William Shakespeare's Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope by Ian Doescher

Summary from Goodreads:

Inspired by one of the greatest creative minds in the English language-and William Shakespeare-here is an officially licensed retelling of George Lucas's epic Star Wars in the style of the immortal Bard of Avon. The saga of a wise (Jedi) knight and an evil (Sith) lord, of a beautiful princess held captive and a young hero coming of age, Star Wars abounds with all the valor and villainy of Shakespeare’s greatest plays. ’Tis a tale told by fretful droids, full of faithful Wookiees and fearstome Stormtroopers, signifying...pretty much everything.

Reimagined in glorious iambic pentameter—and complete with twenty gorgeous Elizabethan illustrations--William Shakespeare’s Star Wars will astound and edify Rebels and Imperials alike. Zounds! This is the book you’re looking for.

While I enjoy Star Wars, I am not what you would call a hardcore fangirl of the Galaxy Far Far Away. My love of it, is of a much lesser degree than that, but perhaps, I do know more of it than the average person should. Largely in part because of my 10-year-old-nerd-in-the-making-nephew who talks incessantly about it, and has watched The Empire Strikes Back more than I could count. I am also not very much into The Bard (the English poet and playwright, and not the bowman from Lord of the Rings), perhaps I sport a below average to average knowledge of it. But when I saw this book, I knew I had to read it. It's much like an apple pie ala mode. Apple pie is good. Vanilla ice cream is good. Put them together and it's awesome.

Getting into this book, I must admit that I had my fears. One is that it will turn out to be a parody of sorts, one that isn't tastefully done. Second, is that the iambic pentameter and archaic language might just take the fun out of the Star Wars story rather than augment it. But my fears went unrealized. It wasn't at all a parody of either Star Wars or Shakespeare, rather it just tells the original Star Wars trilogy using Shakespeare's language and very much kept well into George Lucas' story line. 

The result is that, the epic and operatic atmosphere of the story, was enhanced further. The humorous dialogue which I loved in the movie version, between Han and Leia, and C3PO, R2D2, and Chewy, were all still intact. On one hand though, there were moments when I was tripping through the meter, which reminded me of my failure to plow through Much Ado About Nothing, my first attempt at Shakespeare. 

But that aside, I had a fun experience reading this book. Also contained inside were fun and funny illustrations here and there. Picture Jabba the Hutt in all his rotundness but with an Elizabethan collar and jacket. I also realized that Doescher put it many allusions to Shakespeare's works. There is one of Luke doing a Hamlet with a stormtroopers helmet. And another of him doing the Mark Anthony speech in Shakespeare's Julius Ceasar. There are many more of them, which flew over my head. But I am certain, can be spotted by and delight a Shakespeare fan.

The book then wraps up with an afterword that offered a glimpse of why such a mash-up isn't too far fetched. And I found out that many Shakespearean themes, motifs and archetypes can be found in Star Wars. And while I initially thought these two were about as opposites as night and day, they are in fact kind of like two peas in a pod. And that achieved two things for me. It made me love Star Wars more and made me fear Shakespeare less. And I might just give that Much Ado About Nothing another crack. And I would love for Ian Doescher to follow this one up with my favorite Star Wars moive, Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back, or rather The Empire Striketh Back. :)

Incidentally, Star Wars Reads Day will be held on October 5, 2013. (Yes, there is such a thing as Star Wars Reads Day.) Learn more about it on Star Wars Reads Day Facebook Page

That's it everyone and MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU!


  1. Wow, you have a copy.
    I was hunting for a copy last MIBF, but found none. :)

    1. Hi Louize! NBS has them. It's a really fun read too. Are you a Star Wars fan? Or a Shakespeare fan? Or both? :)


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