Without Joseph Campbell there’d be no “Star Wars”

“It would not be too much to say that myth is the secret opening through which the inexhaustible energies of the cosmos pour into the human cultural manifestation.”

From the book The Hero with a Thousand Faces, by Joseph Campbell

You know, George Lucas really makes me green with envy.

Why didn’t I have friends like Francis Ford Coppolla and Brian De Palma after graduating from film school?

Actually . . . I never went to film school I just have an MFA in creative writing.

I’ve never lived in California either, so of course I don’t have a roster of influential friends who could introduce me to studio heads, but so what? I get the privileged honor of writing blog posts!

But enough about me. This post is supposed to be about a genius named George Lucas!

Did you know Joseph Campbell said George Lucas was the best student he ever had?

“Who?” you’re wondering. “And why does that matter when I could just go stream a Star Wars movie instead of reading this blog post, Evan?”

Well, let me explain . . .

Ol’ Joe Campbell wrote books about the influence of myth on human beans.

This guy Campbell researched ancient and modern religions, tribes, stories from long ago to discover what was so important and special about them to us.

Bill Moyers did a whole series on PBS, years ago, about the subject of “myth” and interviewed Joseph Campbell in it. The show is simply called The Power of Myth.

Basically, my point being, his books are trez importante to anyone who considers themselves a writer.

There are many elements in mythical stories that writers should gleam from.

There’s the hero’s journey, there’s usually a damsel in distress, there’s also some wise old sage man, person or “it” who helps the hero get the insight he needs to defeat evil and his enemies — and these are just a few of the things a writer should think about when writing their own stories.

“I had an idea of doing a modern fairy tale . . . (I) stumbled across The Hero with a Thousand Faces . . . I began to understand how I could do this. It was a great gift.”

George Lucas honoring Joseph Campbell

I don’t know about you, but the fact that George Lucas became a household name because he studied Campbell’s books makes me want to go out and buy everything written by this guy.

Here’s a list of books and stuff you should check out to continue your own personal odyssey of becoming the next George Lucas.

How Star Wars Conquered the Universe: The Past, Present, and Future of a Multibillion Dollar Franchise by Chris Taylor

Everyone’s reading this one to get the nitty gritty on how George Lucas did it.

Star Wars Trilogy Bonus Disc (2004)

A surprisingly cool video about George Lucas and the cast of Star Wars.

The Hero with a Thousand Faces (The Collected Works of Joseph Campbell) by Joseph Campbell

The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers

What do you think about George Lucas and Joseph Campbell? Leave a comment below.


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