The Star Wars Saga famously uses Joseph Campbell’s monomyth framework of storytelling. Sometimes called “the hero’s journey,” the protagonist begins with a “Call to Adventure,” and proceeds through seventeen stages, including “Supernatural Aid.” That is, once the hero – through a few stops and starts – is committed to their quest, they are aided with a magical helper or supernatural mentor.
Think Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker. Obi-Wan trains Luke in the ways of the Force, ways that benefit Luke on his quest. Yoda appears as another mentor for Luke later in the saga.
In science fiction and fantasy movies, mentors can be wizard-like as is the case in the Star Wars Saga and the Harry Potter Series between Professor Dumbledore and Harry.
They can also be teachers or coaches as in the examples of Professor John Keating and his students in The Dead Poet’s Society and Coach Ken Carter and his basketball team in Coach Carter or Gordon Bombay and his hockey team in The Mighty Ducks.
Not to be excluded are family favorites The Karate Kid between Mr. Miyagi and Daniel and Mary Poppins between Mary Poppins and the Banks children.
We also see this mentor relationship play out in animated movies in examples such as the genie and Aladdin in Aladdin, Mushu and Mulan in Mulan, and Mufasa and Simba in The Lion King.
The fact is, mentoring is elemental to storytelling. We are primed to look for guidance and lend advice, depending on where we are in our story. Once you gain awareness of this dynamic in storytelling, you will see mentors everywhere.
See how universal mentors are by reading this list of the top 25 mentoring movies of all times from The Chronicle of Evidence-Based Mentoring.
Mentoring Certificate Program
Where are you in your journey? UW-Green Bay offers a structured mentor training program to enable business leaders and HR professionals to maximize the benefits of mentoring for both mentor and mentee with tips for implementing, enhancing success in any field or level. Now enrolling for a virtual session in September. Certificate can be completed in three weeks. Each session is four hours long – 2 hours of self-study content and 2 hours of online live discussion and activities.