Game Development Reference
“The Ordinary World”
Luke and the moisture farm.
“The Call to Adventure”
Luke is invited by Leia to help her.
“Refusal of the Call”
Luke decides to stay instead of going.
“Meeting the Mentor”
Luke meets Obi-Wan.
“Crossing the Threshold”
Luke's aunt and uncle are killed, and he chooses to join the rebellion.
“Tests, Allies, and Enemies”
They meet Han, travel to Alderaan, it is destroyed, they are captured by the Death
Star, they decide to rescue Leia.
They all almost die in the garbage disposal.
“Revisiting the Mentor”
Obi-Wan is killed but now can mentor Luke spiritually.
“Return with New Knowledge”
They bring Leia and the plans for the Death Star back to the rebels so they can
“Seizing the Prize”
Luke decides to turn off the targeting computer, embracing Obi-Wan's advice to
“trust the Force.”
Luke is about to be killed by Darth, but just as Darth presses the trigger, he is blown
out of the sky by Han. Luke then fires his torpedoes into the Death Star, destroying
“Return with Elixir”
They fly back, R2D2 is repaired, and they are heroes.
When he combined the mythological structure of Joseph Campbell's hero's journey
with spaceships, aliens, and FTL travel, I'm sure Lucas didn't realize the seismic shift
he was about to impart to genre writers. Many of the current generation of game
writers hadn't even taken a breath before Star Wars . Think about what happened here:
Star Wars uses Joseph Campbell's hero's journey beat-for-beat. This is, and has been
for millennia, a fairy-tale structure. This is a structure that has been used for tens
of thousands of years of human existence to deliver emotionally laden, journey-into-
adulthood stories to clans, tribes, and (in recent centuries) children. This structure
has been used to teach audiences about life and how to live it.
In Star Wars , Lucas delivered this message: you need to trust your instincts,
your emotional truth, instead of technology (the “targeting computer”), and only
by trusting these instincts will you become a powerful, actualized man. Is that the
message of a fantasy story or a sci-fi story? I think this is, historically, the kind of
story that has always been delivered in a fantasy setting.
But Lucas brilliantly set the cliche on its head by delivering that message in a
setting with spaceships and blasters and androids.
This is why the modern writer gets the genres confused: because George Lucas
changed all the rules. But sci-fi and fantasy still need to tell different stories in distinct
ways. I just wish young writers would dig deeper and use something besides Star Wars
as their inspirational wellspring. Perhaps this chapter will get them digging deeper.