In honor of Star Wars Reads Day, I’m reviewing one of the newest Star Wars books to hit the shelves. This is quite possibly the oddest, yet coolest combination to come out from Quirk Books, who added Zombies to Pride and Prejudice to make a runaway bestseller. This version by Ian Doescher combines my first love with The Bard, and as a former English major who took two Shakespeare classes I can’t resist it. Translating the famous lines of Star Wars to iambic pentameter has some hilarious results, and translating some of Shakespeare’s famous lines to a Star Wars setting are equally hilarious.
“In time so long ago begins our play,
in star-crossed galaxy far, far away.”
These last two lines of the prologue, a re-imaging of the famous yellow crawl, invokes part of the prologue from Romeo and Juliet. At least in my opinion. The opening lines of Act 1 Scene one though is a clear parody of the opening lines of Richard the III.
“Now is the winter of our discontent,
Made glorious summer by this sun of York.” – Richard the II
“Now is the summer of our happiness
Made winter by this sudden, fierce attack!” – C-3PO
I laughed hysterically. And it’s not the last time a line mirrors or spoofs a line from a Shakespeare play. Clearly, Doescher knows his Shakespeare. And his Star Wars. The nods to Shakespeare are part of what makes this spoof so funny, it’s not just in iambic pentameter, it actually uses his plays as a template and inspiration. And as Doescher believes, Star wars is full of characters and events commonly found in Shakespeare plays. Lovers, sword fights, evil villains, rogues, princesses, good vs. evil, the old wizard or kindly friar like character. Even if you aren’t familiar with Shakespeare, I think you’ll be laughing at the hilarity of it, or at the very least at the drawings of favorite characters dressed in Medievil dress.
Unfortunately, I found the almost constant asides by Obi-Wan and C-3PO anoying after a while. I know Shakespeare utilized the aside to have the characters talk directly to the audience, but I don’t recall him using it as often as Doescher seems to. A few times is OK, but in almost every seen starts to get annoying.
That being said, it’s my only criticism. Overall it’s a hilarious retelling of a Scifi classic with classic literary flair. I recommend it for English Majors and Shakespeare fans that also happen to be Star Wars fans, and for Star Wars fans that love a good laugh, and just happen to be Shakespeare fans as well. In the mean time, I’ll be waiting for a Sheakespearean treatment to The Empire Strikes Back.