Hello and welcome to the narrative first podcast. The only podcast where story is King, I’m your host Jim Hull, the voice of Narrative First, and this is episode 64 The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
Welcome back everyone to another round of story structure and story analysis from a Dramatica point of view, this episode is a special one. If you’re familiar with Dramatica, you know, what the significance of the number 64 means. For those of you who don’t know there are 64 elements at the base of each of the domains. The same 64 elements appear under a domain of universe domain of physics domain of psychology and a domain of mind. The only difference is their arrangement—which narrative elements are paired with which narrative elements. And this speaks of Dramatica’s model of the story mind which is all about appreciating meaning from a narrative.
In short, you’re seeing what an inequity looks like from different perspectives. And each of those throughlines, each of those domains, is a different perspective.
So that’s why you have the same 64 elements at the base of each domain they’re just arranged differently because things look different when they’re viewed from a different point of view.
Point of fact, there should actually be 256 separate elements that are completely different. But when you come to the difference between knowledge within a context of physics and knowledge within a context of universe and knowledge within the context of psychology and knowledge within the context of mind, it becomes difficult to ascertain the difference between these different perspectives.
So that’s why they made sure that at the very bottom it was the same 64 elements and also to get across the point that you’re basically looking at the same thing in each of the different throughlines.
Because this is such a special episode because this is the 64th episode and because of something that I discovered this week that I was so excited about. I pretty much put down everything else that I was interested in publishing this week. And that would be the story forms for both The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
Since I was first introduced to Dramatica, I always wondered why there weren’t story forms for these two films, especially the second one, which I consider to be one of the best films of all time. It’s definitely one of the films that crafted my interest in movie making and I would listen to the soundtrack over and over and over again. I had the original LP with the Darth Vader mask on the front cover and pretty much wore that into the ground.
So I was always surprised as to why there wasn’t an actual storyform for The Empire Strikes Back. And when I would bring it up there was always the thought that well, Empire is basically another chapter in a larger story. You know, there might be a storyform for the entire trilogy but really Empire is just a phase. It’s a signpost or a journey. It’s it’s on its way. It’s in-between narratives. And that made sense to me, because when I was first introduced to Dramatica and I was learning everything that went into it all the different storypoints, it was difficult to kind of figure out well, which storypoint is which—what is the goal of the story? How does it actually end up? Because it feels like there’s several different things going on—and that’s what I discovered this week. There are several different things going on, and it’s really great to find out what that the actual code of that narrative is. It’s really exciting.
And of course Jedi, I’ve never been a huge Jedi fan. I do like the end, you know sista all that stuff. That’s great— but— the in-between stuff it’s always felt a little choppy compared to Empire. But I was also really surprised to find an extremely strong storyform in that one as well and I’ll get to the idea of a storyform for the entire Trilogy at the end of this podcast.
First off, I want to talk about Empire once again two sections. So the first section will be all about Empire and the second section will be about Jedi and the entire trilogy. When it comes to Empire my first thought was the feeling at the end and I thought it would be interesting to kind of go through my thinking process when I was discovering the storyform, so you can get an idea of how I come about the storyforms from a more holistic point of view. I’m always focusing on the meaning like what’s actually being said and how do all the different story points work together? I’m not ever focused on just one story Point even though I’m going to go through it linearly. I’m getting a feel for it and balancing the different throughlines in my head as I’m thinking about it and that’s how I’m able to find the one storyform, or in this case, two storyforms that communicates a solid message.
In the case of Empire Strikes Back, the first thing I focused in on was the ending. The screenwriter that had written to me asking me, you know, why aren’t their storyforms for Empire and Jedi? And what did I think they were? He had suggested success bad. I had no explanation for it just success bad and I always felt that it was failure bad, that it was a tragedy for everybody involved. This was not a happy ending there.
And when I looked towards the end, it was apparent to me that, while there was a bit of success in Leia and Chewie escaping and you know, they’re on the medical frigate and they rescued Luke and they’re they’re on their way to go do something good. There’s a reasonable amount of success. There’s really pretty much failure all around even for the Empire and because of that failure what I did was I focused on. Okay, what would the story consequence be in that failure story? And it didn’t feel like a psychological consequence, it felt more like a physical consequence like they were running away.
And so I went straight to physics and I looked at the four contexts for physics which are understanding learning doing and obtaining. And definitely not understanding or learning, but between obtaining and doing—I felt well those two feel really strong, and it’s funny because if you’re familiar with the storyform of the original Star Wars film a new hope, you know that the concern the overall story concern is actually doing.
I felt at the end certainly both sides are still doing what they’ve always been doing. The rebels are running away. And the Empire is continuing to pursue them. I felt like that felt like a good consequence for a failure storyform. And the way that the mind works, if you have a story consequence of doing in a narrative, that means the story goal is being— or in the new terminology is playing a role. But for me—being— that describes that narrative element much better.
And that surprised me because it’s Empire Strikes Back. How could it possibly be in Psychology? There’s the battles with the AT-AT walkers on Hoth. There’s the asteroid Chase. There’s all the laser battles on Bespin. Everything, that’s what you consider to be Star Wars, that’s always a physics concern. To be presented with the idea of it being in Psychology, that was really surprising to me and I wasn’t quite sure if that made sense.
So the next thing I did is I stepped back and I looked at who the principal emotional subjective characters are in the story, and certainly Luke Skywalker is the main character. And then I jumped to an influence character. There was a moment where I thought oh, it’s Darth right? It’s a father-son story and I realized that’s not part of it. It has to be Yoda. I mean Yoda is his influence character. He’s the Ben Kenobi of of this film and he has the greatest influence on them and their mentorship is all about the training on Dagobah.
And that felt really good because when you have a story concern of doing, when you have a story concern that’s in the physics domain, that’s actually where the relationship story throughline where that conflict is going to appear and certainly Luke and Yoda’s relationship the conflict there is all about their training. It’s all about doing. Do or do not, there is no try right? I mean that that feels perfect. That’s exactly what it is that just thought of that. That’s great when I have so much to write about when it comes to Empire Strikes Back…
And that felt good and certainly Luke is a doer and Yoda is a beer so that would put Luke in universe and Yoda in mind. And once you set the story consequence of doing which also sets the overall story concern of being, it sets the concerns in the other two throughlines, such that Luke’s concern will be progress and Yoda’s concern will be preconscious.
Certainly Yoda’s concern of preconscious of you know, being able to keep yourself under control and not to give in to hate, all that stuff that feels great for preconscious. For progress, I wasn’t so sure about Luke whether or not that felt right, but with three out of four, I felt like I was on the right path.
And then when I looked at the issues underneath and turned to issues of fact fantasy security and threat, those are the four issues that are under progress, fact definitely leapt out at me.
When it comes to Dramatica and you’re trying to figure out the storyform, the story structure is the entire story as it’s already completed. Both space and time is encoded into the actual story form. So you’re seeing the entire thing. What’s the meaning of the entire narrative? You’re not experiencing it. You’re not going along with the characters and thinking well, what are their concerns? What is their focus? What is their Direction? That’s how its positioned or explained in a lot of the materials for Dramatica, but the actual storyform those story points when they get set to elements and you put certain narrative elements within a context within a certain appreciation. They all work together to describe the entire gestalt, the entire meaning of the story. What is the narrative all about?
So his issue of fact is the fact and this is a huge spoiler and I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before but my best friend Jason Elliot, he ruined The Empire Strikes Back for me on the way to school. Walking down Lyons Avenue, there was the Plaza theater across the street, and he saw the Marquee and I’m about to ruin it for you, I don’t if you haven’t seen it yet. If you haven’t seen The Empire Strikes Back you’re going to want to press pause and go see it. But he pointed the Marquee and he said oh, you know Darth is Luke’s father and I was like get out of here. That’s not true. And of course, you know, it was true.
While it isn’t something that is talked about throughout the entire narrative, it is the underlying subtext, as I mentioned last week the Dramatica storyform is all about the subtext. It’s what’s driving the narrative the fact that he is the son of Darth Vader is very emotionally upsetting for him. And he’s the only one dealing with that. And then when I looked under the elements for fact to figure out what his problem could be. There was Non-accurate, accurate I think proven and unproven and he spends a lot of time trying to prove himself. So I knew focus and Direction proven and unproven. And obviously he gets the accurate information at the end and which would make his problem Non-accurate. And I felt like that felt like a really strong storyform. At that point, I had the entire storyform. I had it all figured out. I knew it was a changed resolved. I knew he had an approach of doer. I knew his problem-solving style was clearly linear action driven story option lock failure and bad. He’s not in a good place. At the end, you know been why didn’t you tell me and he’s not in a great place.
And I also liked it because of the dynamic that set up between the overall story and the main character throughline. It creates a start Dynamic when you have the main character throughline and the overall story throughline in a vertical alignment, when one is on top of the other that creates a start Dynamic so he’s changing by moving into something. It’s not that he’s got a chip on his shoulder and he’s really complaining about everything. He’s actually moving into a new place.
This is also the arrangement as I mentioned before of a Coming of Age story and I always felt like Empire Strikes Back was a coming-of-age story. It wasn’t like the first Star Wars where it’s a stop where he has to stop testing himself all the time this he has to start—it’s not that he has to do—that’s the other thing, you know, when you talk about wants and needs and what are they going to learn? Oh he has to start doing this. It’s not that he has to start doing its that he starts Accurate-izing which I thought at first was just the fact that he gets the accurate information that you know, I’m your father. No that can’t be and I think part of it is that but when I went to put it all into the Atomizer, the Narrative argument part of the Atomizer that’s generated for me. I mean, I have to put the actual specific storytelling in there. But it’s actually generated for me so that I have to fill in the blanks essentially and it said start or uh, what did it say?
It said everyone suffers the tragic consequences of doing when you start accurate and I didn’t think you know finding out who your father truthfully was. I didn’t feel like that was part of the narrative argument and that’s when I looked into accurate and the good enough thing, and that’s when it hit me— it’s everyone suffers the consequences of retreating, of essentially doing what they’ve always done running away, when you start thinking you’re good enough to face your enemy.
So he changes into accurate. I’m good enough. I can do it. Don’t worry about it. And that’s failure bad. And that’s the meaning the central meaning of the central storyform for The Empire Strikes Back and that felt amazingly strong to me. It felt like exactly what the narrative of Empire Strikes Back. And I was shocked because I didn’t think there would be a one narrative in Empire and as I’ll get into there were actually two, I didn’t know there would be an actual complete one.
Now the psychology of being well, how does that actually fit in because again, it’s Star Wars and really if you think about what the Empire’s doing if you think of who’s the one that’s initiating conflict and who’s the one that’s reticent to engage in Conflict, there’s one side whose initiating and one side whose reticent. I believe in this storyform, the Empire is actually the protagonist the objective protagonists pursuing and consider. If he could be turned he would become a powerful Ally, he would be a powerful Ally. We want Luke to be a part of the dark side. That’s the actual goal of the story. Therefore, that’s how you have a failure on both sides the Empire actually fails in the role of objective protagonist.
You also get a lot of the comedy that’s in there the dysfunctional back and forth between Darth and the generals about playing a role, you know, uh, the generals looking at each other well wasn’t me it was him and the conflict that goes with well, who’s the new guy in charge? Okay. Now it’s your fault everything goes to you and you know pray I don’t alter know, you have failed me for the last time that speaks to an overall story issue of ability. You just don’t have the ability to do what I need you to do Admiral Oswald coming out of light speed too close to the planet. That’s the Non-accurate overall story problem just wasn’t good enough to, he was way off line, that created all kinds of conflict and that’s why he gets choked out. So a lot of the comedy that is in there between Darth and his subordinates that’s tied up in the overall story as well.
That’s why I set the overall story throughline, the name of that throughline to enemies and allies. It’s all about whose side, do you want to, again also the psychological issues on Bespin where Lando’s pretending to be something he’s not there’s that conflict there where everybody is involved in manipulating each other and I was just really surprised that The Empire Strikes Back was in an overall story domain of psychology
Other quotes other instances of this—pray I don’t alter it any further. That’s another instance an overall story issue of ability because Darth has the ability to crush them and that’s why Lando puts his hand up to his throat. If you don’t behave which is being—the concern of being is behavior, that’s when people aren’t behaving the way that they everybody feels like they should or they’re behaving out of line. That’s when you have conflict.
And then of course the lightsaber battle between Darth and Luke at the end, it’s not a relationship story throughline, its actual overall story. And the conversation there, it’s not so much that Darth is superior to him physically. It’s not, I mean it’s happening, but you know Obi-Wan has trained you well. I’m full of surprises, again overall story issue of ability.
Also with Luke’s main character solution of accurate search your feelings. You know it to be true. No, that’s impossible. That’s not true. That’s impossible. It’s because that is true that is accurate. That is an accurate statement, you know. It’s true. And that’s why it’s so painful for him because that is his solution. That is what he moved into and that’s why the story judgment of Bad. Just looking over the storyform as well, once you’ve completed the Dramatica application will actually fill in and give you catalysts and inhibitors for the overall story and relationship story through line and it will also give you main character unique abilities and critical flaws. And this is always a nice way to check your work to see well does this feel right?
It gives Luke main character unique ability of Fact and I believe, that that is the fact that he is Darth’s son. The fact is that’s the truth and so he’s gonna end up with him at the end. That’s that’s a fact that’s going to happen. His critical flaw turns out to be worth. I think this is great because the mistakes he makes what leads to failure is it’s worth it to him to save his friends. They mean more to me than completing my training. The fact is I’m going to get my butt kicked but because he put them first because it was worth it to him that critical flaw came into play and that’s what the narrative is saying is that him leaving like that. That’s what brought about the failure of the story.
Looking at Yoda’s influence character critical flaw of fantasy, you when he lifts the X-Wing out of the swamp. And he expects Luke to do the same which is great because the relationship story focuses all on expectations, you know, you expect too much. I mean you expect the impossible that also ties in with Yoda’s critical flaw of fantasy that it’s just it’s too much. It’s impossible. There’s no way I could ever do that, and that lessons his influence on him. Like there’s no way I could ever be that kind of person.
Looking over at their relationship story throughline, an issue of skill, certainly all the training that goes on in Dagobah, being able to lift rocks, and of course, lift the X-Wing. Non accurate is, you know, he’s Reckless the recklessness of Luke when it comes to training. That’s the essence of the conflict within their relationship. The problem of Non-accurate. Recklessness is an example of non accurate. And as mentioned before, the focus in the relationship on the the unrealistic expectations. And the direction of determination both Yoda’s, you know determining whether or not he’s worthy of it whether or not he should be trained and Luke, you know their relationships splits when he determines he moves off in a different direction because he determines something is worth more to him.
The Catalyst of wisdom, you know, the unwise decision to leave creates conflict in them, but also Yoda’s wisdom, his ability to explain the force to Luke is something that increases their relationship and actually brings them together. And certainly the inhibitor in their relationship is that moment when Luke gives up after the X-Wing, you know, I can’t it’s too big he fails. That is Thought, then their relationship story Inhibitor’s Thought. He’s thinking too much. And Yoda tells him, you know size matters not look at me, judge me by my size? Do you? And he goes off and explains everything. So with this storyform, it’s very very very strong. The best part the part that communicated most to me where I felt like I had the right one was this narrative argument. Where, start thinking you’re good enough to face this guy and you’re gonna fail. it’s gonna be a tragedy when you start thinking you’re good enough, and I believe that’s the central message of The Empire Strikes Back. And when we get back, I’ll talk about the other message.
All right. Let’s talk about the second storyform in The Empire Strikes Back. As strongly as I felt about the story form the first story form the enemies and allies story form. I did feel like there was a lot of physics conflict that was not explained by the story form. And so my first thought well, there must be another story form. But before deciding on any of that it’s important to find out who the main character and or influence characters are and whether or not there’s any kind of subjective change. If there isn’t an emotional change if there isn’t a a perspective change a paradigm shift, then you really don’t have a second storyform.
And of course when you look to Han and Leia and their romance, that’s all about Leia finally coming to light and seeing that she actually loves him. that great scene in the Carbonite freezing chamber where she tells him she loves him and he says I know. That’s the heart of the Empire Strikes Back and their relationship is very much in Psychology. It’s very much very dysfunctional. I’m not talkin to her. I don’t want to have anything to say to her. I know you love me. No you I don’t get away from me. You scoundrel all that stuff is very much psychology, which I thought was great because as I mentioned in the last section, if you put the overall story or if you put the relationship story in Psychology that puts the overall story of that storyform in physics, which is what I wanted because I did think the Hoth battle, the Asteroid Chase, and the stuff on Bespin, were all physics related.
But notice that they don’t necessarily involve Luke. Luke is a bit of a player in the Hoth battle, but the other stuff, running away and through the asteroids, there’s a tremendous amount of skill in there. So while in the first storyform you had a lot of skill and experience with the training, you know, Luke and Yoda their personal relationship, the overall story between the Empire and essentially the good guys, the rebels that are trying to deliver the princess, get her away and get her back to safety that has a tremendous amount of skill and experience. And the overall story issue of experience, you know, it’s not really smart, you know the odds what are the odds 3751 to 1, don’t tell me the odds all that stuff that overall story issue is somewhere contained in wisdom, Enlightenment, skill, and experience and those are the four issues that are underneath Doing. Those two felt really strong.
The thing at first I wasn’t too sure about was main character influence character because I don’t want to make any assumptions. I don’t want to jump to conclusions. But I did feel again that there was some kind of correlation between the first storyform. Because when it comes to Leia, it’s almost the same thing as what happens with Luke. Luke goes from Non-accurate to Accurate. You get some accurate information.
For Leia, she’s completely driven by no way. No way. That’s so off the mark. There’s no way we should be doing any of this stuff. I don’t have any feelings for you too. Hey, you know what? I love you. And that to me is a sign of somebody moving from non accurate to accurate, but I wasn’t sure how that would play out with the rest of the storyform.
Putting it into, you know, just sending her to non accurate into accurate, that gives the overall story has the same problem non accurate to Accurate, which is great because it mirrors the same dynamic that’s in the first storyform. You know, they’re wrong about Lando. There’s all kinds of problems. And I feel like there’s some kind of accuracy. I can’t quite remember, but I know R2 being able to plug into the systems, there’s something accurate about that and threepio saying, you know, I knew you could do it all the time whenever he’s complaining about it. That’s all Non-accurate. But when he’s I knew you could do it that’s very much an objective objectified version of accurate in motion. That’s certainly what that is.
And that instantly said the relationship story throughline problem to test and the solution to trust. That’s a very classic arrangement when you have a relationship of Love Story in Psychology under Being, the issue is desire. So no, there’s no way I’m attracted to you. There’s no way I want you that feels great. And of course the test like let me see maybe you could use a good kiss like those kind of things. That’s all test. And then at the end there’s a built-up amount of trust where it’s like, don’t worry. I’m gonna come for you. Everything’s going to be. Okay. Don’t worry about it. I know. That’s that wraps up their relationship story throughline.
I wasn’t sure quite about main character influence character, although when you think about it, mean Han is not the the central character of it. But certainly we spend a lot of time with him. It was written by a bunch of guys in the 1980s late seventies, I guess and. You know when she the clearest indicator is she goes off to the torture chamber. We don’t know what the heck happened. So we’re not really in there with her. We’re not really sure what’s going on.
So putting Han in the main character place and giving him a steadfast resolve and then giving Leia the change resolve that gives him a problem of hunch. That was it. I knew that was the right story form. If you have Han Solo and when it comes to a steadfast character, their problem isn’t so much a problem for them as it describes who they are describes the essence of who they are. For instance hiccup in the How to Train Your Dragon series, his problem is protection. He’s all about defending people and that’s where he’s always coming from.
When you get to Han, he’s all about hunch. Never tell me the odds. I have a hunch you really like me. I have a bad feeling about this like that is exactly who he is and that’s how he gets through everything and that’s how he gets everybody through everything is hunch and that to me that just wrapped it all up.
Diving into that story form. Uh, let’s see. What do we have here? Again, this would put Han in the protagonist spot and the Empire back in their usual spot of antagonist.
But looking into that one the overall story Catalyst of skill. So who’s the better pilot? You know, that’s the whole asteroid Chase. Inhibitor of fact that’s finding out that Lando I had a deal with the Empire before they got there that certainly slows things down. That’s how the Catalyst and inhibitor works in an overall story.
For Han, his unique ability is security. I think that’s both him being secure in what he can and can’t do but also his ability to protect everybody and he just has everything locked down. The critical flaw is wisdom. I just saw this his critical flaw is wisdom. Where he perhaps doesn’t make the smartest Choice all the time.
And the one who pushes against him the influence character for Leia that’s her confidence the confidence in who she is and what she believes. And I also really like their relationship story throughline the focus and Direction. When I was playing around with who’s the main character and influence character, I thought at first the focus was expectation and the direction was determination, but it’s actually the focus is on determination. In other words based on circumstantial evidence, I can tell that you actually really like me and what do you expect? That we’re gonna get together? There’s no way that’s ever going to happen that speaks to their dynamic in the relationship story. Looking at the signposts, I love that the influence character signpost 4 is in subconscious. That’s where she tells him. She loves him. Subconscious is all about love, fear, anger. Obviously here. It’s very much about love. Conscious her first signpost that works well too because that’s when she’s like, there’s no way I’m not interested in you even remotely.
For Han, his signpost 4 of the future like what the heck’s gonna happen? His future is completely unset, because now he’s going off to, you know, this bounty hunter took him and gonna take him to Jabba. What’s going to happen to him? That works great.
This is not a committee could be the relationship story signpost 2 of conceptualizing. That’s actually really funny. And then the second half of the narrative plot progression in the overall story of doing to obtaining. That matches the first film where you have all the interaction all the asteroid stuff going to bespin and then escaping and breaking free.
So that’s what I love about The Empire Strikes Back is those two storyforms just meshed together. I loved how the two storyforms were connected together with the same problem and solution, but I like how one was in Psychology and the other one was in physics and that was just such a great tremendous interconnection between the two storyforms. Such great meaning to it which is explains why it’s such a magnificent film and why I love it so much and why it just works compared to any other film in the entire Star Wars Trilogy the abomination of the prequels and anything in the new set. It’s just the best because it just everything is wrapped together in this great coalescing magnificent piece of narrative art.
Onto the Return of the Jedi as you notice, there were no updates this week. I decided that this was such a monstrous episode and because it’s the special episode number 64, and really the only updates this week are going to be these storyforms on the atomizer. I will be writing tons of articles on all this but for now, we’re just going to talk about it here on the podcast and then you can always check out the storyforms on the narrative first atomizer.
So on to Return of the Jedi, so I was super excited about the story forms that I found for Empire and couldn’t wait to share them. But when it came to Return of the Jedi, I started to question whether or not this was just going to wrap up the entire Trilogy because like I said, I wasn’t a huge fan of the film. I like the forest battle theme music I used to listen to that a lot when I would do homework in high school or actually when I would do homework in elementary school because I’m much younger than that. Um, I like that part and like I said, I like the throne room battle scene at the end, but you know, the film itself is not the greatest and so I wasn’t too sure about a storyform.
So what I did is I started with the emotional, the subjective characters. And here again, Luke is the main character. And here we finally get the father-son stuff because I was looking for the these subjective change, right? I always look for two people two points of view and which one changes to the other side and this is where people say. Well, you know, the entire Trilogy is this story of the son redeeming the father right? But I don’t really think the first two episodes deal with that. Maybe tangentially, but I don’t think that was purposeful and I’ll get to that towards the end.
So certainly this is a Luke as steadfast main character and father as the change influence character. I was 100% positive this wasn’t going to be an overall story in Psychology. I knew it was something in physics. But something about just keeping it in doing and obtaining didn’t feel right. It didn’t resonate with me. And because I’ve done so much work with this I started to think well, maybe is it in learning? Why would it possibly be and learning that doesn’t even make sense? Like how could that how could that play out? What I did is then I just went to Luke because he’s the one that is the strongest and the one that I thought, well, I could probably get a handle on that. And that would put his again when you put the overall story concern in a certain area that would put the concerns in the other areas.
This is another reason why I moved away from doing or obtaining. I didn’t see Luke focusing on the future and I really didn’t see progress as the essence of where his problems were and I would have been really shocked if it was the same area that we had dealt with, you know in the first two films. So looking at present you have issues of work attempt attract and repel. That felt great because he’s all about what he can and can’t do which is work and attempt. Attempting to do something that’s almost impossible and being attracted or repelled by the dark side. Those issues felt super strong.
And then going down, you know into mind where Darth would be and his influence character concern of conscious those issues are investigation doubt appraisal and reappraisal. It’s too late for me son like that whole thing when you know, he Luke gives himself up and they have their father-son moment there. That’s very much appraisal reappraisal investigation doubt. That’s you know, hey I appreciate the nice words, but this isn’t going to work out that fulfills that part if that was the actual narrative.
And then that would put their relationship in conceiving. Which there are moments where particularly something like deficiency, where there’s a deficiency in the father-son relationship one wants something and one does sort of want something as well, there’s an imbalance of wants in that relationship. Compared to their permission what they can and can’t do needs and expediency. I felt like that was a great explanation a great indicator of the conflict in their relationship, I really liked those four issues. I’m sure as I go into the Articles can’t quite remember it right now because I didn’t watch it as much as I watched Empire Strikes Back, but I know when he turns himself over I’m sure there is some sort of dialogue that’s referring to conceiving.
Then the overall story would be in learning. And that’s when it hit me. It’s all about the goal of learning whether or not there’s still good in my father. That’s what it is. It’s not specifically stated, although I think it comes rather close. Again with the Dramatica storyform, it’s always the subtext that the storyform is describing. Its not describing what’s actually on the minds of the characters. It’s where the imbalance is where the conflict is being generated from. Where is the potential in the narrative and the potential there is there’s this protagonist who’s going to see to learn whether or not he can bring his father back, and he succeeds at the end.
So that felt very very strong to me. I felt really good about that and I liked that it was in a different location. It explained my disconnect from it, especially at a younger age because conflict in learning and present and conceiving and conscious those aren’t as impactful as perhaps doing being progress and preconscious, you know, everyone refers to Pixar films, especially the first 10 or 15 as boy films. actually It would explain where they got that from because the first two Star Wars films were both in the upper right quadrant of the structural model, but it also describes why that third one just feels a little bit off because now it’s dealing in a different section.
Because the trend as of late is all these films shape of water and cocoa and three Billboards. All of them are in that same area. I knew that we would be dealing with Pro action and reaction certainly acceptance and non-acceptance and I felt evaluation and re-evaluation. I thought there was a lot of that in there and out of the four issues that were in learning. This was just something I was doing in my head. I thought out of prerequisites strategy analysis and preconditions. I felt preconditions had the greatest possibility.
The reason for that is all the stuff with the emperor. Well, you know, I’m sure you know by now it’s too late for your father. And you know, we just got this whole thing going on and it’s time for you to join. There’s a lot of preconditions that are all tied up into that. That felt strong with me and it also because of where it is in the structural model. It sets up the relationship story issue between father and son to also be in that lower right hand corner under conceiving which is deficiency, which I felt out of those four that felt the strongest. And looking under preconditions, you have evaluation reevaluation acceptance and non-acceptance.
So I felt great about that that felt like okay. this is I’m on track. I’m on track with my intuition the model is giving back to me what it is. So I didn’t feel like there’s a lot of acceptance and non acceptance or rejection going on with Luke. I didn’t really feel like that was a part of it and because he’s the steadfast character. He shares the same focus and direction. I did think for sure a lot of evaluation and a lot of reevaluation. And this is when it hit me that this was the right storyform.
When you go over to the present and you look under attempt and you look for focus and direction of either acceptance or non-acceptance you find inaction and protection. That’s great. His problem is in action and his solution is proaction as a steadfast character. Again, the steadfast character the problem describes what they’re all about. It doesn’t describe the kind of problems they have, personal problems they have. It’s not really about that. It’s about their work about the evaluating and the reevaluating.
The inaction, I mean when he goes into Jabba’s Palace when he turns himself over when he’s there with the emperor, he’s all about inaction. I’m not gonna do anything. Until you mention my sister. You say sister, if you won’t turn then perhaps she will—Boom. He goes in to the solution of protection. And for a steadfast character if you want them to waiver, if you want to, you know, not make them 100% one way and give them a lot of believability, that is him changing. He’s changing into protection. He’s turning to the dark side right and protection protection protection until good, good finish what you started, you know the emperor pushing him. And what does he do? He tosses the lightsaber aside presents his element of inaction and says no way. I’m a Jedi like my father before me this ain’t happening.
And that I felt amazing. I thought well, that’s great. And then when you take that back over to the overall story, it gives a problem of Acceptance and a solution of non acceptance and that means darth’s problem is going to be acceptance. And his solution is going to be non acceptance. So acceptance. Hey just accept it. This is just the way things are kid. This is who I am. You just have to accept me the way I am and then finally at the end he switches to non-acceptance or the better term of rejection rejects the emperor and tosses him overboard.
That’s when I knew I had the right storyform. It felt so strong it felt so great. Then when I looked at the actual story elements that dramatica presented to me. It just confirmed what I had imagined. It was fantastic. I loved it. That’s how I was able to come up with a storyform for Return of the Jedi.
Looking at the overall story so then how is the overall story problem of acceptance. If you look at the creatures in Jabba’s Palace, they all just kind of accept and put up with hey this is just the way things are and the Ewoks they’re all about rejection. They just show all these show, you know, we don’t put up with any of this stuff. We’re always going to fight these guys, even if they’re way better than we are technologically we’re still going to fight back and that’s where you get the overall story solution of success.
So looking at unique abilities critical flaws focus and Direction all that stuff. When you look at the story points that work with the Dynamics that I just talked about you find continuous confirmation that this is the story form for Return of the Jedi. Luke’s unique ability of work—he can do what needs to be done to defeat the emperor. It’s just that his strategy isn’t always the greatest that’s his critical flaw, his strategy. So he’s just, you know might not have the right plan all the time, but he can do the work he can actually do it and that’s why he’s able to bring success. He walks into Jabba’s palace with no real plan or a plan that actually relies on being able to use his Jedi mind trick on Jabba. That’s another instance of learning as a concern. It’s like oh I just learned that I don’t have control over these guys. Oh, okay. Well, that’s might be a bit of a problem.
With the Catalyst and inhibitor in their relationship story, the Catalyst of permission is something where know, I can’t do this. We can’t be this father-son. That’s just not happening. But the inhibitor is the appraisal. No, I I know who you are. And I know you have good in you and that slows down any kind of conflict between them. You know and then when he says tell your sister you were right. I believe that’s more about the possibility.
The probability between the two of them that is their relationship story problem is it’s an improbable thing. It’s just an improbable thing. Anybody would tell him this just is not going to happen both sides. There’s an improbable factor to it that it’s not going to happen. But it’s that possibility that there is still a glimmer of hope within his father that resolves that father-son relationship.
And looking at the signposts. I love this is so great the main character signpost 4, Luke’s signpost 4 of the past. You know, I’m a Jedi like my father before me. That’s clearly. That’s exactly what his throughline is all about. Darth’s preconscious signpost 4, that would be him inciting Luke. Actually, yeah, that’s great. That’s him inciting and influencing Luke to give in to hate and to get a reaction out of him. And then also his reaction to just pick up the emperor toss them off because he’s seen his son get hurt. And I believe when Luke turns himself over. There’s probably also some memory in there. That’s the influence character signpost 3 that presents itself into the narrative.
This is a really strong story form for Return of the Jedi and it explains why it’s set apart from the first two, why feels a little bit odd. Because it’s dealing with some other information, some other narrative elements. When it comes to whether or not there is a story form for the entire Trilogy. That’s a different matter.
I’m not sure you’ll find any kind of appreciable difference that would warrant another storyform between any of these four storyforms, the first one for a new hope, the two for Empire, and the fourth one in Jedi. I don’t believe there’s some other meaning being told.
So it’s not that a Trilogy requires a storyform, it’s whether or not there was an original intent whether or not there was a purpose, a purposeful drive to create a story from the very beginning to tell a continuous story and to deal with different narrative thematics. You can’t really say that this last one is a part of the trilogy and I’m not sure that you could actually find narrative elements that are different enough to warrant an entirely new storyform. Something like the Tangled television series, we actually crafted an entire story form for all four seasons. Originally, it was going to be four seasons. I believe it’s only three now, but that story is still going to be there. There are narrative elements, there are issues that are being dealt with on top of the individual storyforms for each season. That was purposeful and they do deal with different issues different thematics.
When you look at Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi. There isn’t one argument being made. There isn’t one overall subjective story through line between two points of view that gets resolved at the end that is any different from the ones that are described in Star Wars Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. A lot of times it’s talked about as a father-son story between the three films. I’m not sure if you could see a relationship between Luke and Darth that is anything besides what I just described in Return of the Jedi with the inaction. Because clearly Luke is not inaction in Star Wars and he’s clearly not steadfast throughout the whole story. There’s not a certain point of view there. They are really treated like serialized episodes where there’s a consistency of subject matter, but the narrative argument being made there isn’t a an overarching argument that’s going through all three narratives.
When you’re trying to figure out a storyform whether for something that’s already been made, or even your own film or novel, or whatever kind of story you’re trying to write, you always want to look to what is it you want to say? It’s not well, okay. I have a story. So what is the storyform? It’s like what is the story that you want to say? What is the argument you want to make? What is the message?
And if you don’t have that figured out, it’s becomes almost impossible to figure out story points because you’re just picking random things and interpreting things. That’s where we got into problems with the story limit about the sunrise or 6:13 a.m. You’re just randomly picking things.
It’s more about what is actually being said. What is the the argument being presented?
So when trying to figure out whether or not there’s a storyform for the entire Trilogy, you have to look towards well, what’s the argument being made? What is actually being said? What are the two different points of view that are at odds? And if you can’t find something, if you can’t find this dynamic between the two, then there really isn’t a storyform there. And that’s okay.
You can have three amazing films that made a ton of money and inspired a lot of people to become filmmakers that are involved in the film industry where you have separate storyforms for each film. It’s just the consistency of subject matter. And I believe this is what’s happening with the original Star Wars Trilogy. I think you have the storyform for the first film, you have the two in Empire Strikes Back, and then you have the concluding storyform that wraps up the entire trilogy.
So that’s it for this week’s special sixty fourth episode of The Narrative first podcast. Thank you for letting me talk about Star Wars for an hour or so. If you have any questions about anything, please feel free to write to me at narrativefirst.com/contact. I hope you have a great week of writing and I’ll see you next time.