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20 Storytelling Lessons We Can Learn from Marvel

Creating outstanding heroes

Creating outstanding heroes
  • Only dynamic, flawed characters can connect with dynamic, flawed humans.
  • Get inside your hero’s head and figure out what motivates them to do the things they do.
  • If your hero has nothing to fight for, your viewers have no reason to root for him/her. Show your viewers why they should care.
  • Show where your hero’s loyalties lie. If they can’t pick a side, your viewers can’t either.
  • Allow your characters to drive the theme of your story.


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20 Storytelling Lessons We Can Learn from Marvel

20 Storytelling Lessons We Can Learn from Marvel


Key Ideas

The Marvel Universe

From the debut of the Human Torch in 1939 to the more recent debut of Avengers: Infinity War, Marvel has been telling stories of fantastic, amazing, and incredible heroes for over 75 years.

These timeless comics turned blockbuster films have inspired generations to fight for good in the face of evil and find the superheroes within themselves. 

Supporting characters and villains

  • There is no such thing as an unimportant character. Secondary characters bring your hero closer to their goals or drag him/her further away.
  • Fully develop a formidable villain that viewers love to hate.

Creating entertaining dialogues

  • Some of the best dialogue is riddled with subtext. Don’t just state what you mean.
  • Only give your characters lines that they can deliver.
  • Well-timed comic relief breaks tension and keeps viewers breathing.
  • Appeal to your target audience with fitting pop culture references.

Creating a fictional universe and storyline

  • Learn everything you can about the period/culture you’re trying to portray.
  • Create a believable universe, not a pretty backdrop.
  • Invent creative solutions to your hero’s problems.
  • Give overdone tropes an exciting twist to keep viewers guessing until the end.
  • Avoid info-dumping by maintaining a thread of suspense until the last possible moment.
  • Leave certain elements open to interpretation.



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The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

Social connection makes hope possible. This is the message in the film based on the life of 13-year-old William Kamkwamba. The story plays off in Malawi during a famine caused by a series of natural disasters.

William's family cannot afford for him to continue with school, and William is forbidden to return. But William sneaks back into school and gets permission to continue using the school's library. He develops strong ties with his science teacher, librarian, family, friends, and fellow villagers.

He ultimately discovers how wind energy can bring water to his village and save them from perishing.

The Farewell

The Farewell is about a first-generation Chinese immigrant, Billi. She wants to visit her dying grandmother, Nai-Nai, in China, to say goodbye.

Nai-Nai is unaware of the seriousness of her illness while the family believes it is kinder to keep her illness a secret and make her happy. Conflict ensues as Billi wants to tell Nai-Nai the truth. This is a tale of how people express love differently and the quiet wisdom and positive outlook of Nai-Nai.

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