Click here for Part 1 and here for a history and introduction to the Hero’s Journey.

Stage 2: Rey’s Initiation

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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.”

— Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces


The beast-like vessel that “swallowed” the Falcon is revealed to be a freighter piloted by Han Solo, a name Rey recognizes as that of a famous smuggler and who Finn knows as a Rebellion war hero (reflecting the two sides of Han’s character).


Initially, Han is a THRESHOLD GUARDIAN who wants to take his ship back and drop Rey and Finn off on the nearest inhabited planet. It is only when Rey mentions the Resistance mission to find Luke that Han begins to soften.

However, before they can continue the conversation, the ship is boarded by two gangs—more THRESHOLD GUARDIANS who block the way forward. Han owes them money, revealing that he is back to his old scoundrel ways. He tries to talk his way out of the danger, but it doesn’t work. Not only are the gangs after Han, but one of the leaders recognizes BB-8 as a droid the First Order is looking for, along with two human fugitives.


Rey tries to save the day, but accidentally releases Han’s deadly cargo of Rathtars, which begin devouring the gang members. Rey manages to save Finn from a Rathtar and they all escape on the Falcon—Rey further impressing Han (TESTS) with her knowledge of the ship. The surviving gang leader alerts the First Order that the droid they are looking for is aboard the Falcon with Han Solo.

Kylo Ren and Snoke have sensed an awakening in the Force—the SHADOW’S awareness of the HERO growing stronger. We also learn here that Kylo Ren is Han’s fallen son. Snoke warns Kylo that facing his father will be his greatest test. Note that Kylo is on his own “Villain’s Journey.”


Back on the Falcon, Han, acting as a MENTOR in delivering information on the SPECIAL WORLD, tells Rey and Finn that the stories they have heard about Luke and the Force are true, and that Luke vanished after being betrayed by an apprentice—who we know to be Han’s own son. Han says that those closest to Luke believe that he went in search of the first Jedi Temple. It is also revealed that the map is incomplete and the location of the missing piece unknown.


The plot of The Force Awakens centers around the search for THE MENTOR. Rey encounters several mentors in her journey before finally coming to Luke. Han becomes Rey’s first MENTOR, who will help her on the path that will ultimately lead her to Luke. He is a former hero and reluctantly takes on the role of Mentor. He initially rejects his fame and sees himself as a failure. While he can confirm to Rey the existence of the Force, Han cannot train her to use it. He is a guide through the dangers of the physical world, but not the spiritual realm.

Though Han is unwilling to journey with them to the Resistance base, he agrees to help by taking them to his old friend and mentor, the pirate Maz Kanata.

Rey now fully CROSSES THE THRESHOLD into a new world where she will encounter her next MENTOR. The planet Takodana is the exact opposite of the desert of Rey’s ORDINARY WORLD; it is a place where there is more green than she ever imagined existed.


Before they enter Maz’s castle, Han gives Rey a blaster—the giving of protective objects being a classic function of the MENTOR archetype. Han is willing to be a mentor within his own ORDINARY WORLD and offers Rey a job on the Falcon, which she clearly wants, but once again she REFUSES THE CALL and insists that she must return to Jakku.


Han says they have to get a new ship before the First Order tracks down the Falcon as he did. He warns Rey and Finn that they must be careful in this new environment.

When the group enters the castle, both the Resistance and the First Order are alerted to their location by spies, escalating the awareness of ENEMIES and ALLIES to their presence and creating tension for which side will reach them first.


Other than the First Order spy, Rey does not encounter any real threats from the denizens of the Castle (though she was threatened there by Unkar in a deleted scene), perhaps because it is under the protection of Maz, who is also a light side SHAPESHIFTER in the mask of a famous pirate.

The real threat inside the castle (much like the dark side cave) comes from their own fears: Finn’s fear of the First Order, Han’s reluctance to face Leia again, and Rey’s fear of abandonment.

Here, Rey meets her second MENTOR in Maz. Kanata is a necessary mentor figure for Rey to meet in the absence of Luke. Unlike Han, she is a guide who has experience in the special realm of the Force. Though she is not a Jedi, she gives Rey the spiritual guidance Rey will need to embrace the Force and make her way to Luke.


Maz, who is over a thousand years old, issues a CALL to Rey, Finn, and Han to fight the dark side in its current form of the First Order. Finn REFUSES THE CALL and reveals that he is a SHAPESHIFTER. He is not with the Resistance, but is a deserting stormtrooper. Finn chooses to flee (his own REFUSAL), rather than face death in a fight against the First Order, and he recommends that the others do so as well.


Rey must now go on an inner journey in her APPROACH to THE ORDEAL.

At the point when Finn leaves, Rey is drawn by the pleading cries of a young girl, a specter of the past triggered by her renewed feelings of abandonment. The voice draws her into the depths of the castle where it leads her to the Skywalker lightsaber. Through the saber she receives a Force vision filled with enigmatic, shifting images and voices from the past and future, including Yoda and Obi-Wan. In her vision she sees Luke, the SHADOW figure of Kylo Ren stalking her, and her own abandonment on Jakku. At the end of the vision, the voice of Obi-Wan tells her that these are her first steps, echoing what he once told Luke when he first began to use the Force. Through the Force, Yoda and Obi-Wan are acting as MENTORS.


Maz finds the confused and shaken Rey and tells her that the lightsaber belonged to Luke and Anakin and is now calling to her. The Force has given Rey a powerful talisman in the form of the lightsaber, a symbol of the Jedi Knights.

Rey insists again that she needs to return to Jakku, but Maz takes her hand and says that she can see in Rey’s eyes the truth, that “whomever” she is waiting for on Jakku will not return. However, Maz also says that Luke can still return, and that the belonging Rey seeks is not behind her, but ahead, uniting Rey’s OUTER and INNER PROBLEMS.


Maz instructs Rey to close her eyes and feel the Force guiding her. She urges Rey to take the saber and find Luke, but Rey runs from her destiny, REFUSING THE CALL once again. To answer the call would require acceptance that there is no one coming back for her. Though she knows this to be true, she cannot face it.


The First Order destroys the capital system of the New Republic and begins invading Takodana. Rey, who has been slowed in her flight by her loyal ALLY BB-8, sees the invading First Order ships and runs back to help. She is confronted by Kylo, the SHADOW figure from her vision. She tries to shoot him with the blaster Han gave her, but he easily overcomes her with the Force and she is captured.


Now trapped in the enemies fortress (another BELLY OF THE WHALE image of facing death in the underworld), Rey faces her ORDEAL. She is psychically interrogated by Kylo, who senses that she thinks of Han as a surrogate father. He also sees that when she is lonely, she imagines an island, a premonition of Luke’s location and an indication that the Force has been calling to her for some time—drawing her towards Luke when she feels alone.


When Kylo tries to enter deeper into her mind to find the map, something is triggered in Rey and she taps into the Force, turning the tables on him enough to reveal his deepest fear of never being as strong as Vader. This shakes Kylo and he runs from the chamber.


Kylo tells an enraged Snoke that Rey resisted him and is powerful in the Force, though untrained. Snoke tells Hux to use the Starkiller weapon on the Resistance hideout (creating a “ticking clock”) and tells Kylo to bring Rey to him—a sign that Snoke wants to turn Rey to the dark side.


Rey uses the Force to escape the interrogation chamber and receives the REWARD (related to her Inner Problem) of the return of her friends, especially Finn, who has risked his life to save her despite his fear. She has finally gained a sense of belonging with her new companions.


As they head back to the Falcon, they see that the Resistance is struggling to destroy the Starkiller weapon and decide to help by planting explosives to give the pilots an opening. However, Rey’s ORDEAL is not yet over and she loses Han—her MENTOR and father figure—to his own son. Like Anakin and Luke, Rey loses her first mentor in a sacrificial act.

31 Han Death


To be concluded in PART 3 – Stage 3: Rey’s Return.

~Chris Miller


Campbell, Joseph. The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1973. Print.

Vogler, Christopher. “The Memo That Started It All.” Storytech Literary Consulting. GODADDY.COM, LLC, n.d. Web. 11 July 2016.

Vogler, Christopher. The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers. 3rd ed. Studio City, CA: Michael Wiese Productions, 2007. Print.

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