In 1949’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell introduced the idea of the “hero’s journey,” or the “monomyth.” Campbell detected an underlying pattern running through mythology that suggested a timeless, fundamental link between all great heroes, a particular story that’s always stirred our spirit of adventure.
Roughly, it goes like this: “A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.”
Campbell broke down the ur-hero’s journey into a series of steps. In the video version above by Iskander Krayenbosch, you can see how they line up with Hollywood heroes’ stories in 12 amusing (if unsurprising) ways.
Neo, Luke Skywalker, Marty McFly, Harry Potter, E.T., Dorothy: no wonder these characters resonate with us so deeply. Each one springs, reinvented, from the deepest reaches of our subconscious.