If you answered “yes,” once, then William Shakespeare’s Star Wars is recommended reading.
If you answered “yes” twice, this is a must read!
Ian Doescher masterfully retells Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope in iambic pentameter. However, this is far from being a simple script rewrite of one of the greatest space operas in the history of the galaxy. It also includes touching insights into the hearts and minds of the characters. I found myself going from amused, to entertained, to intrigued, to enchanted, to enthralled. Throughout the narrative, I pictured the grand spectacle playing out in the Globe Theatre, visualizing the players, the costumes, the sets.
My first realization that this was a deeper dive into George Lucas’s characters, Shakespeare style, was in Act I, Scene 2 (line 27, to be precise)…
Darth Vader has just extinguished the flame of stalwart Rebel Leader 1, whose final words were an insistence that his ship was on a “diplomatic mission.” Vader directs his stormtroopers to search the ship, and is left to his own thoughts:
And so another dies by my own hand,
This hand, which now encas’d in blackness is.
O that the fingers of this wretched hand
Had not the pain of suff’ring ever known.
But now my path is join’d unto the dark,
And wicked men — whose hands and fingers move
To crush their foes — are now my company.
So shall my fingers ever undertake
To do more evil, aye, and this — my hand —
Shall do the Emp’ror’s bidding evermore.
And thus we see how fingers presage death
And hands become the instruments of Fate.
We are soon introduced to the droid duo of C-3PO and R2-D2. 3PO prattles on (as he is wont to do), and R2 responds with his characteristic “Beep, meep, beep, squeak” etc. (still in iambic pentameter, of course!)
Then, not 20 lines after Vaders musings, R2 shares his inner monologue with the audience, shining a bright light on the wit and wisdom of this cunning astromech droid. His 13 lines of monologue hooked me and held me fast. I won’t spoil it for you. You’ll have to discover the rest for yourself.
From beginning to end, William Shakespeare’s Star Wars was a treat to read.
The Bard would be proud.