The Power of Myth: Creating Star Wars’ Mythos with Joseph Campbell

Joseph Campbell & George Lucas: Creating Star Wars’ Mythology

The Power of Myth is very powerful. With the release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalkerthe interest in Star Wars is at an all-time high. Whether you love or hate Star Wars you have to admit that creator George Lucas tapped into something primal when he came up with the saga that will define him.

With the gluttony of no story visual effects studio films, Star Wars has stood the test of time, but why? What is it about Star Wars that touches so many people around the world.

Sure the visual effects were and are amazing but it comes down to is STORY, something lacking in today’s cinematic landscape.

When George Lucas was in USC film school he was fascinated with the work of a Joseph Campbell, an American mythologist, writer, and lecturer, best known for his work in comparative mythology and the all-important ‘Hero’s Journey‘.

His work covers many aspects of the human experience. His philosophy is often summarized by his phrase: “Follow your bliss,” advice we all need to take to heart. George Lucas stated, following the release of the first Star Wars film in 1977,

“…that Star Wars was shaped, in part, by ideas described in The Hero with a Thousand Faces (FREE AUDIO BOOK VERSIONS HERE) and other works of Campbell’s.”

The linkage between Star Wars and Joseph Campbell was further reinforced when updated reprints of Joesph Campbell’s book used the image of Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker on the cover.

Below I have compiled a group of videos detailing the creation of not only the mythology of Star Wars but of STORY itself. They will show you how you can create a mythology in your stories and screenplays. Enjoy and May the Force Be with You.

The Mythology of STAR WARS

In this interview, made in 1999, Bill Moyers discusses with George Lucas how Joseph Campbell and his concept of the Monomyth also known as ‘The Hero’s Journey’ and other concepts from Mythology and Religion shaped the Star Wars saga.

The Power of Myth

This EPIC1988 documentary, The Power of Myth, was filmed at George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch. During his interviews with Bill Moyers, Joseph Campbell discusses the way in which Lucas used The Hero’s Journey in the Star Wars films (IV, V, and VI) to re-invent the mythology for the contemporary viewer.

The interviews in the first five episodes were filmed at  Skywalker Ranch in California, with the sixth interview conducted at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, during the final two summers of Joseph Campbell’s life.

The series was broadcast on PBS a year after his death. In these discussions, Joseph Campbell presents his ideas about comparative mythology and the ongoing role of myth in human society.

These talks include excerpts from Joseph Campbell’s all-important and best-known work The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Below are some videos explaining Joseph Campbell’s work. If you are a screenwriter, this is a must-watch. Watch it here: The Power of Myth

Here are some of Joseph Campbell’s Video Series you should watch to get a better understanding of the “Power of Myth.”

Star Wars: The Making of the Myth

Anthony Daniels hosts a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Star Wars.

Joseph Campbell–On Becoming an Adult

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