, but objectivity without formal concepts leads them not to a scientific understanding, but a simplified projection of their imediate observations. So their language relied on simile and synecdoche - taking a particular instance as representative of the universal. Thus it is the age of monarchies and feudalism - where the Lord's will is said to be "the will of the people". It is a violent and oppressive time with draconian punishments for petty crimes, institutionalized duels, and the guiding legal principle is might-makes-right. All this is due to the mental habit of elevating the one above the many, and thereby ignoring that which is not seen: “Thus the term 'mortals' was originally and properly applied only to men, as the only beings whose mortality there was any occasion to notice.” (Vico 407)
The Prequel Trilogy is the medieval age of objectivity.
The Prequels look markedly different from the Originals because they were shot almost entirely on green-screen sets. The CGI characters look objectively more real than the bulky costumes and animatronics of the originals, but the alien worlds and spacescapes we see in the films are actually computer generated facsimiles. They are only a rendering of an image of the real world.
In the Prequels:
We see Vader (Anakin) without a mask. He is real, the Jedi are real, the Sith are real. In fact, the entire galaxy is dominated by its most powerful force-wielders.
Jedi dogma is a contentious issue, where the Jedi are accused of inserting their own will as the will of The Force. The Jedi are embedded in the legislative bureaucracy of the Republic, and are the chief law enforcers. We see the wisdom of the ancients (as prophecy and visions of the future) questioned by both Jedi and Sith alike. There is a cold calculus at play in both the Jedi’s pragmatism and Palpatine’s criticism of the Jedi.
Anakin, the ostensible hero, tends to make choices based on emotions that rise in him in response to cursory impressions of the world, without a greater perception of right and wrong. His ill-begotten choices make Episodes II and III are the most brutal, and bleak of all Star Wars films.
This objectively realistic portrayal of Jedi life does help advance the Saga by making it's moral messages more accessible to modern audiences. Instead of the Jedi being remembered gloriously through the rose-tinted glasses of their legend, we see the full power of the Jedi in the Prequels and also their failings. In The Prequels we can learn from observing the Jedi's mistakes. As Lindsay Romain wrote in a recent Medium post: "Repression of love and sex is what killed the Jedi. That is fact. Anakin’s great love for Padme — a forbidden romantic love—drove him to madness, and ultimately, to the destruction of the order that claimed to be above such frailties. That was the lesson of the prequels: that silencing your humanity is to annihilate it."
Sequel Trilogy: Civilized Age of Reflection
The Third Age is defined by formal understanding and reflection.
The figure of speech that distinguishes civilized discourse is irony - an intentionally false statement made to acknowedge the opposite as truth. Vico states that “irony could not have existed before the age of rationality” (Vico 977). This is because there is an assumption of shared knowledge implicit in ironic discourse. Both parties are presumed to be aware of the truth to such a degree that they immediately recognize it in a mirror image of falsehood. People of this age seek peace and balance, in part by using falsehood to serve the truth rather than to deceive. The guiding principle of the age is that knowledge should be shared by all. Education is our rite of passage. So the political organization of this age is Democracy. The spirit of sharing and balance puts the Third Age in accordance with “the natural law of nations” (Vico 978). This is the pinnacle of civilization, our final form.
The Sequel Trilogy is clearly Star Wars for the civilized age - if for no other reason, than because no hands are cut off.
Rey's independent "awakening" and the enigmatic appearance of "broom boy" indicate a sort of grass-roots democratization of powers The Force. Super-human abilities were once thought to be the exclusive domain of the Jedi and Sith orders. Now, in the Sequels, common people can have these powers now too (and perhaps those common people will be the heroes of Episode IX). The democratic aim of achieving balance and bringing opposite sides together is among the most central themes of the Sequels.
In the Last Jedi, Luke and Leia demonstrate that they have reached the age of reflection in their respective lives in the Love & War scenes we detailed above.
20 minutes into the film, Luke has an introspective moment on Ahch-to. Here he tells Rey that he has rejected the Jedi ways to follow his own non-violent path.
In the very next scene, Leia reaches out to her son with the force during the heat of battle. We see now that she knows what really matters to her, and what is worth "fighting" to save: Not the galactic conflict, not the passionate love affair, but her family.
Even Han, in The Force Awakens, shows us he has reached a finality of understanding when he tells Rey that he has come to learn that "it's all true" - a fact the audience was ironically aware of all along.
The Sequel films are replete with this sort of dramatic irony. Dramatic irony is when characters act without knowledge of something that the audience (and/or another characters) is aware of. The most overt example is in our introduction to Finn in Force Awakens. After helping Poe escape from the First Order, Finn blunders his way through his first encounters with the rest of our heroes. Rey takes him for a hapless, try-hard Resistance member, but BB, Han, and Chewie are dubious - and the audience knows full well that he's a fraud.
This is our favorite part right here:
Top Secret. Nice work, Finn.
Rey, like Luke, grew up hearing the legends of the Jedi in the prior era. Unlike Luke, she knows all the stories and characters very well, and even has the opportunity to meet her idols. The audience knows them too, so we are well aware of why Han is rankled by Rey misquoting his Kessel Run record. In The Last Jedi, Rey tells Kylo she has seen his future and knows he will turn to the light. Ironically, Kylo replies that he believes she will turn and join him because he knows something she does not – her parents' identity.
Dramatic irony is foundational to the third act of an epic story like this as the audience is presumed to have some knowledge of the story coming in. In the Original and Prequel Trilogies we've already seen the Jedi perform incredible feats. We've even seen prodigies in The Force, like Anakin, who perform incredible feats without any formal training. Having come this far with the Saga already, the audience is aware of Rey's potential in The Force before she is. This allows her to advance very quickly without betraying our suspension of disbelief. Within the first two films she has reached the full potential we know to expect from her - in The Last Jedi she moves much bigger rocks than Luke ever did in the Originals, and is a more advanced martial artist. She is now poised to surpass all her former masters and become Star Wars' greatest hero.
*NOTE: The Right Order
People always wanna know what's the right order to watch Star Wars movies. Honestly, we're not sure. We don't really think there's any wrong orders.
Personally, we always enjoy a classic "chronological" rotation: 1, 2, Clone Wars, 3, Rebels, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, (9) (Hit those links for DYM's key episodes of Clone Wars and Rebels. They're highly recommended for the full Skywalker Saga experience). But you can't really go wrong. As of now, the boy's only seen 6, 7, 1, and 5 and he's no worse for wear. It's actually a pretty simple story, kids get it.
But there is a "certain point of view" to the principles of our Ultimate Star Wars Fan Theory, and so it does demand a certain order. Ours is the internets' only true Fan Theory, because it is a theory about the fans.
Our theory is all about the audience's impressions of the films:
It's about why we love Star Wars so much, and why some of yall don't love Star Wars that much anymore.
It's about why Star Wars matters, and why our opinions about Star Wars matter.
It's about the journey that we go on with the Saga.
This is why we are considering the films in the order they were released - the order the gods gave them to us. In this sense, the CORRECT order to watch Star Wars is 4, 5, 6, 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, (9).
PART 4: THE EPIC POETRY OF THE TRILOGIES
It is preposterous for people who love old Star Wars to hate the new ones because they're all the same. Every new Star Wars is a meticulously engineered recreation of the Original Trilogy.
But, it still remains to be asked: What was so good about Star Wars in the first place? Why would it be worthwhile to make the same movie nine times? (Nine. Times.) To answer this we will go back to George Lucas's original endeavor to make a meticulously engineered recreation of The Best Story Ever.
The third and final principle of The Ultimate Star Wars Fan Theory is that the story of the Skywalker Saga is the one of the most important stories we can tell, because it is our story, the story of our lives.
George Lucas wrote The Skywalker Saga with the specific goal of creating a mythology for the modern age. He has stated this goal in many interviews and commentaries. This is from Star Wars: The Annotated Screenplays (1997):
“I had a longtime interest in fairy tales and mythology, that sort of thing. I had decided there was no modern mythology. I wanted to take old myths and put them into a new format that young people could relate to. Mythology always existed in unusual, unknown environments, so I chose space."
He was inspired by Joseph Campbell’s seminal 1949 book The Hero with a Thousand Faces (and even consulted with Campbell on the story outline). Campbell observes that the stories of nearly every legendary hero in the classic mythological pantheon had certain narrative set pieces in common. He called this the "monomyth" or Hero’s Journey.
Relying in large part on the work of Carl Jung, Campbell interprets ancient literature similarly to the way we described it above. Not as flighty fanciful tales, but descriptive accounts of people and their world. Myths are True Stories composed entirely of the metaphors of the imagination. The central key to Campbell’s analysis is Jung's most famous thesis - that ancient mythological narratives all sound the same, because the archetypes they employ represent of the very structure of the uncounscious mind.
So, the Hero’s Journey is, in the metaphor-laden language of the ancients, the story of your life. To your unconscious, any difficult situation you face is a "Call to Adventure." It could be getting a new job, running a marathon, or winning a fantasy football championship (obviously). This is the path you must walk:
You have a problem which forces you to try something new. The new experience is difficult in ways you hadn't anticipated. You may fail at first but you learn something about yourself along the way. What you learn changes you, and you eventually find that the new you is more capable of accomplishing your goal. Perhaps you'll be able to teach other people what you've learned as well.
So now you also know that every time you get stuck in traffic or step in dog shit, these are among the trials that all heroes must encounter on the road to glory.
That is what Star Wars is about.
Now, compare the mundane adventure we just described to Campbell's summary of the typical Hero's story arc:
“A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.”
Campbell identified the universal structure of hero stories as a series of specific symbolically significant events organized across 3 acts: The Departure, The Initiation, and The Return.
In the first act the heroes learns that there is much more to the world than what they see, they meet a guide who helps them learn more.
To be initiated into the mysteries, the hero must undergo a "metaphorphosis." To change themselves, the hero must face their greatest fears so, the second act becomes a journey of self-discovery.
The third act is the hero returning to the world they departed from in act 1. There have been many trials along the way - some failures and some successes. But the final victory in act 3 is decisive because the hero has brought their tranformitive power back to change (and save) the entire world.
In Hero with a Thousand Faces, Campbell gives us much more than an astract of the three-act drama. He idetifies 17* specific events that consistently occur in all Heroes' Journeys, and he describes the archetypal significance of each one. Every Star Wars Trilogy follows this exact outline - in fact, the essential plot points in every Star Wars are one of these 17 steps, all occuring in the same order that Campbell prescribed. His essential steps of the Hero's Journey are as follows:
Act 1 - Departure
The Call to Adventure
Refusal of the Call
Crossing the Threshold
Belly of the Whale
The Threshold Guardian
Act 2 - Initiation
7. The Road of Trials
8. The Meeting with the Goddess
9. Atonement with the Father
11. The Ultimate Boon
Act 3 - Return
12. Refusal of the Return
13. The Magic Flight
14. Rescue from Without
15. The Crossing of the Return Threshold
16. Master of Two Worlds
17. Freedom to Live
The specific steps of the Hero's Journey have been documented by numerous scholars with slight variations. The image below, for instance has the "Rescue from Without" in the second act instead of the third. It is clear that Lucas followed Campbell's version most closely, but illustrations like this can serve as a handy guide. Shout out to Google image search.
Act 1: The Epic Original
The original Star Wars was, for practical reasons, written so that it could stand on its own and still capture at least the rough outline of the Hero’s Journey. It was constructed in a classical "ring" structure such that the film ends with a reference to where it began (as the Hero metaphorically "returns" to the world): The first scene has Leia standing before Vader, refusing to give him something; the last scene has Leia standing before Luke, giving something to him. The first half of the movie is generally about Obi-Wan and Han helping Luke escape from his home; the second half is them helping Leia return home (or, failing that, to the Rebel base). The two halves are bifurcated by Luke taking his “first step into a larger world” exactly half-way through the film.
New Hope and Jedi have many parallels in storyline - like both journeys begin with R2-D2 and C-3PO going ahead of the heroes carrying a message, then both films end with the destruction of the Death Star. But they also contained mirror opposite images in the classic mythological style. Such that the first scene of Episode IV, where Leia was alone with Vader, is reflected in the end of Episode VI, where Luke is alone with Vader's burning funeral pyre. Now, in the trilogy, Luke begins his journey by losing his family (Aunt and Uncle) and ends it by finding his family (Sister and Father), with his self-revealing trip into the magic tree on Dagobah exactly half-way through the “second act” (Episode V).
Act 2: The Epic Prequel
The Prequel Trilogy sets a distinctly different tone from the uplifting heroism of the Originals. There is an uneasiness and tension, which signals that each of Anakin’s accomplishments is actually another step in his decent. Anakin's story is ostensibly a trajedy, not a typical Hero's Journey. But, remember that the Prequels are the "second act" of the Trilogy of Trilogies, so subterfuge and mystery abounds and this part of the story is not as straightforward as it seems.
The Prequels manage to recreate all 17 essential stages of the monomyth while still having a tragic end to Anakin's tale. They accomplish this by playing the "acts" of the monomyth in reverse - so that the steps of the first act take place in Episode III, and the third act steps take place in Episode I. Additionally, the three films shift the focus of the monomyth story arc to three different "Jouneys" in Anakin's life:
Anakin's place in the Saga is defined by his embrace of the Dark Side, and the destruction of the Jedi. This is his "Dearture." But he is not called to this adventure until Episode III, when Palpatine offers the "Supernatural Aid" (Act 1, step 3) to help save Padme's life.
Anakin also has a personal quest for Padme's affection which mostly plays out in Episode II. His road of trails is Padme's rejection. His apoethesis - when he becomes the god - is when Padme says "I love you." The highlight of the second act is the descent into The Abyss of self-discovery. Luke and Rey both enter an "Abyss" and see images of themselves within. Anakin's twisted version is his highly-Oedipal return to Tattooine. There, Anakin sees his mother, in real-life, as she dies in his arms. Oof.
To play out the uplifting steps of the third act, the focus is shifted to the Jedi tandem Qui-Gon & Obi-Wan. They are the heroes in this part of the story arc. Interestingly it seems that Anakin is now the object of the quest, not the hero. Episode I is the only Prequel film with a heroic victory and a "boon bestowed on humanity" (Act 3, step 17). Anakin - the chosen one - is that boon that changes the world for everyone.
Since New Hope and Return of the Jedi have so much in common already it would be easy enough to draw parallels between either of them and either Episode I or III. But, even beyond the prescribed Hero's Journey steps, there are contextual signals that are too overt to go unnoticed.
Episode IV features Ob-Wan and Luke leaving Tatooine before Obi-Wan sees Vader for the last time. Then Episode III has Obi-Wan and Luke going to Tatooine after Obi-Wan sees Vader for the first time.
Phantom Menace and Return of the Jedi have identically staged finale scenes - both featuring simultaneous land battles, space battles and lightsaber duels.
The denouement of both Phantom Menace and Return of the Jedi is a private funeral pyre, followed by an outdoor party scene. Other Star Wars end with a heroic victory, but none others show the common people's victory celebration (indicating that this is where the Hero has saved the world, not just himself). Other Star Wars films have a beloved character die near the end, but none others show the funeral. This gives a clear sense on finality at the end of The Phantom Menace that belies it's subtitle of "Episode I."
The perceived finality of Episode I directly feeds the dramatic tension of Episodes II and III. Nothing about the story feels right now as it continues beyond it's natural end. So the audience finds it understandable, even predictable, that all the heroes are prone to mistakes in judgement throughout, and even become the villains at times. This allows for the films to invert many of the archetypes from the originals making the Jedi the aggressors in battle while Palpatine plays the innocent victim/captor.
Considering the first six Episodes together (in number order), the tale follows Anakin’s decent into darkness, then picks up with Luke’s ascent to the light, retracing his father’s steps, and actually bringing his father back to the light. The Phantom Menace begins with the emergence of the Sith. Return of the Jedi ends with the destruction of the Sith.
Act 3: The Epic Sequel
In the Sequel Trilogy we "Return" to the classical heroic tale.
[The DYM editorial staff will have to "return" to this section in the winter, once we have the full Sequel Trilogy in hand. For now, here's the high-level analysis]
Thus far, The Sequel Trilogy has seamlessly hit all the same steps as the the first two, and also has taken on a life of its own. The Sequels manage to reference both prior Trilogies simultaneously and find a middle ground between their contrasts. The Sequels most often parallel the Originals in overall plot outline but will also invert some archetypes where they identify a trait Luke and Anakin had in common and give the opposite attribute to Rey.
Luke and Anakin both dreamed of leaving their desert home - Luke was driven away by the death of his family while Anakin was driven to return to the family he left behind. What Luke and Anakin had in common is inverted in Rey, in that she has no family and wants to stay to await their return.
Most every Star Wars features a rescue mission and an aerial battle. In New Hope the space battle is the finale. By contrast, Revenge of the Sith and Force Awaken have the space battle earlier in the film, just before the rescue mission. Those two have the battle as the less consequential set piece, and the decisive victory is not won for the heroes of Force Awakens until Rey is rescued.
Both New Hope and Force Awakens end with the destruction of a spherical super-weapon, but we think it’s significant that Han and Finn stealthily infiltrated Starkiller (remember the Hero looking inward and transforming himself in order to change the world) whereas the attack on the Death Star was a full-scale invasion.
All these ways in which the Sequel has changed the dramatic elements of Star Wars portend our heroes' eventual triumph being qualitatively different from their victory in Episode VI. Even Luke's own maturation in The Last Jedi helps set the stage for a truly transformational hero to emerge.
In just a few places, all Star Wars diverge from Campbell's steps slightly. One conspicuous example is an additional trial from the second act that is not overtly encountered by the heroes of Star Wars:
“The Woman As Temptress” - In this step, the hero faces temptations of physical pleasure, that distract him from his journey.
This step may have been modified or omitted intentionally since Lucas had always targeted Star Wars at a younger audience. It wouldn’t make sense to have Luke be as thirstily lustful as the Warrior Kings of ancient times. Instead the issue is partially side-stepped by explaining that the Jedi code demanded chastity and forbade materialistic attachment.
Although one could argue that the Siren’s Song is actually Anakin’s primary nemesis (or his goal as an inverted archetype) throughout the entire Prequel Trilogy. But still, true lust is never really displayed in any of the films, and the archetypal sexual imagery remains much more subtle than the films' major themes.
Of course that is a romance angle in the plot of each Trilogy, but normally it's not our "Hero" that gets entangled - except for Rey & Kylo in The Last Jedi. It’s often said that a kiss in Star Wars implies the characters actually have sex off screen. By that calculation, Kylo shoulda got to 2nd base with Rey when they touched hands through The Force.
Lindsay Romain's article we linked to earlier does a more earnest exploration of the archetypal images of sexuality in the Sequels. She references Campbell in describing the Sequels' inversion of the classic archetype of man and woman as the sun and the moon: "Indeed, The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi fully align Rey — female — with sunlight, and her nemesis — and transfixion—Kylo Ren (or Ben Solo) with the moon; indebted to darkness, in attack of the sun. “The moon is the lord of growth, the waters, the womb, and the mysteries of time; the sun, of brilliance of the intellect, sheer light, and eternal laws that never change.” She gets deep, it's a good read.
PART 5: THE JEDI STEPS
Now, for our Grande Finale - let’s go scene by scene and break down how each of the Star Wars films fits into the organizing structure of The Monomyth.
Act 1- “Departure” – Episodes IV, III, and VII
This is the hero first learning of the world beyond their experience. They have to leave their comfort zone for the first time and begin to acquire the tools or skills they will need to complete the journey.
1 The Call to Adventure
“The hero begins in a situation of normality from which some information is received that acts as a call to head off into the unknown.” - Campbell
IV: “You must learn of the force if you are to travel with me to Alderaan” (33 min)
III: ANAKIN: “Is it possible to learn this?” PALPATINE: “Not from a Jedi” (47 min)
VII: “Luke Skywalker? I though he was a myth” (28 min)
2 Refusal of the Call
"Often when the call is given, the future hero first refuses to heed it. This may be from a sense of duty or obligation, fear, insecurity, a sense of inadequacy, or any of a range of reasons that work to hold the person in his current circumstances." - Campbell
IV: “Luke, don’t go, it’s too dangerous!” (Luke runs back home)
III: “Master, I’ve disappointed you… I apologize.”
VII: “I’ve got to go back to Jakku”
3 Supernatural Aid
"Once the hero has committed to the quest, consciously or unconsciously, his guide and magical helper appears or becomes known." - Campbell
[These scenes each take place between 10-15 minutes after the “Call to Adventure”]
IV: “I want to learn the ways of The Force and become a Jedi like my father.”
III: “My mentor taught me everything about The Force, even the nature of the dark side.”
VII: “It's true. The Force, the Jedi, all of it. It's all true.”
4 Arriving at the First Threshold
“This is the point where the hero actually crosses into the field of adventure, leaving the known limits of his world and venturing into an unknown and dangerous realm where the rules and limits are unknown.” - Campbell
[These scenes each take place 30 minutes after the “Call to Adventure”]
IV: “You’ve taken your first step into a larger world”
III: “You shall be known as Darth Vader”
VII: “It calls to you”
5 Belly of the Whale
“The belly of the whale represents the hero's complete separation from his old world. Here he demonstrates he is ready for the metamorphosis. Entering the stage is often dangerous or frustrating for the hero.” - Campbell
IV: Tractor beam pulls Millennium Falcon into Death Star
III: Vader attacks the Jedi temple
VII: Rey abducted by Kylo
6. The Threshold Guardian
Before the hero is allowed to cross into the mystery realm he is challenged by the guardian of the realm. In order to actually cross the threshold, the hero will have to leave their first mentor behind (representing death of his former self). The loss here is necessary to continue on to self-discovery and metamorphosis.
[These scenes each take place 33 minutes from the end]
IV: Obi-Wan faces Vader
III: Vader faces Obi-Wan
VII: Kylo Ren faces Han Solo
Act 2 - “Initiation” – Episodes V, II, and VIII
The Hero descends into the magical realm - the world of shadow and mystery. There is darkness and dramatic subterfuge representing a process of self-discovery and growth. Often the hero will literally fall or go somewhere underground (representing the unconscous mind). There they face their ultimate nemesis: themselves.
7 The Road of Trials
“The road of trials is a series of tests that the hero must undergo to begin the transformation. Often the hero fails one or more of these tests, which often occur in threes. Eventually the hero will overcome these trials and move on to the next step.” - Campbell
V: 1. Hoth/2. Asteroid field/3. Yoda refuses to train Luke ("Too old")
II: 1. Assassination attempt/2. Obi-Wan to Kamino/3. Padme refuses Anakin ("Don't look at me like that")
VIII: 1. Dreadnaught/2. Canto Beit/3. Luke’s refuses to train Rey ("It's time for the Jedi to end")
8 The Meeting with the Goddess
“This is where the hero gains items given to him that will help him in the future.” - Campbell
V: First lessons
II: Kiss on Naboo
VIII: First lessons
9 Atonement with the Father/Abyss
"In this step the hero must confront and be initiated by whatever holds the ultimate power in his life. In many myths and stories this is the father, or a father figure who has life and death power. This is the center point of the journey. All the previous steps have been moving into this place, all that follow will move out from it. Although this step is most frequently symbolized by an encounter with a male entity, it does not have to be a male; just someone or thing with incredible power." - Campbell
[These scenes all take place at the exactly half-way through the film]
V: Magic Tree
II: Tuskan hut
VIII: Magic Cave
“This is the point of realization in which a greater understanding is achieved. Armed with this new knowledge and perception, the hero is resolved and ready for the more difficult part of the adventure.” - Campbell
V: “The future you see”
II: “I love you”
VIII: “Did you create Kylo Ren?”
11 The Ultimate Boon (2nd Threshold)
“The ultimate boon is the achievement of the goal of the quest. It is what the hero went on the journey to get. All the previous steps serve to prepare and purify the hero for this step, since in many myths the boon is something transcendent like the elixir of life itself, or a plant that supplies immortality, or the holy grail.” - Campbell
V: “I am your Father”
II: Secret Marriage
VIII: “See ya 'round, kid”
Act 3 – Return – Episodes VI, I, and IX
Now the Hero’s quest is nearly complete. He knows what he must do to achieve his goal. More obstacles lie along the final road. The hero transcends the problems he faced in the first act and is able to deliver others from them as well.
12 Refusal of the Return
“Having found bliss and enlightenment in the other world, the hero may not want to return to the ordinary world to bestow the boon onto his fellow man.” - Campbell
[These lines are both spoken at 47 min]
VI: “I can’t do it, Ben”
I: “I didn’t actually come here to free slaves”
13 The Magic Flight
“Sometimes the hero must escape with the boon, if it is something that the gods have been jealously guarding. It can be just as adventurous and dangerous returning from the journey as it was to go on it.” - Campbell
[Both chase sequences begin at 58 min]
VI: Speeder chase
I: Pod race
14 Rescue from Without
“Just as the hero may need guides and assistants to set out on the quest, often he must have powerful guides and rescuers to bring them back to everyday life, especially if the person has been wounded or weakened by the experience.” - Campbell
[These scenes appear about 15 minutes from the end]
VI: Han deactivates shield generator
I: Anakin destroys droid control ship
15 The Crossing of the Return Threshold
“The trick in returning is to retain the wisdom gained on the quest, to integrate that wisdom into a human life, and then maybe figure out how to share the wisdom with the rest of the world.” - Campbell
VI: “I am a Jedi, like my father before me”
I: QUI-GON: "Promise me you will train the boy" OBI-WAN: "I promise"
16 Master of Two Worlds
“This step is usually represented by a transcendental hero like Jesus or Gautama Buddha. For a human hero, it may mean achieving a balance between the material and spiritual. The person has become comfortable and competent in both the inner and outer worlds.” - Campbell
VI: "I want to look on you with my own eyes"
I: “We will watch your career with great interest”
17 Freedom to Live
After mastering the mystery world, the hero "no longer fears death, which in turn is the freedom to live. This is sometimes referred to as living in the moment, neither anticipating the future nor regretting the past." - Campbell
VI: Ewok Celebration
I: Gungan parade