The Old Guard: making the plot

Has anybody seen The Old Guard (came out on Netflix this past weekend)?

I would love to talk about how the plot. I know it comes from graphic novels, but would like to talk about the MC and the MC Concern/Domain.

I won’t put any spoilers until I see people have watched it.


I got this figured, but if it is watched, I would still like a conversation.

Is there a category for “illustrating/storytelling”?

The Analysis category is the best place for this kind of work.

Welcome @ObsidianTusk


I really enjoyed this one, and have watched it 3x already. I’ve worked the storyform two different ways and still came up with a story goal/OS Concern of Innermost Desires.

Anyone else seen it and have thoughts on this?

I’ve seen it. I think the OS is probably in Universe.

They have something unique to the universe.
They are discovered because of their past photos.
The Charlize character is progressing to her final days.
The effect of the group is only evident in the future. Maybe this is “they do effect change” so it’s progress.
Their complaints are about “nothing we do affects change” which feels very present.

Hey great, great. Glad someone has seen it.

Here is what I am looking at. Andromache is very upset that she is not changing the world to be better. Then it is James Copley who knows that she is, and he tells Kiki Freeman. Andromache only finds this out at the end of the movie, so it is not something she experienced, but rather something she is told of. Was this satisfying to you?

Everyone is after their heart’s desire.

Andy and the other warriors want to make a difference, to have a purpose to their long lives.
Freeman wants to see her family again.
Copley wants to save the world from suffering as he did at his wife’s death.
Merrick wants wealth, power and immortality.

It doesn’t matter that Andy is told…which to my mind and interpretation is entirely inaccurate, she is shown the connections to the difference she’s made over thousands of years…she comes to understand that they do indeed make a difference. Everything she’s/they’ve ever done made a difference. And that is enough for her to go on doing what they do even without her immortality.

She is shown, she is told… there is what difference? They are both someone else putting the information in front of her. She understands, okay. This is not my question.

Was this satisfying to you? Did you think oh wow, I can feel why this changes her. Or did you think, she could have seen this map of time at any point and then she gets it? I want to know why saving her two friends when she could not save her friend in the ocean is the journey she takes from “nothing we do maters” to “this map eases my heart”

Thank you for your answer @jassnip

It boils down to talk is cheap. Someone (any of her warriors) could have said, “Andy we do make a difference.” But that isn’t the same as seeing, not only the life you saved, but the good that person’s posterity then did for humanity. It was proof. Just words are never proof. That’s why, it shows Andy, Nicky and Jo at the end all staring at the sociogram, taking in/absorbing the effect they’d had. That’s what Freeman says when she has her earlier seen with Copley. “You’re in it, but you can’t see it.” And then later tell Andy. “This is why.” It also gives Freeman her “why”. So, yes, I find it satisfying. Had it just been dialogue I don’t think it would have been.

I don’t agree with your assessment of her arc. It wasn’t just saving Nicky and Joe when she could save Quynh, who is really there for backstory and setup for other stories.

She even says in that seen with Freeman, “I think I lost my immortality just when you showed up so I’d remember what it feels like to feel remarkable. You reminded me that there are still people worth fighting for.”

okay, yes, I see. So you think looking at the wall is satisfying.

you don’t like anything I say about the story. But I am confused now because you say that I am wrong about her arch which I have said is to have her emotions change from feeling like she is not changing the world for the better to understanding she is changing world for the better. I think this is right.

All this takes is one scene for Andromache, when she sees the wall. Then what is the point of the movie unless this is the drop that filled the glass? What else fills her glass? This is what I am trying to find out.

If it matters, I think that her arc is introduced late and has to do with the hole in her heart left there when she cannot save Quynh. She has let down her partner and can’t do it again. So now she has to prove to herself that she can do this—she has to save Nicky and Joe. She can’t fail the same task twice.

The stuff with wanting to be relevant and make a big difference is all about the sequels. They seem to be the same story because she is very despondent in both of them: I can’t save the world, I can’t save my friends. She saves her friends and closes this wound.

I think the word might be that she has lost her confidence. By saving her friends, she gets that confidence back. This makes her more open to being confident about her role in the history of the world. So when she learns the information about her effect (however she learns it) she is able to take it in.

This probably means that the first beat (“we don’t make a difference in the world”) is also her MC throughline, but it is then “shifted” from the abstract to the specific (only saving her friend). When she gets to the end, the map is something like a Dividend: the effect of this specific plot playing out is that Copley has uncovered information that Andy needs, and then she gets it.

It’s not that I don’t like what you say, this is just discussion about how we view the story. I don’t agree with @MWollaeger either. He put the OS in Situation and that doesn’t feel right to me either, even though I can see why he might think that. Story is subjective and we can’t escape that because we each bring our own minds and experiences to the table.

As to Andy’s arc…

LOL. see. while I was writing this @MWollaeger posted the exact opposite of what I said; he thinks the sociogram is the motivation for future stories and I think Quynh is.

… I was not clear enough on Andy’s Arc, I apologize. The big questions in this story…to me…is…does what we do make a difference in the world? What difference should we be trying to make?

It was never a question about whether or not she’d save her friends, to me progress toward saving them was more like a benchmark.

Oddly, I can make an argument for Andy being either Change or Steadfast. Currently, I’m leaning toward Steadfast, where she’s growing into her resolve to continue to charge at windmills, to fight the good fight.

I think you and I are using motivation in a different way. I think Andy would have been happy to die if she’d never learned why she mattered. No Andy, no sequels. But she sees the sociogram and says, “Okay, I matter, I’m open to continuing what I’ve been up to for millennia.” There is no actual future story yet, only the implication that one is coming.

I thought the whole point of Dramatica is that certain parts of a story are objective.

If the OS Concern is Innermost Desires then what innermost desire was satisfied that brought about the Outcome>Success?
• The fact that Andy (et al) has purpose was true before the story began (they just didn’t know it)
• Freeman doesn’t see her family
• Copley does not save the world from suffering
• Merrick gets none of the wealth, power or immortality that he wants

Exactly, she had to learn and understand the profound difference they’d made…and since the world was just getting worse…there wasn’t a point to their immortality. Only when she understands the difference they’ve made does she feel going on is worth it.

That may be the point of dramatica, but we can’t separate ourselves from our experience so we can only look at Story subjectively.

The innermost desire satisfied is making a difference.
If you don’t know you have a purpose…you don’t have one. On top of that, understanding that they’ve had an effect is what gives a sense of peace/satisfaction to the story (for me). As an audience person, without that, I would have just seen a lot of pointless destruction. Copley, even says it. He (Merrick) only cares about her immorality, not what she’s done with it. It matters. And it matters that Andy finally gets to understand that she’s had a positive effect on the world. Without that, I agree she’d have been okay with dying.
Freeman hasn’t decided if she’ll see her family or not
Copley does end up helping the world by helping the team, just not the way he’d originally intended. As Freeman said. “It wasn’t your gift to give.”
Merrick is the bad guy and isn’t supposed to get his innermost desires.

I can’t express how wholeheartedly I disagree with this.
Of course, subjectivity rears its head a lot, but that’s the point of analysis in groups. Your subjectivity cancels out mine.

What do you think the plot is?

This applies to everything. Weather. Math. Science. Everything is subjective in the sense that we can’t separate ourselves from our experience. Why does this get said about stories and not other things?

And more importantly, what can Dramatica tell us about how objectivity and subjectivity fit in the mind?


Have you ever read Feynman talk about Flowers? I think that’s relevant here.

@jassnip I think our differing perspectives here have led me to something cool, but I’m going to let you answer the plot question first.

I am asking subjective questions, so good! You say it is satisfying that everyone at the end is now thinking “I have a purpose in this world” and I agree too.

I have understanding that a benchmark measures. Her friends are sequestered means I have no purpose in this world. Her friends are saved so then they have purpose.

This is what you are saying? I am sorry to be pushy, but how does this attach to the map on the wall? This is my original question. She wants purpose and then ends the movie with purpose but in the middle she saves her friends only which maters a lot but is saving her friends the same thing as changing the world for the better? You think yes, yes?

Before I delineate that…

Are there any of these that you disagree with?

MC Andy
MC Resolve: ??/??
MC Growth: Start
MC Approach: Do-er
MC PS style: Linear

Driver: Action
Limit: Optionlock
Outcome: Success
Judgement: Good