RogueOne: Jynthe Savior
Somescholars have argued that Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth narrativestructure is dead. While this might be true to an extent,contemporary films still exhibit the hero’s journey as described inCampbell’s 1949 book TheHero with a Thousand Faces. Onesuch movie is Gareth Edward’s 2016 motion picture RogueOne whichis an anthology of the famous StarWars(Kermode). Mainly, the narrative follows Jyn and a team of rebels setto retrieve the plans for the Galactic Empire’s ‘Ultimate weapon’called the Death Star that has the power to destroy an entire planetfor the Rebel Alliance (RogueOne).In this manner, the film represents the general formula for a heroicventure. Although critics have referred to Jyn’s character as aweak lead since she doesn’t recover the schematics of the superweapon from Scarif all by herself, she trails the hero’s journey asstipulated in Campbell’s text, including Departure, Initiation, andReturn, and gives Alliance hope to defeat the Empire.
Tobegin with, Jyn’s heroic voyage starts with a Call to Adventure.Campbell’s description "…the call rings up the curtain,always, on a mystery of transfiguration—a rite, or moment, ofspiritual passage, which, when complete, amounts to a dying andbirth"(47). For Jyn such happens when her father is captured bythe Empire, and her mother is killed. According to Campbell, when thecall happens “the individual is drawn into a relationship withforces that are not rightly understood” by them (51). As such, Jynis saved by Saw and trained to be a rebel soldier, a world differentfrom the ordinary farm life that was her childhood. Fifteen yearslater, this call to adventure is affirmed when Cassian forcefullybreaks her out from the Empire’s prison while being transferred. Inthis manner, Jyn is taken unwillingly to the Rebel Alliance base,where her quest formally begins.
Jyn’ssecond forceful recruitment reveals that she does not want to helpthe Rebellion as she resists Cassian and attacks his soldiers. Thus,marks her Refusal to the Call. In the text, this phase isdemonstrated when “the subject loses the power of significantaffirmative action and becomes a victim to be saved” causing themto live a “life that feels meaningless (Campbell 59).” Such willbe the heroine’s fate if she refuses to join the Alliance since Jynrisks going back to being a prisoner or having an existence without apurpose. Therefore, she eventually concedes and accepts the rebelsoffer to lead them to Saw, so that they can get information on how todestroy the Death Star, in exchange for her freedom. By accepting togo to Jedi, the heroin consents to her fate.
Inthe next step, Jyn receives Supernatural Aid. In Campbell’s words"Having responded to (her) call, and continuing to followcourageously as the consequences unfold, the hero finds all theforces of the unconscious at his side" (72). Firstly, in RogueOne,such figures are represented by Saw, Galen, Cassian, K-2SO, Imwe, theblind spiritual leader, and his friend Base. Interestingly, Imwerecognizes her because of her mother’s necklace given to her at theopening scene of the movie (RogueOne).In Campbell’s words, they “represent a benign, protecting powerof destiny” (Campbell 71). As the film progresses, these threecharacters play significant roles in making Jyn’s mission possible.For example, Saw trains Jyn while her father reveals the secret toDeath Star’s destruction. In fact, they all die at the end of thecourse.
FromDeparture, the hero goes through the Initiation stage. Firstly, Jynpasses through the “The Road of Trials” which Campbell describesas a place where “the hero is covertly aided by the advice,amulets, and secret agents of the supernatural helper whom he metbefore his entrance into this region” (97). In RogueOne, theheroin’s necklace helps him encounter Chirut Imwe, a valuable allythroughout the film. It is via Imwe that Jyn gets in touch with Sawand later, her father, Galen. According to Campbell, “the originaldeparture into the land of trials represented only the beginning ofthe long and really perilous path of initiatory conquests and momentsof illumination.” (109). In this manner, Jyn learns of the weaknessof Death Star’s destruction via the hologram message that Bodhibrought from the Empire. However, the hardest trial for Jyn islearning to work with a team as she is used to being a loner.Conversely, to entirely adapt to his role as the savior, Campbellnotes that the hero has to trust that there is “benign powereverywhere supporting him in his superhuman passage” (Campbell 97).Indeed, all of these allies come in handy when the heroin goes intothe Scarif’s databank to steal the weapon’s schematics as theyprotect her from enemies such as Krennics.
Thethird subcategory of Initiation that Jyn experiences is called‘Attonement with the Father.’ Campbell describes this phrase asfollows, “Atonement consists in no more than the abandonment ofthat self-generate double monster—the dragon thought to be God(superego), and the dragon thought to be Sin (repressed id)"(120). In Jyn’s case, she has two father figures, including herbiological father, and her mentor Saw. In the first place, theheroine reconciles with Saw, after finding out that he let her getarrested to save her life. However, Saw dies soon after, “for (Jyn) who has grown really to know the father, the agonies of theordeal are readily borne” (Campbell 148). Secondly, Jyn alsoatones with Galen a few minutes before his demise. Both patriarchsbecome to Jyn what Campbell explains as “the sign of the futuretask “(136). Specifically, Galen says, “Save the rebellion andsave the dream" (RogueOne).Therefore, from these encounters, Jyn fully embraces her heroism andthe responsibilities.
After,the Atonement with the father, the hero realizes an Apotheosis. Inthis step, the savior feels powerful, spiritual and assumes agod-like status. Campbell explains that “this godlike being is apattern of the divine state to which the human hero attains who hasgone beyond the last terrors of ignorance (139). After beingenlightened from her mission in Jedi, Jyn confidently asks theAlliance Council to allow to her infiltrate Scarif’s database andretrieve the Death Star’s plans for them. Since both Saw and Galenare dead, the leaders decline taking the risk. Nevertheless, Jyn goesahead with the idea supported by Cassian, Chirut, Baze, and otherrebel soldiers. Apparently, the heroine has accepted to sacrificeherself for the course and is no longer afraid of pain or death.
BesidesDeparture and Initiation, the hero also has to deal with the Returnissue. In Campbell’s word’s, “whenthe hero-quest has been accomplished…the adventurer still mustreturn with his life-transmuting trophy” (Campbell, 193). Althoughthe Monomyth usually require that “thehero shall now begin the labor of bringing the runes of wisdom …back into the kingdom of humanity, where the boon may redound to therenewing of the community, the nation, the planet, or the tenthousand worlds” some heroes usually refuse to return (Campbell178). Eventhough the crew, including Jyn, perishes on the mission, they succeedin transmitting the plans to the Rebel Alliance base. Therefore, theheroine has completed the operation and delivered the trophy.
Further,RogueOne alsoexhibits the Magic Flight in the hero’s journey. According toCampbell, “if the hero in his triumph wins the blessing of thegoddess or the god and is then explicitly commissioned to return tothe world with some elixir for the restoration of society, the finalstage of his adventure is supported by all the powers of hissupernatural patron” (Campbell, 197). For Jyn, the nickname givenby her father, Stardust, helps her identify the file containing theschematics. Moreover, the magic flight occurs when the Rogue One crewand their allies plant bombs to cause destruction so that Jyn andCassian can make it to the databank and take the plans. For example,K-2SO,Chirrut, Baze, and others die fulfilling this function. Furthermore,when Cassian manages to recover from Krennics shot, he stops him fromhindering the heroine from transmitting the schematics to the Rebelfleet.
Asidefrom the Magic Flight, the need for outside assistance is also quiteparamount as the team in RogueOne isoverwhelmed during their mission. In Campbell’s book, this isreferred to as ‘Rescue from Without’ where “The hero may haveto be brought back from his supernatural adventure by assistance fromwithout. That is to say, and the world may have to come and get him”(Campbell 192). Initially, the Alliance Council does not supportJyn’s mission to steal the Death Star’splans but later sends troops to help the Rogue Onecrew.In this way, they are able to open the force field gate to allow thesmooth transmission of the schemes to the Rebel ship. Through the‘Rescue from Without,’ Jyn can complete her final task.
Forthe heroin to accomplish her assignment, Jyn and her team need tocross the return threshold. In his book Campbell defines this part ofthe voyage as “Thehero adventures out of the land we know into darkness there heaccomplishes his adventure, or again is simply lost to us,imprisoned, or in danger and his return is described as a comingback out of that yonder zone (202).” In the film, Jyn almost failsto accomplish her mission as Krennics, the threshold guardian almostkills her. However, Cassian awakens and murders Krennics allowing Jynto finish sending the transmission. Further, Campbell cautionsthat “the returning hero, to complete his adventure, must survivethe impact of the world” (226). However, Jyn and her crew arekilled by Tarkin using the Death Star.
Inconclusion, the film RogueOne clearlyillustrates Campbell’s Monomyth characteristics as described in hisbook, TheHero with A Thousand Faces.Jyn goes through the several steps as outlined in the text, includingDeparture, Initiation, and Return. In this manner, Jyn leaves hermundane life as a young girl and steps into the world of rebellion,for a dangerous world where she gains incredible information thathelp will help the Alliance destroy a super weapon meant to destroyplanets. Although Jyn and her team perish in the end, their missionis completed and the schematics are safe on Princess Leia`s ship.
Campbell,Joseph. TheHero With A Thousand Faces.1949. NewYork: Princeton University Press, 1973. Print.
Kermode,Mark. “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Review – Back to the RetroFuture.” TheGuardian, 2016,www.theguardian.com/film/2016/dec/18/rogue-one-star-wars-story-review.Accessed 16 April 2017.
RogueOne. Dir.Edward Gareth. Walt Disney Studios, 2016.
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