A Hero’s Journey

“A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” Joseph Campbell

When he first began writing the Star Wars saga in the early 1970s, George Lucas already had a tremendous vision for the movies he wanted to create. Influenced strongly by serials like Flash Gordon, Lucas knew he wanted to produce a “soap opera in space” full of lasers, spaceships, aliens, yet true down-to-Earth human interactions as well. What he lacked though was a depth in the story.

That is when he turned to the most popular mythologist of the 20th century (if not all-time), Joseph Campbell. Joseph Campbell, born in 1904, had been studying and writing about mythology since the 1920s, and taught on the same subject until his death in 1987. He first fell in love with the symbolism of Native American mythology, but would later delve into many of the world’s ancient myths, especially that of Greek mythology. Campbell would also become enamored with the story of Buddha’s enlightenment, a source for a plethora of his writings.

Possibly the most famous book ever written by Campbell was The Hero with a Thousand Faces, first published in 1949. It was from this book that George Lucas gained his true inspiration for Star Wars. One could argue this work acted as a muse for Lucas, and this is evident when Campbell once said that the filmmaker was “his finest student.”

The most popular theme from this book was “the hero’s journey,” and when watching Star Wars, it is easy to see Luke Skywalker transform through this process. In the hero’s journey, an unlikely hero begins his or her life as an ordinary individual — someone whose finest joy is going to the Tosche Station to pick up some power converters. Seemingly out of the blue, they receive a call to adventure — a feisty little less-than-honest droid who is carrying a message from a beautiful woman saying “help me!”

Two of most important elements of the hero’s journey are meeting a mentor, and refusing the call to adventure. Many mythological stories feature a wise hermit (“Hello there!”) who sometimes even comes bearing gifts — Excalibur, a lightsaber, etc. This mentor, this teacher, will show the hero that there is something larger in this world than their own existence, such as the Force. Overwhelmed, the would-be hero will often refuse the mentor’s suggestion to step into the larger world, saying “I have to stay here.” Something however, such as gazing at your crispy aunt and uncle, will make the hero cross the threshold and truly begin the heroic adventure.

From there the hero will make friends and allies to help him or her on the journey. They can come in many forms such as scoundrels, Wookiees, and even droids. One may even find a “damsel in distress,” who is hardly in distress, and would probably slap you if you called her a damsel. Together the group will go through numerous trials all while collectively and individually develop into higher beings.

The hero will then usually find themselves in a foreboding cave — sometimes this is also called “the belly of the whale.” This cave can take many forms, including a large trash compactor that is home to a not-so-friendly Dianoga. From this cave the hero will shed their old skin and emerge more confident and focused.

The pinnacle of the hero’s journey happens when the protagonist must apply everything he or she has learned and overcome a great ordeal. In Star Wars, this obviously happens when Luke Skywalker takes his X-Wing into the Death Star trench in an attempt to blow up the space station (with a special shoutout to Galen and Jyn Erso). Whereas other flying aces relied on technology to try and make the kill shot, Luke instead turned off his targeting computer and used the Force to make the shot. And boom goes the dynamite, or, in this case, the Death Star.

At the end of the journey the hero will earn a reward (unless your name is Chewbacca) and return home. The reward will come in different forms, but will usually mean a higher state of being, a state of enlightenment. Rarely do truly mythological heroes triumph in order to gain physical rewards.

There are some key things to remember about the hero’s journey. First, generally a hero does not go through this process just once. Luke can be seen going through this in every movie of the original trilogy. Second, sometimes these journeys can be part of an even larger adventure, as is the case with Anakin Skywalker. His particular story spans all six movies, and he does not receive redemption until the last ten minutes of Return of the Jedi. Lastly, the hero’s journey can happen in anybody’s life. If you watch closely, you can even see Han Solo go through his own journey who some find even more interesting than Luke’s.

With all that being said, I encourage you to study the works of Joseph Campbell (jcf.org) and apply this theme to all characters in the Star Wars universe. Jyn Erso and Rey (Skywalker? Solo? Kenobi?) are powerful female characters who go through their own unique journeys. But most importantly, I encourage you to apply the hero’s journey to your own life. Yes, every single one of us has the potential and the capacity to be a hero — just look at the work of the 501st Legion. Where are you in your personal journey? Many of us have received the call but have spent years refusing it. I strongly suggest you take the first steps into a larger world — you never know what’s waiting for you out there.

Help Us Hasbro…You’re Our Only Hope: The Star Wars 40th Anniversary Action Figures Are Here!

The premium Black Series figures are coming to a store shelf near you…we hope!

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That’s no moon…It’s a Star Wars trailer: A Nostalgic Walk Down Memory Lane

It was the most powerful trailer in the galaxy…with enough nostalgia to revert me to my six-year-old self…this is STAR WARS!

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Listening to Star Wars: Part III

The original radio drama gets us to Alderaan

C-3PO on the mic — all images are subject to copyright and can be removed upon request

Following chapter one, episode one, the next part opens the same way as the first with the main theme and those very famous words. Come on, say them with me now:


After listening to the entire radio play, I can tell you that it starts that same way every time: opening credits score, narration about the formation of the Rebel Alliance and a summary of what is going to happen in the following part of the story. This was done in order to allow people to catch up, as it was originally aired over a multi-day period.

The chapter opens with something similar yet different to the 1977 movie. Princess Leia’s ship Tantive IV is intercepted by an Imperial ship, but this time over the planet Ralltiir instead of Tatooine, “and forced to land under escort”. It isn’t Vader who captures her, it’s someone named Lord Tion. Only having read a small selection of Legends novels, there is not much I can glean from this. I don’t recall coming across Tion — is he someone to be feared like Thrawn or simply some lower ranking Imperial sent to retrieve her? If anyone knows, please explain in the comments below.

Then — as per the movie — in order to hide her involvement with the Rebel Alliance, Leia repeats her standard line of her ship being that of a consular on a diplomatic mission. In my mind, I couldn’t help but add “to Alderaan,” as that is the famous line, even though that part has yet to come up. At this point, she is simply trying to re-equip the rebels on the planet below. It is only through her keen skills of diplomacy that she is able to escape this encounter without having her ship immediately searched. The catch is that she has to agree to have dinner back on her home planet with the arrogant Lord Tion, the man who captured her ship. What Leia does for the rebellion…

After agreeing and leaving in order to make way to her ship, she has her first encounter with the Dark Lord of the Sith, Darth Vader. Again, it is only due to her knowledge of Imperial protocol and Vader’s desire to keep everything legal that she is allowed to remain free. One problem down, another to go.

This part is interesting in that it shows yet another time Leia was able to skillfully slip through the Empire’s grasp. Not just the Empire’s, but Vader’s to boot. As she’ll later learn, escaping from him is not the easiest thing in the galaxy. To do so now re-enforces her knowledge of Imperial regulations and protocols.

Credit to Star Wars Wookiepedia and subject to removal upon request

After setting a trap for Lord Tion that will lead to an important discovery later on, she meets a wounded rebel solider who passes on important information.

Leia then makes her way back home to Alderaan via “the old roads” on foot. She does this in order to sort out her thoughts about what she saw on Ralltiir. Being as it is a day’s journey, it gives her a nice long while to think everything over and figure out how she is going to help them.

According to Leia, “people on Ralltiir have been chased from their homes, penned up like animals, executed without trial. Torture chambers are set up everywhere, they [The Empire] call them interrogation centers.” To this her father simply comments that it is the “usual Imperial procedure.” I found this fascinating because it shows two different levels of experience in this way of life. Her father has come to expect it and adjusted accordingly, while still of course disagreeing. His daughter, on the other hand, is still amazed by it all. It goes to show how an event that affects two people — in this case a father and daughter— can result in completely different reactions.

Hope to see you all next post. Until then, May the Force be with you…always.

Mark Hamill: Adventures in Star Wars And Batman: The Animated Series

From Jedi Knight To Clown Prince Of Crime

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Listening to Star Wars: Part II

Luke is torn between family and adventure in the original radio drama

All images are subject to copyright and can be removed upon request

Hello everyone and welcome back. I hope you’re doing okay. If not, hopefully this will cheer you up. In this next section of the radio drama the excitement really begins. I’d tell you everything I’m going to be talking about, but that would ruin the surprise. So let’s get into it.

Picking up where we last left off, Luke now knows of his friend’s plan to jump ship and join the Rebellion. Just like in the movie of course.

Credit Lucasfilm Ltd. and National Public Radio

A new scene follows. Luke and Biggs argue over the former’s decision to put off going to the Imperial Academy another season, even though both know that there’s no place he’d rather be. In this debate, Biggs tells his friend that in the process of putting off his application it was cancelled, thus sending the point home that unless Luke applies again, he really is stuck on Tatooine.

During the course of this dispute, Biggs manages to really infuriate his friend by saying, “Your uncle uses that ‘I fed you and brought you up’ line to keep you here. Can’t you see that?” By doing this, he is implying that Luke’s uncle is simply manipulating him. While the young man may know this to be true, he is still tied between his duty to help his only remaining family — “My aunt and uncle are the only family I’ve got. They’re all I’ve got” — and his desire to follow his dreams off-planet into whatever adventure awaits him. Oh, if only he knew! This leads me to wonder what would have happened if Luke had left his family behind and gone to the academy. Well, that’s a topic for another day.

Luke eventually drops his friend off at his destination. Seconds pass before Biggs starts the conversation again, not yet ready to get out and leave. People in the Imperial Academy — and indeed the Rebellion — don’t know what will happen to them day to day. As such, he wants to leave things between himself and Luke as amicable as possible.

The first episode of the radio play thus comes to a close with the traditional end title score and a narrator giving the participants the credit they deserve.

So, what did I think of the first episode overall? It was…fun. Nothing too dramatic has happened yet, but it still managed to suck me in by giving more detail to one of the most well known characters in the saga: Biggs Darklighter. No, of course not, I’m talking about Luke Skywalker! Again, it was nice to see a more relaxed and playful side of him.

Credit to Miroslav Sunjkic The Pencil Maestro on WordPress — subject to copyright and can be removed upon request

The first episode does an excellent job of giving more depth to Luke’s character by showing exactly how good a pilot he is along with establishing his relationship with Biggs. While obviously not as big a character, it’s still nice to see more of him and get more depth to his character as well. Things like this really bring a story to life.

Before I go I would like to give a big shout-out to Phil Roberts for liking my posts and passing them on to Future of the Force, with whom I am obviously now working. Thank you so much! Also to everyone who has liked and retweeted my articles both on here and Twitter such as Andrew in Belfast, MonkeesbloodCreative, Bryan Fontaine, Stephanie Hope, Ken $olo, Wesley van Wensen, Stewart Gardiner, Chris White and Zoe Roberts. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart and I hope to see you in my next post. May the Force be with you…always!

Star Wars Rebels Warhead

Zeb, Chopper and Ap-5 Investigating

Hey everyone! Welcome back. Let’s jump right on into the newest episode of Star Wars Rebels Warhead.

Actually, before I do, I would like to give a big thank you shoutout to Phil Roberts for recomending my last two posts about Star Wars Rebels Ghosts of Geonosis Parts 1 and 2. Thank you so much! Every recomendation and follow helps more than you can imagine. I just hope this post lives up to my last ones.

Now on the review. Enjoy. Spoilers ahead. You have been warned.

When I originally heard the title of this episode, I was surprised simply because I wasn’t expecting it. I think was simply due to the fact that I hadn’t looked at the titles for upcoming episodes in a bit due to being so focused on the 2-part return episode Ghosts of Geonosis Parts 1 and 2. (If you want to know my reaction to that, please read my two part post on it.) Originally, I thought this episode went by a different name. Oh well, shows my memory.

With that out of the way, let’s jump right into the episode. What did I think of it overall? It was pretty good and drew me in more than the previous episode. Although this was likely because the stakes felt higher. Thanks to the disguised Imperial droid, The Empire could find Chopper Base and force the rebels to move on short notice. Not this is hasn’t ever happened before in the show, just that moving on a short time frame, with part of the team gone, is never fun or easy. That and for a second during the middle part of the story, it looked like Zeb could actually get hurt. To me, that added up to higher stakes.

Then on top of the higher stakes was also AP-5. For a second I thought of the name K-2SO because of how similar these droids are. The main difference I’d say is that AP is able to regulate what he says while K2 literally can’t help but speak his mind. Kind of like me at times. Might be why I like him so much.

AP had so many standout lines in this episode that it’s hard to pick a favorite. Even before the rest of the Ghost crew leave Zeb alone with him and Chopper, AP is already cracking jokes such as, “Did they seriously leave you in charge of this entire facility” and “I just always assumed you were more of a lift heavy things and punch anything in your way type. You know, a grunt.” Of course Zeb doesn’t take too kindly to this and banters right back.


Speaking of him, Zeb did have his own funny moments in this episode as well. The comedy for him started when the rest of the Ghost was leaving for what I’m assuming, going off of Hera’s words towards the tail end of the episode, was a multi day training exercise. He kept emphasizing how he was going to be bored to death being left alone with Chopper and AP-5, then bantering back with the latter. In repsonse to AP being suprised that he was left in charge of the entire base, Zeb shot back, “Something wrong with that” to which AP responded and Zeb just grunted back, thus partially proving the droid’s point.

Side note, I only wish I could have been in the studio when Stephan Stanton and Steve Blum were recording this episode as it must have been crazy fun. How they even got one clean take, I don’t know. I also wonder how many of AP-5’s lines were improvised as Stephan seemed like he was having too much fun not to have done some.

Moving on though, I would have to say that one of the stand out lines from this episode was of course AP-5 to Zeb after the former asked the latter if he wanted to help him inventory (Zeb: counting) the base’s munition supply depot, “Is that because you never learned to count? I can teach you.” He is just so insultingly helpful you can help but love him. At least I can’t.

It was like, from beginning to end, this episode was almost non-stop comedy with some drama thrown in for good measure.

On a side note, I actually once talked to someone in the industry who told me that dramedy couldn’t be done in a half hour. I like to think this proves him wrong, and that as long as you’re skillful, it can be.

Back to the episode, the more serious drama stuff starts after Zeb is sent to check out “an astroid that took out a perimeter sensor in sector six”. Turns out, it wasn’t an astroid after all. It was an imperial infiltration droid in disguise. This means it remained docile and in “protocol mode” until it heard the words “rebel base”. After this, it transformed into it’s true form and went on a rampage, taking out anything in its way.

From here on out, the show goes from straight comedy, to dramedy, with AP-5, Zeb and Chopper all working together to keep the location of their base secret from the Empire. They of course succeed (sort of), and send the droid back just in time to explode on one of their Star Destroyers.

So overall, what did I think of this episode? I thought it was pretty fun and interesting. The only problem I had, and this may be a nit pick, was when the droid scanned all rebel inventory and Zeb, Chopper and AP-5 all thought nothing of it. Even if it didn’t belong to the Empire, information like that shouldn’t just be allowed to get out. If it got into the wrong hands, who is to say that it couldn’t wind up in the hands of the Empire. I could imagine that information like that would fetch a nice price. Also, the bit with Thrawn at the end, fun as well. He always makes me smile in nervous concern.

In closing, even after watching this episode several times to get everything I needed for this, it’s still just as fun as the first time around. I could watch and listen to Zeb and AP-5 banter all day.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi and the Curse of Change

Should Rian Johnson keep to the formula or gamble with change like George Lucas attempted in 1999?

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Star Wars Rebels Ghosts of Geonosis Part 2

Asking Questions

Welcome back everyone! Let’s get started with part two shall we? It obviously picks up where part one dropped off.

More spoilers ahead. You have been warned.

Saw has just released the Geonosian after aggressively questioning it. Shortly after, the newly named Klick-Klak draws what we know to be the infamous Death Star in the dirt, the one that orginally upped the anti. To me it was just funny how Saw, Rex and Ezra kept bringing up the different things that the circle inside a circle could be. First they think it could be the planet, then later in the episode the egg it was carrying and finally the gas canisters that they find. It was funny to me because obviously living outside this fictional world, I’m able to look down the line and realize what it actually is. Although it’s more of that, nervous kind of laughter.

Moving on, as much as I am a rebel through and through, I have to admit that it was nice to see a female in charge of an Imperial ship. It’s not something you see too often, although luckily that is changing. Yes her ship eventually gets destroyed (and her likely killed from the exploding gas canisters later in the episode), but it was still cool to see.

Now, following along with the episode, Zeb and Sabine arrive back at the Ghost with a military grade shield generator they managed to grab and Hera immediately calls for him. Upon hearing him groan, I couldn’t help but laugh in sympathy as the same thing has happened to me many more times than I bother counting at this point. Come through the door after a long hard day, only to hear my name called. Kriff! No rest for the weary as they say. Sorry Zeb, I really feel for you big guy.

Shortly after this, I am once more forced to laugh as Klick-Klack again draws what we know to be the Death Star. I laugh this time because I can only imagine Ezra and Rex’s face when they finally realize what he was really drawing in the dirt years ago, assuming they’re still alive of course. Well Rex may be, but Ezra…uh, yeah, sorry, you have no plot armor. May the force be with you though. *Nervously smiles and two thumbs up*

“Stupid sand. It gets everywhere.” Now you guys know why I don’t like the beach…well besides constantly getting sunbunt due to my light skin that is. As put off as I was by Hayden’s delivery of this line years ago, I also couldn’t help but internally laugh at how I was able to relate. Aside from Kayaking, running and the occasional bonfire, I don’t go there. You can try all you want to get me to go there for any other reason, but I wish you luck as it’s likely not happening. The difference this time around though, was I was able to let out a bigger and more appreciative laugh for two reasons. One, I liked the call back, no matter how much that movie utterly sucked, and two I still agree with it to this day.

Fast forwarding to further into the episode and we see Saw shocking the poor Geonosian. He did nothing wrong, he was just trying to protect the egg. I hated this for two reasons. One because it was just plain torture and two because it just comes out of nowhere. Yes we know Saw is an extremist and has all but admitted to this fact, but for me this torture seems to come out of nowhere. One minute he’s tolerating the bug and the next he’s torturing him. This part just didn’t work for me. This is only compounded by the fact that he threatens to shoot the egg, the last chance this species has of surviving after being denied use of the Phantom.

Speaking of the auxiliary ship, did he honestly think he could get away on it, with Klick-Klack as well? I thought he was supposed to be smart…apparently not. I couldn’t help but drop my head and think ‘dude, you’re an idiot’ at this part.

Luckily the next part cheered me back up: rocket troopers! Again, as much as I am a rebel, I have to admit I liked these guys, because how can you have good heroes without good villains? These guys are cool. Well that and like with the female in charge of the Star Destroyer, it’s not something you see everyday.

Speaking of rocket/jetpacks, it was nice to see that Sabine had fixed hers. Guess she finally has that jetpack that she’s always wanted. Since we weren’t given a chance to get a good look at it, I wonder how she designed the outside? My guess is maybe with her Starbird symbol. Either way, like Ezra, I want one. “I know.” -Sabine.

Then, watching the end of the episode where Hera takes off practically vertically out of the tunnel, I couldn’t help but laugh and think, ‘And I thought commercial airliners took off steep.’ They had to be feeling some G-forces during theirs. If this weren’t a science fiction show, I’d be surprised that the missiles left the tubes with how many G-forces were likely pushing against them.

If I’m wrong and this would actually work, someone please tell me in the comments as I’m honestly curious. Yes I know that’s what killed the cat, but it was satisfaction that brought it back. No, I don’t take credit for the second part of this saying, I just remember hearing it years ago and have been using it ever since.

Since the episodes ends shortly after this, I am going to end here and say thank you all for taking the time to read this. I greatly appreciate it and want to give a special shoutout to Phil Roberts for following me. It means so much and I hope you continue to like my work.

So until next time everyone, bye!

Star Wars Rebels Ghosts of Geonosis Part 1

Show opens as per usual, only this time with Bail

Before I get started reviewing this episode, please just let me take the time to say how extremely sorry I am for not updating this sooner. Due to a personal reason that some of you may have read about on my Twitter, this sadly had to keep taking a back seat. Please believe me when I say that even with my personal situation going on, I honestly felt back for every day that went by where I didn’t post for you guys. Due to that, I’m going to give you a double dose. Instead of posting my review on two consecutive days, I’m going to post them both today. Don’t worry. They will be in two separate, hopefully bite sized as usual, chunks. With that explained, I will now finally get on to my review.

Spoilers ahead. You have been warned.

So originally I watched this episode at eight in the morning after getting very little sleep due to being a night owl (and more than a little excitement about this coming back due to how built up it was). I’m still not sure what woke me up at that time, up I was up and decided to watch the new episode.

To start with, let me just say that while I have been hearing everyone singing the praises of this episode, I actually thought that was very…underwhelming. I thought that after I saw it the first time and I still think it now. I mean, I guess I can see why people would think it was great, but I just didn’t. Don’t get me wrong, there were things in it that I enjoyed, but overall it just didn’t impress me much.

Ok, so, what did I like about the episode? Well to go in order, it was nice to still see Kanan still attempting to guide himself with his hand. Shows that he hasn’t completely mastered using the Force as his new set of eyes. You can see him do this when he first enters the save with Rex and Ezra. It’s only a quick second, but still visable.

The second thing I liked was Chopper actually listening to someone other than Hera and demonstrating that he actually can be serious and more than everyone’s favorite grumpy cat. He does this on a few occasions throughout the episode. As much fun as it is to see him tease and torment (and kill) others, at the same time, it also gives him more depth to know that he is actually capable of following orders when needed.

Something else that was cool was getting the Geonosian’s point of view when Kanan was first looking…er listening for it. Sorry Kanan! Anyway, moving on, it was something I LOVED in the battle of Scarif in Rogue One and it was something I loved her. Outside of first person video games, it’s not something you see much, so it’s nice to get it every now and again.

One thing I actually loved in this episode though was Rex’s line, “He’s no Skywalker”, to which Kanan answered back, “I heard that”. It’s funny because while Rex is right, to me it’s not for the reason he thinks. He’s right because Kanan is no Skywalker, he’s better. I’d like to see Anakin make a leap like that blindfolded. Heck I’d like to him do even half the things Kanan does, blindfolded. It would definitely make a more interesting prequel story than we given, am I right?

Now, to briefly go over the things I didn’t like. In short, it was Ezra’s constant questions, Chopper not getting a vote and the code names. To start with, while I know the questions were natural and needed to help move the story along, it would have also been nice to have Kanan ask one or two so it wasn’t just coming from one character. Guess I’m just not a fan of one person asking so many obvious questions. Don’t know what caused it or why they did so, so let’s investigate.

Something else I didn’t like during the first part of this episode was Chopper not getting a vote when Rex, Kanan and Ezra were attempting to figure out whether or not to continue looking for Saw and his group without backup. The only reason I can think of is because depending on how Chopper voted, it could have been another deadlock. Either that or Ezra was just being a dick. Although that when then bring up the question of why Kanan allowed it in the first place. I thought Chopper was a part of the crew and as such was allowed a vote. Huh, guess not.

Now, on my final point of things I didn’t like in this episode was the use of the code name ‘Specter’, when they also use their real names on the same communication system. I thought that the point of code names was to cover one’s true identity, not give it away by saying it shortly after. Hey, what do I know? I have been known to be wrong from time to time.

In closing, while it does seem like there were more things about this episode that I liked than disliked, somehow it was still underwhelming for me. Might have just been because the stakes didn’t feel all that high in this episode, but who knows? From the look of the trailer though, it looks like this will eventually change.

So hope to see you in part 2! Bye!

The Future of Pop Culture Writing