The Hero’s Journey – MCU Captain America

Well, didn’t we get all excited? Well, I did, obviously.

This is the news that hit Thursday:

Yay, screamed I. Then awwwww as Chris Evans tweeted this:

(Bonus Jamie Lee Curtis content though)

So, possibly not then. I know some people think it would cheapen the beautiful ending of Endgame, but I think there are two more standalone stories to tell with Evans as Steve Rogers (with him having handed the shield onto Sam to be Captain America), neither of which impact on his hero’s journey, as broken down below.

Firstly, we left Agent Carter with unfinished business, so either series 3, with Steve backing up Peggy as she solves the mystery and then goes on to found S.H.I.E.L.D. (or a feature film version). Think of all the internal conflict Steve will have, unable to change the future, unable to stop Hydra growing inside S.H.I.E.L.D. How much could he, should he, tell her? Delicious.

Secondly, a prequel (as they’ve done with Black Widow) on what he and Sam (and hopefully Nat – maybe a quick visit to Bucky, too?) got up to in between Civil War and Infinity War, with Steve as Nomad. Rough, dirty, long haired, bearded Cap … where was I? 

Wishful thinking on my part, I suspect, until I saw this:

… and got all excited again! Keep everything crossed, I beg you.

Now, as you can see from the title of this post, this was going to be about my favourite screenwriting structure, The Hero’s Journey, and how it completely fits the arc of Steve Rogers in the MCU. So that news breaking at this time seems a bit spooky, doesn’t it?

I don’t do graphs or charts as I was rubbish at maths and they remind me of maths. It’s words all the way for me. Lists I get. And the Hero’s Journey Structure is just that. (You can make it into a pretty circle if you want.)

Here we go:

An Ordinary World: The world is at war, and Steve wants to do his bit, alongside BFF Bucky. He shows his determination and courage.

The Call To Adventure: Steve applies to the army. A lot.

The Refusal of the Call: The army rejects him due to his obvious deficiencies (the refusal doesn’t always have to be the MC refusing a quest e.g. Luke, Frodo.)

Meeting the Mentor(s): Dr. Erskine earwigs on Steve and Bucky and knows he’s found his good guy. I would also include Peggy as a Mentor figure, she was so much more than a love interest, as proven with her appearances throughout the franchise in her own right.

Crossing the Threshold: Puny Steve is transformed into Captain America.

Tests, Allies and Enemies: The First Avenger; The Avengers; Winter Soldier; Age of Ultron.

Approaching the Innermost Cave: Civil War and the Sokovia Accords. 

Ordeal: The fight with Tony.

Reward: Bucky is saved.

The Road Back: Infinity War brings him home to the Avengers. 

Resurrection: Endgame – apart from The Avengers literally resurrecting everyone, Cap is back in the fold, and will lead the Avengers once more – until …

Return with the Elixir: Steve gets to go home. Home being Peggy; his compass points the way, and his compass is a picture of Peggy. Anyone who thinks Steve’s arc should or could have been different doesn’t understand story. Stucky fans will point to the “I’m with you to the end of the line” quote without understanding that Endgame was the end of the line for them. Steve saved Bucky three times, he deserved to go home.

I don’t know if Marvel planned this, or whether it only came about when they knew they were introducing time travel, but since Markus and McFeely were the showrunners of Agent Carter, as well as writing all the Cap films, Infinity War and Endgame, I’d like to think they did.

You have to find a way of telling your stories that suit you, and this structure just makes sense to me. It even works with a short documentary I’m working on, an eye opener that came out of a seminar with Dr. Steve Evanson, co-creator of the BBC’s Coast. Remember the snakes v iguana on Planet Earth? Yep, it’s a hero’s journey structure. And no, the name Steve Evanson is not lost on me *ghost emoji*

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