I know what you are thinking. What is this ridiculousness? Ian Doescher’s book imagines the answer to a question I’d wager everyone wishes they had been thinking: what if William Shakespeare had written Star Wars? The result is, of course, William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope. It’s as hysterically awesome as you could wish, and if you think about it, it’s not such a strange idea: surely if any film series is Shakespearean in scope, with its complicated villains, scene-stealing minor characters, and emphasis on Fate, then Star Wars certainly is.
I don’t think I need to review the plot, and let’s face it: no one is reading this book for the plot—it’s for the fun of the Shakespearean language used to tell a familiar tale. I will say this: the dialogue in this book is quite a lot better than the dialogue in the movie.
I love Luke’s soliloquy as he gazes at the two setting suns. But even more than that, I love his rumination over the Storm Trooper he has just killed.
Alas, poor stormtrooper, I knew ye not,
Yet have I ta’en both uniform and life
From thee. What manner of man wert thou?
A man of inf’nite jest or cruelty?
A man with helpmate and with children too?
A man who hath his Empire serv’d with pride?
A man, perhaps, who wish’d for perfect peace?
Whate’er thou wert, good man, thy pardon grant
Unto the one who took thy place: e’en me. (124-125)
There are also some fun in-jokes for Star Wars fans:
My daughter gave me this book for Christmas 2013, and I’m only sorry I waited so long to pick it up. I will certainly now read William Shakespeare’s The Empire Striketh Back and William Shakespeare’s The Jedi Doth Return. I really can’t wait to see how Doescher handles Yoda.
If you love Shakespeare and you love Star Wars, you really can’t lose with this book.