An archetype is a universal theme, story or character which is so fundamental that, regardless of how many times it is used (or misused), it never becomes stale, dated or cliché. This is the opposite of [[DiscreditedTrope discredited tropes]], which started out as good ideas but were used so often they became cliché. A "pure" archetype is always a partial personality, rather than a rounded character. In fiction or life, an excessively archetypal character is likely to come across as two-dimensional, if not ''one-''dimensional. (And in real life, they may be mentally ill!)

For example, ''Franchise/StarWars'' was purposefully built upon {{Archetypal Character}}s, to which it owes its longevity. The entire story hinges upon [[TheHerosJourney The Hero's Journey]], which is an ArchetypalStory.
* Luke Skywalker (TheHero, HeroicArchetype)
* Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda (TheObiWan, MentorArchetype)
* Han Solo (TheLancer, LoveableRogue)

An interesting point is that many tropes could easily be considered archetypes in and of themselves.