No series takes advantage of the Hero’s Journey plot structure quite like Star Wars (Click here, for more examples).Over the weekend, I saw Rogue One in theaters and was, once again, amazed by how much writers of the Star Wars saga rely on the same plotlines and character devices to sell their latest blockbuster. One of the steps in the hero’s journey is the “Atonement with the Father” where the hero must “confront and be initiated by whatever holds the ultimate power in his or her life.” In Star Wars, this is reflected in the many twisted and violent daddy issues their main characters always grapple with. Here they are in order from the earliest to latest installment of the series.
#1 — Star Wars IV – A New Hope (1977). My name is Luke and my father was killed by a guy named Vader.
#2 — Star Wars V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980). My name is Luke and the guy who severed my right hand is Vader. He is also my father.
#3 — Star Wars VI – Return of the Jedi (1983). My name is Luke and I just severed my father’s prosthetic right hand. My former Jedi-turned-Darth Vader father redeemed his soul by sacrificing his life to save me from the evil Emperor.
#4 — Star Wars I – The Phantom Menace (1999). My name is Anakin. I have no father because of a miracle virgin birth caused by midichlorians. Jedi Master Qui-Gon is training me as a Jedi and I see him as a father. He dies.
#5 — Star Wars II – Attack of the Clones (2002). My name is Anakin. Obi-Wan is a father figure in my life and I routinely disobey him. My mother dies in my arms. I slaughter an entire tribe.
#6 — Star Wars III – Revenge of the Sith (2005). My name is Anakin and I am perpetually in search of a father figure. Secretly-evil Supreme Chancellor persuades me to murder an unarmed foe in cold blood and join the dark side ignoring years of training and sacrifice. My new name is Vader. I massacre Jedi children. My wife tries to convince me to return to the light side so I choke her out. My former father figure, Obi-Wan, fights me and leaves me for dead and burnt by lava. My new father, Supreme Chancellor, rebuilds my body and puts me in a dark suit. He lies to me and tells me I killed my wife in anger (she actually died after birthing our twins, one of which will later come close to killing me and the other, I will torture).
#7 — Star Wars VII – The Force Awakens (2015). My name is Kylo Ren. Han Solo is my father, but he wasn’t around much because he sensed a little too much of my grandfather (Vader) in me. Just like Vader, someone with the title “Supreme” acts as my father figure and seduces me to join the dark side. I kill my father.
#8 — Star Wars VII – The Force Awakens (2015). My name is Rey. I was separated from my parents. I stay on a worthless planet perpetually looking at the front door, waiting for them to come back. I forge a bond with Han Solo and quickly see him as a father figure. I watch this new father figure get killed by his own son which inspires me to fight him even harder. At the end of the movie, I meet Luke Skywalker and the longing look on my face screams…new potential father figure.
#9 — Star Wars – Rogue One (2016). [SPOILER] My name is Jyn. My father is the lead scientist developing the Death Star. I learn through a hologram that he was forced to work on this project. He wants me to come get secret plans that show how to destroy this Death Star. My father dies in my arms.
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