Was Star Wars a New Hope AB Movie?

When Star Wars was first released in 1977, it quickly became a cultural phenomenon. George Lucas’ space opera took the world by storm and spawned an entire franchise that’s still going strong today.

But was the original movie, now known as “A New Hope,” really an AB movie? Let’s take a closer look.

The AB Movie Formula

First of all, let’s define what we mean by an AB movie. The term comes from screenwriting theory and refers to a specific formula for structuring a story.

In an AB movie, the first act (Act A) sets up the main character and their world, while the second act (Act B) sees the character encountering obstacles and facing challenges that force them to grow and change. The third act (Act A again) brings everything full circle as the character confronts their main challenge and overcomes it.

This formula is sometimes also called “the hero’s journey” or “the monomyth,” and it’s been used in countless movies throughout history. So where does Star Wars fit into this?

The Structure of Star Wars

At first glance, it seems like Star Wars follows the AB formula pretty closely. Act A introduces us to Luke Skywalker, a young farm boy on a backwater planet who dreams of adventure. We meet his family, his friends, and his mentor figure (Obi-Wan Kenobi), who sets him on his path.

Then we move into Act B as Luke joins forces with Han Solo and Princess Leia to rescue her from the clutches of Darth Vader. Along the way, he faces all kinds of challenges – learning how to use the Force, battling Stormtroopers, navigating treacherous asteroid fields – that force him to grow as a character.

Finally, Act A returns as Luke faces off against Darth Vader in an epic lightsaber duel that culminates in the destruction of the Death Star. He saves the day, proving himself as a hero and earning the respect of his newfound allies.

Deviations from the Formula

So far, so good – it seems like Star Wars is a pretty clear-cut AB movie. However, there are a few deviations from the formula that some critics have pointed out.

For one thing, Act A is actually split into two parts: the opening scene with Princess Leia’s ship being attacked by Darth Vader, and then Luke’s introduction on Tatooine. Some argue that this disrupts the flow of the story and makes it less cohesive.

Others point out that Act B doesn’t really have a clear midpoint or turning point. In most AB movies, there’s a moment where things suddenly get much worse for the hero and they’re forced to confront their biggest fear or challenge. In Star Wars, however, things just kind of keep escalating from one scene to the next without any real break.

The Verdict

So was Star Wars really an AB movie? The answer is..kind of.

While there are certainly some structural deviations from the formula – which is true of many movies – overall it follows a similar trajectory. Act A sets up Luke’s world and introduces us to his mentor figure, Act B sees him facing challenges and growing as a character, and Act A again sees him confronting his main challenge (the Death Star) and emerging victorious.

In any case, whether or not you consider it an AB movie doesn’t change the fact that Star Wars remains one of the most beloved films in history. Its influence can be felt in countless other movies and TV shows that have come since, cementing its place in pop culture history forever.