Chapter 2.9. Emotioneering Techniques Category #9: NPC Character Arc Techniques
NPCs can grow and change but hopefully not easily.
discusses techniques that, when applied, give an NPC a Character Arc.
Quite often in a film, one or more characters have something wrong with them. More specifically, they start the film with what I call a fear, limitation, block, or wound (FLBW). For example, they:
There are a vast array of possible FLBWs.
Let's say the character's FLBW is that he has no idea who he really is as a person. He might have felt this way all his life, or maybe some devastating experience happened to him last week that left him in this condition. For our purposes, it doesn't matter. What matters is that, by the end of the story, he will have grown though this FLBW, and he'll have a good sense of his uniqueness.
This is exactly what happens to Luke Skywalker. In the beginning of Star Wars Episode IV, Luke doesn't know who he is. By the end, he knows he's a Jedi Knight or at least that he's meant to be one. A little later in this chapter, we'll look at how this character growth is brought about.