Hope is a term that is subjective to different people and one that changes with religion, background and lifestyle.
For example, hope can be expecting life to improve and change for the better e.g. achieving what you want you have been aspiring to be in life like a dream job or lifestyle
Or, hope can be a feeling of nostalgia or treasured memory that makes you feel more positive e.g. seeing the family home after a long time living in your own house or doing an activity that you haven’t done in a long time.
But generally, hope is expecting something to happen, mostly in a positive way or hoping for something that’s about to happen or a statement to be true.
Hope in films
The aptly named Star Wars: A new hope, features a farm boy on a quest to rescue a princess, under a request from an old Jedi, from an evil Empire and become the “new hope” for a galaxy under oppression. During which, each character goes through an arch that changes them for the better.
As you may have guessed the prime theme for Star Wars is, of course, having it’s main characters find hope again and achieve a better life for themselves.
For the character of Luke Skywalker, finding hope is about finding his way in life after tragedy hits his family and becoming the Jedi he is destined to be, under the guidance of the character of Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Han Solo’s character was just a cocky smuggler trying to pay off his debts before meeting the two main characters, and reluctantly travelling with them. During the quest the characters go on, he learns to value other people and not just himself.
In Kung-Fu Panda, the main character Po is trying to achieve his dreams of becoming a Kung-Fu master along with his childhood heroes. The story tells about how Po is trying to prove himself to his teacher and new friends after accidently being selected as a chosen one, while an enemy of his Sensei, master Shifu escapes from prison during which time Po has to learn to become a Kung-Fu master before the enemy arrives.
The theme of hope runs through the fact that Po is trying to achieve his dreams and expectations despite all of the problems the situation causes for him, while trying to prove himself to his new friends and the people of the city he lives in. The side-characters must also, reluctantly, put their hope in Po after he is announced as a chosen one and help him defeat the enemy arriving in their city.
Hope is also used in a way that makes the hero more relatable, as throughout the film he is trying to achieve what he has wanted his whole life, which makes the audience connect with him. The different side characters are also relatable in the fact that they feel like they have been cheated out of what they were expecting to gain, which gives us something to connect with.