Star Wars, The Matrix and the Hero's Journey

The Monomyth
The monomyth in storytelling is the archetypal, winding journey by which extraordinary potential is realized within he or she who appears to be ordinary.

A thousand stories, a thousand years...
The monomyth, sometimes called the hero's journey, is the same tale told tens of thousands of times throughout thousands of years.

The characters and circumstances change but the journey itself is a familiar road upon which each twist and turn has special meaning and purpose.

Mythologist Joseph Campbell delved into the hero's journey to tease out hints of its structure and underpinnings. In doing so, he described a series of common elements, central building blocks of the tale of adventure.

Let's take a look at the monomyth in action...

The Matrix
An ordinary computer hacker learns that he is in actuality the techno-saviour of a humanity in unknown bondage. He is Neo, the new man, the One...

Star Wars
A farm boy learns that he is born of a lineage of Jedi Masters and that he alone is capable of defending the universe from the crushing domination of the evil Empire.

In the mid-1970s, after completing two drafts of a screenplay for Star Wars, George Lucas still wasn't happy with the storyline. He turned to Joseph Campbell's work for insight.

The monomyth became the underlying structure of the first film of one of the most successful movie franchises of all time.

See how this richer detail of the monomyth plays out across the double trilogy saga of Star Wars...

In what movies do you see the monomyth, the hero's journey, playing out?