The contemporary character of Luke Skywalker in the film Star Wars undertakes the classic hero’s journey which include the processes of separation, initiation, transformation and return. This paper has therefore been written to examine the plight of Luke Skywalker and to analyze the journey that the character takes throughout the plot of the film. In addition to this, an investigation of the mythological and cultural origins of the story will be conducted while the relevance of the story to the modern world in which ordinary humans struggle for survival will be presented. Luke Skywalker represents a classic example of the hero who undertakes a quest in the face of adversity and who eventually overcomes a number of challenges for the benefit of society. In the film Star Wars, Luke is a farmer on the remote desert planet of Tatooine when he receives the call to adventure from a holographic representation of Princess Leia. The call to adventure is contained in a message that is projected to Luke from within the memory of R2D2, a droid that Luke purchases to work on the farm.
Initially Luke refuses the call to adventure out of a sense of duty towards his step-parents. Luke then receives supernatural aid from Obi Wan Kenobi who rescues Luke from the sand people and who teaches him about the Force. Luke then learns about the fate of his dead father from his new mentor who gives Luke his dead father’s light saber as he crosses the threshold into the new world of the Jedi which contains the promise of adventure and a journey into the unknown. Luke then enters this world when he arrives on the Death Star where he meets Darth Vader, who is the villain of the story. Luke must defeat Darth Vader and the Empire in order to free the galaxy from Imperial control. However, it is revealed that Darth Vader is actually Luke’s real father who succumbed to the dark side of the Force after undergoing Jedi training before Luke’s birth. Darth Vader, along with the Emperor, represents an archetypal devil figure who works for evil throughout the film.
Indeed, a number of other archetypes are represented in the film Star Wars which includes Luke as the hero and initiate of the story, Obi Wan Kenobi as Luke’s mentor and Princess Leia who fulfils the role of the damsel in distress. Luke begins the initiation on the Death Star where he overcomes a number of tests and meets his travelling companions, Princess Leis, Han Solo and Chewbacca the Wookie. Luke then confronts the villain of the story however he suffers his abyss when Vader kills Obi Wan. The companions then escape from the Death Star and head to the rebel base that has been established on Yavin 4 where Luke begins the transformation stage of the hero’s journey when he starts his Jedi training.
The return phase of the hero’s journey begins when Luke’s transformation into a Jedi is complete and the rebel fleet attacks the Death Star using Princess Leia’s stolen plans of the space station. The hero’s return is complete when Luke hears his mentor’s voice telling him to use the Force in order to destroy the Death Star, which he manages to achieve, subsequently freeing the galaxy from Imperial control. The mythological and cultural origins of the Star Wars story can be traced back to early Eastern religious mythology in which the hero underwent a transformation during his journey to overcome a particular challenge.
Star Wars contains a number of elements of traditional mythology which represent the real life elements such as the duality of good and evil, the behavior of archetypal characters and the projection of spirituality as an alternative to secular religion. Therefore, Star Wars contains all of the characteristics that represent a hero’s journey while the film has become an example of the contemporary interpretation of ancient mythology which reflects the use of spiritualism as a replacement for religion. In addition, Star Wars also illustrates the continuing relevance of this ancient mythology to the modern world.