Wreck-it Ralph and The Hero's Journey

Joseph Campbell identifies twelve stages in The Hero's Journey and is connected to Wreck-it Ralph.

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The hero, uneasy, uncomfortable or unaware, is introduced sympathetically so the audience can identify with the situation or dilemma. The hero is shown against a background of environment, heredity, and personal history. Some kind of polarity in the hero’s life is pulling in different directions and causing stress. This picture shows Ralph in his dump (home) were he is not accepted and has been exiled from everyone else.

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Call to Adventure

Something shakes up the situation, either from external pressures or from something rising up from deep within, so the hero must face the beginnings of change. Ralph, for the first time, attends Bad Anon and shares that he doesn't want to be the villain anymore. Ralph is questioning who he is as a person.  

Refusal of the Call

The hero feels the fear of the unknown and tries to turn away from the adventure, however briefly. Alternately, another character may express the uncertainty and danger ahead. This picture expresses the uncertainty of Ralph because he doesn't know what to with his situation. Ralph is battling with his internal-conflict.   

Meeting with the Mentor

The hero comes across a seasoned traveler of the worlds who gives him or her training, equipment, or advice that will help on the journey. Or the hero reaches within to a source of courage and wisdom. Tapper is the only person Ralph can talk to and Tapper is pessimistic but still leads Ralph on his journey.

Crossing the First Threshold

At the end of Act One, the hero commits to leaving the Ordinary World and entering a new region or condition with unfamiliar rules and values. Ralph trespasses in the game Hero's Duty to see if he can win a medal and is not adapted to the environment.

Road of Trials

The road of trials is a series of tests, tasks, or ordeals that the person must undergo to begin the transformation. Often the person fails one or more of these tests. Ralph fought hard to win his medal, for now....


The hero and new-found allies prepare for the major challenge in the Special world. Ralph meets Vanellope and together they will go on a quest.

Overcoming Teptation

Someone or something tries to destroy the journey itself. Often the destroyer has been sent by a larger evil to stop the protagonist . The protagonist is often misled, but eventually overcomes his lack of knowledge prejudices, and fears as s/he grows in the acceptance of his/her as hero. A Cy Bug enters Sugar Rush that may cause harm later on.

Viewing the Whole Picture

The protagonist moves beyond the final terrors of change that are founded I his/her ignorance. S/he adds the spiritual element to his/her journey. The protagonist is still in the midst of the journey but s/he is now willing to accept what is required of him/her to complete the mission. Ralph has to help Penelope win the race so he can get his medal.

The Road Back

About three-fourths of the way through the story, the hero is driven to complete the adventure, leaving the Special World to be sure the treasure is brought home. Often a chase scene signals the urgency and danger of the mission. Ralph admits that he has to help Vanellope do that he can win back his medal.

The Resurrection

At the climax, the hero is severely tested once more on the threshold of home. He or she is purified by a last sacrifice, another moment of death and rebirth, but on a higher and more complete level. By the hero’s action, the polarities that were in conflict at the beginning are finally resolved. Ralph think of sacrificing himself to save Vanellope.

Return with the Elixir

The hero returns home or continues the journey, bearing some element of the treasure that has the power to transform the world as the hero has been transformed. Ralph is now accepted by everyone and lives happily ever after

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