The Salvation of Darth Vader

In the first Star Wars trilogy, the trilogy character arc is about Darth Vader. Is there a storyform that represents this larger story? Or is it a tale?

Related, do I need a full storyform for a trilogy, and if so and if the change character is the antagonist, is he the IC vs the MC steadfast (in spite of fluctuating changes in the MC per volume)?

It’s not necessary to have a storyform for a trilogy. Each section can have its own storyform, or even multiple storyforms in a single work.

It would definitely be really fun if the entire thing had its own storyform, even if each section doesn’t. And even MORE fun if each section has its own storyform AND the whole thing has another storyform. But that’s a lot of work and planning.

But if you have the vision for it, go for it!

I’m not totally sure, but I think the last time I saw any discussion about it, the first movie is more of a one-off, unrelated to the sequels. Empire and Jedi seem like they’re definitely more connected/a continuation of the same story. A New Hope, though… seems like a stand-alone film to me.

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According to Narrative First, there are four storyforms:

A New Hope has one main one with Luke, and one (I think not fully illustrated? Maybe more of a substory) with the Han/Jabba plot.

Empire has two: Luke/Yoda/Vader and Han/Leia.

Return of the Jedi has one.

I think what you’re seeing is in Jedi Vader is the changed IC (Luke is Steadfast MC).

I think Jim concluded that there wasn’t a clear storyform for the whole trilogy.

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So it’s just a background change, not ‘impacted’ by anything except (we infer) by Luke’s goodness?

Sadly, though I don’t fluently function with Dramatica Theory, I have this vision for a trilogy storyform with my sympathetic antagonist. I’m trying to feel-out how to have that without it interfering with the message of each book. In my thoughts, it could be like background radiation–there but subliminally until the IC crisis at the end of book two and change moment at the beginning of book three, then implications.

The way I envision it is to keep the same domains, having IC always in Physics, and he becomes the obvious IC in book 2+. (the Trilogy storyform would have him as MC in Physics). Critique this before I get lost in the idea.

Wish me luck.


Theoretically, @jhull
If I’m piggy-backing a larger story over a MC who always is a Do-er, I’m assuming the trilogy MC is the individual IC. If that’s the case,

  1. would I make the trilogy a holistic (vs. individual plot linear)?
  2. would I make the MC a be-er (vs. individual plot do-er)?
  3. would I align the domains, putting the trilogy MC into the same domain he was as mastermind IC in the individual stories?

He changes because of Luke’s unwavering evaluation that there’s still good in him.

In A New Hope, Darth is just the Contagonist. He doesn’t present any perspective that’s challenging to Luke. Obi Wan is challenging Luke to stop trying to measure up and put his trust into the force, which allows him to change. (Crucial Elements: Test / Trust)

In Empire, Darth is trying to tempt Luke to the Dark Side, but this is again an OS issue. Seeing the greatest Jedi warrior is a shriveled, short, weirdo hermit is what allows Luke to abandon trying to be good enough and go save his friends. (Crucial Elements: Accurate / Non-Accurate)

In Empire, you finally have Darth as an IC, but Luke is steadfast. His evaluation that there is still good in his father allows Darth to see it’s not too late and redeem himself. (Crucial Elements: Evaluation / Reevaluation)

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I know you asked Jim, and I would never appoint myself to speak on his behalf, but the answer to all these questions is:

It depends on what you want to say with each storyform.

The storyform is a reflection of Author’s intent. Since you’re the Author, it’s all up to you!

There are no hard rules in how to weave together multiple storyforms. I’m sure Jim has a bunch of tips and tricks, but it’s your series and you get to choose.

Also, don’t feel like you need to have a storyform for every individual book. A storyform exists when you as an author are arguing a message.

Harry Potter has one storyform for the series and the individual books are all tales. I don’t think any of the readers seemed to mind!


And yet, each book reaches a kind of conclusion. I’m not sure how exactly that works structurally. The concern about just breaking up a storyform into different books is that readers will potentially be upset if each book is just a cliffhanger leading to the next.


For sure. But, having participated in a few Dramatica analyses, you learn that having a beginning, middle and and doesn’t mean there’s a greater message being argued.

I think the Harry/Snape storyform is woven into each entry, giving the sense of something greater at play. But each entry is more or less stand-alone entertainment.


Theoretically a “series” Storyform has nothing to do with, nor is influenced by in any shape or form, individual Storyforms within that series.

A Storyform is the mind’s effort to place meaning on that which is inherently meaningless. The quality of that nothingness is such that you can’t derive appreciable parts of a Storyform from it.

You apply meaning TO chaotic events. Chaotic events do not prescribe meaning.


Great news. Thanks. I’ve been working on that premise and am glad to hear it straight from you. :wink:

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I would tend to disagree with this. I think most of the books have their own Goal & four distinct throughlines. The Harry/Ron/Hermione and Harry/Dumbledore relationships grow and face conflict in each book in different ways – clear RS material. Dumbledore is the IC in many of the books, for example there is one book where he challenges Harry by seeming to ignore him for the whole book. Some of the books end in Failure! (e.g. book 4 – Goblet of Fire – they fail to prevent Voldemort’s resurrection.)


Confession. I’ve never actually read the books. My assessment was based solely on things I’d read on Narrative First. As always, I defer to your expertise. :laughing:

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Yeah, anything on Narrative First or Subtext about Potter has to do with the films.

I read the first book and wasn’t a super fan — felt it was really close to complete argument—and then found it really interesting that the same Storyform ended up playing out over the entire series