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Storytelling Elements in Star Wars: A New Hope

May the force of storytelling be with us.

Cover photo by Jerry Silfwer (Instagram)

Here are the storytelling elements in Star Wars: A New Hope.

A while back, I outlined the storytelling elements found in almost all great stories in an infographic:

Storytelling Elements
The storytelling elements by Doctor Spin.

I wanted to apply these classical elements to a well-known story to see how well they would work.

The choice of a great story was a no-brainer:

I was born in 1979, two years after Star Wars was released, so Star Wars: A New Hope was essential to my upbringing.

Storytelling for Jedi Master - Star Wars—A New Hope
The classic poster from Star Wars: A New Hope.

What better story could I’ve used? The Star Wars characters immerse themselves in astronomical dramas quite literally. The storytelling lessons from star wars are epic.

Here goes:

Storytelling Elements in Star Wars

Here’s how I structured the storytelling elements in Star Wars: A New Hope to make them usable:

Darth Vader and Princess Leia - Star Wars - A New Hope - Storytelling Element
No one tells Princess Leia what to do—not even Darth Vader. And we learn about her commitment to the cause, but it will only get worse, especially for her home planet, Alderaan.

1. The Contract

Right at the beginning of Star Wars: A New Hope, you get to see Star Destroyers in space shooting lasers and Darth Vader taking Princess Leia Organa hostage while they negotiate the whole dramatic setup before Leia’s taken to her cell.

C3PO and R2-D2 - Star Wars - A New Hope - Storytelling Element
Two droids on the mission of their lives. We learn that delivering Princess Leia’s message to Obi-Wan Kenobi is more important than anything else.

2. The Pull

The Empire uses a tractor beam, but we’re drawn into the story by two droids, R2-D2 and C3PO. R2-D2 knows something but can only beep and blip, so C3PO has to ask lots of questions and repeat the answers to pull the viewer into the story.

Luke Skywalker is attacked by the Sand People on Tattoine - Star Wars - A New Hope - Storytelling Element
First knocked out, then he finds his home destroyed and his family dead. Luke Skywalker is having a rough day, and he’s forced to make a choice and take up the fight against the mighty Empire.

3. The Incident

After fighting with his foster parents, Luke Skywalker runs away from home and gets attacked by Sand People. However, he is then saved by his mysterious protector, Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Obi-Wan Kenobi gets the message from Princess Leia via R2-D2 - Star Wars - A New Hope - Storytelling Element
Princess Leia’s message functions as a catalyst, and through the eyes of Luke Skywalker, we get to experience how a whole new world opens up for him.

4. The Reveal

R2-D2 shows his message from Princess Leia, thus opening up a whole new world for Luke Skywalker, and then Obi-Wan Kenobi explains about the Jedi.

The Millennium Falcon escapes Mos Eisley on Tattoine - Star Wars - A New Hope - Storytelling Element
In fleeing from Mos Eisely, there’s no turning back for Luke Skywalker. He and his new companions are now in the fight against the Empire.

5. Point of No Return

Luke Skywalker realizes his life will never be the same as he rushes home to find his family butchered. He decides to follow Obi-Wan Kenobi and the droids to save Princess Leia. 1The Incident, The Reveal, and the Point of No Return are often quite close to each other in most narratives, and they might even be bundled together in the same scene or sequence. Together, they lead … Continue reading

Obi-Wan Kenobi is struck down by Darth Vader - Star Wars - A New Hope - Storytelling Element
What was supposed to be a brave and glorious rescue ends in the sacrifice of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Luke’s mentor and Jedi master.

6. Anti-Climax

Together with new companions Han Solo and Chewbacca, Luke Skywalker manages to save Princess Leia, but at the same time, Obi-Wan Kenobi is struck down by Darth Vader.

Luke Skywalker as the pilot ready to destroy the Death Star - Star Wars - A New Hope - Storytelling Element
It soon falls on Luke Skywalker to do the impossible. But he’s only begun to learn about the Force. And everyone dying around him.

7. All is Lost

As the rebels mobilize to strike against the Death Star, they suffer heavy losses against a superior military force. But the rebels are picked off one by one, and Luke Skywalker is left with the almost impossible task of blowing up the Death Star without a functioning aiming system.

Millennium Falcon Returns with the Rebel Fleet - Star Wars - A New Hope - Storytelling Element
Han Solo plays the role of the ultimate sidekick who saves the day when our hero needs him the most.

8. News of Hope

Luke Skywalker gets surprising help from Han Solo, who returns with the might of the Millennium Falcon—and the rest of the rebel fleet.

Luke Skywalker Torpedoes the Death Star - Star Wars - A New Hope - Storytelling Element
Luke Skywalker taps into the Force and — bull’s eye!

9. The Climax

Luke Skywalker completes his character arc for this movie by summoning the spirit of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Using the Force, Luke succeeded in blowing up the Death Star and, more importantly, took an important step towards fulfilling his destiny to become a true Jedi Knight.

The medal ceremony - Star Wars - A New Hope - Storytelling Element
Heroes should get medals, right?

10. The Pay-Off

Team Skywalker get medals, but more importantly—their companionship is forever forged, and they’re now ready to face the Empire yet again. 2Since the audience has actively taken part in the story, shared decisions and experienced struggles emotionally, they want to be rewarded through the main characters. They also want to feel that they … Continue reading

Additional Storytelling Resources

For corporate purposes, I prefer to use this simplified script:

Promise. Why should anyone read your post? A significant commitment ensures your readers know what to expect from this story. Of course, you also need to deliver on your contract.

Conflict. You need to explain that you understand the frustration. I’ve been there yourself. Why should anyone trust your story otherwise? Most writers rush this to get to the solution, but all good stories focus more on hardships than anything else.

Discovery. When, how and why did you decide to find a solution to your problem? A “point-of-no-return” is needed to engage the readers in your story. Tell them when, how and why.

Solution. As for the solution, keep it brief and to the point.

Call-to-action. And finally, since you’re creating a blog post, you should leave the reader with a clear notion of what to do next!

For honing your writing skills, these are my go-to books on persuasive writing:

… and last but not least, my favourite software for dramatic writing:

One more thing. As I’m writing this, we’re expecting a baby boy, and my wife is currently five days past her due date. If all goes well (and I think it will!)—I hope to have many years of storytelling in front of me.

May the Force be with all of us!

Thank you for reading this article. Please consider supporting my work by sharing it with other PR- and communication professionals. For questions or PR support, contact me via [email protected].

ANNOTATIONS
ANNOTATIONS
1 The Incident, The Reveal, and the Point of No Return are often quite close to each other in most narratives, and they might even be bundled together in the same scene or sequence. Together, they lead up to this: the audience must want Luke to go on this adventure before he decides to go. Audience buy-in is crucial.
2 Since the audience has actively taken part in the story, shared decisions and experienced struggles emotionally, they want to be rewarded through the main characters. They also want to feel that they have grown from this story and are now better equipped to face any challenges in their own lives.

Write B2B Blog Posts

Use my storytelling template (with action prompts) to create blog posts for B2B experts using The Outline Method. Including my 16-page How-To Guide, Demo Post, and professional feedback.

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Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwerhttps://www.doctorspin.net/
Jerry Silfwer, alias Doctor Spin, is an awarded senior adviser specialising in public relations and digital strategy. Currently CEO at KIX Index and Spin Factory. Before that, he worked at Kaufmann, Whispr Group, Springtime PR, and Spotlight PR. Based in Stockholm, Sweden.

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