Book Review: William Shakespeare’s Star Wars

Or…  Verily, A New Hope

(174 pages, Quirk Books, with illustrations by Nicolas Delort, $14.95)

Okay, so here’s the deal:  You know the original “Star Wars” movie.  And you almost certainly know at least a little Shakespeare, even if only a snippet or two from “Romeo and Juliet,” “Hamlet,” or “MacBeth”…

Now imagine the franchise-inspiring Science Fiction screenplay as if it had come from the pen of the Bard of Stratford…

You got it.

Shakespeare with Storm Troopers

To say that Ian Doescher’s idea is inspired is an understatement of gargantuan proportions; it’s nothing less than brilliant.

Translating the original screenplay into iambic pentameter must have been a labor of love as well as a labor of Herculean proportions.  The effect, however, proves to be more than worth the effort.

And the beauty of it is, the vast majority of readers will easily be able to follow the action given the almost compulsive familiarity Star Wars’ fans have with the original material.

Fans of the Bard will be equally entertained as the text of the “play” contains more than a few snippets gleaned from almost every last one of Shakespeare’s known plays.

Skywalker as Hamlet

The book also proves itself as an introduction to Shakespeare for children and those adults who may have been intimidated by the academic “snob appeal” so many Shakespeare fans exude.

Doescher makes Shakespeare accessible to anyone who’s ever seen any of the six existing Star Wars films.  This book is an inspired way to introduce younger readers to the Bard of Stratford (not to mention the Bard of Marin County, California (that would be Mr. Lucas…))

 Try explaining who Falstaff was to a 12-year-old and the end result will likely be a glazed stare and a stifled yawn.  But compare him to Jabba the Hut and see the reaction you get…

Jabba as Falstaff

Filmaker George Lucas read Joseph Campbell’s “The Hero with a Thousand Faces” and realized he was tapping into the mother lode of characters and scenaria (“senarioes?”) that seem to flow through every culture and its oral and written traditions.

Vader Strangles Pilot

While William Shakespeare lacked access to Campbell’s findings, he certainly knew a good story when he found one and, not surprisingly, his most famous characters fill the requirements of these archtypes like a hand in a custom-made glove.

Vader Mourns Death Star

Oh yeah, we WAY recommend this one!… for anyone aged 12 and up!  Four and three-quarters (out of a possible five) stars.


About jaypochapin

Married adult human male, father, brother, son, writer, voiceover actor and humorist. Frequently funny, sometimes snarky, occasionally profound. Beatles, Stones, Who, Python, Firesign Theatre, Shakespeare, Bogart/Bacall, Marx Brothers, Alice Cooper and more besides. Have worked as many things: traffic reporter, disc jockey, newscaster, interviewer, producer, copywriter, voice over talent, teacher, emcee, housekeeper, janitor, uniformed security officer, bagel baker's assistant and more, but don't let the uniform fool you, baby! I ... AM ... THE WRITER!

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