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By Jessica Brister On 19 Jul, 2016 At 06:10 PM | Categorized As Reviews | With 0 Comments

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As a geek, I love Star Wars.  As a former English teacher, I love Shakespeare.  When you combine the two, I am in heaven.  That is exactly what has happened with the William Shakespeare’s Star Wars series.  Someone has gone through and re-written the classic Star Wars movies into Shakespearean plays.  I received Episodes IV through VI as a set and think they are an absolute blast to read.  I have already done a review for A New Hope and will be concentrating only on The Empire Striketh Back for the purposes of this review.
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William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: The Empire Striketh Back was written by Ian Doescher and was published in 2014 by Quirk Books.  At this time, the first six Star Wars movies have been published in this series so that nerds like me can collect them all.  I found out that the author decided to write these books because George Lucas purposely put archetypal characters in Star Wars, and Shakespeare is the master of archetypes.  This was definitely an interesting and creative idea of rewriting different Star Wars movies into the form of a Shakespeare play.

The Empire Striketh Back is essentially Star Wars: The Empire Strikes back in iambic pentameter with stage direction, like it is a true Shakespearean play.  The plot has stayed the same, but the dialogue has been greatly changed.  It was extremely fun to read, though it will probably not be for everyone.  It definitely fits a niche group of readers.  I’m assuming that if you are interested in this book, you are already familiar with the story and will focus more on some of the key differences.

Though most of the book was as expected: The Empire Strikes Back turned into Shakespeare, there was one interesting twist that I want to discuss and that is the diction and style of Yoda, which was quite interesting.  Yoda speaks with the characteristic and very memorable dialect, which is inverted.  There are also many, many Shakespeare lines which are inverted as well because that was the dialect at the time.  So what was the author to do? Invert the dialogue again so that Yoda spoke normally?  Keep Yoda doing the same thing?  Just quote the lines of Yoda from the movie and be done with it (He sounds Shakespearean enough, doesn’t he?)

Well, the author chose a completely different way, which I admire, since this was a difficult issue…because you know how Star Wars fans are and all…When I say that, I mean crazy and all.  Because they totally are.  Instead of what you might expect, Yoda spoke in haiku.  It was beautiful and all.  It was unique.  I thought it was great given the difficulty of mastering a character who has already existed in cannon for a long time in a language that is archaic.  For those who have an issue…do you have your own deal for Star Wars in Shakespearean language?  No?  Okay then.

There were also some issues with Boba Fett, but then again, when aren’t there issues with Boba Fett?  Seriously, if you have been following the Star Wars universe as much as I have over the last couple of decades, Boba Fett has been a  crazy topic to try and mess with, which is why I won’t.  Have fun and all.  In the meantime, I thought that his character was done as best as could be done.

The book was a great rendition of Star Wars plus Shakespeare.  This book is not for everyone, but for the small sub-set of people who love geeky things and classic literature.

By Jessica Brister On 15 May, 2016 At 04:03 PM | Categorized As Featured, Reviews | With 0 Comments

No GravatarThe geek in me loves Star Wars. The English teacher in me loves Shakespeare. So why not combine the two and make people just like me extremely happy? Well, this actually is a thing. Someone has gone through an re-written the classic Star Wars movies into Shakespearean plays. I received Episodes IV through VI as a set and think they are an absolute blast to read. For the purposes of this review, I will only be concentrating on A New Hope, or as it has been so aptly renamed: Verily, A New Hope.

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William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope was written by Ian Doescher and was published in 2013 by Quirk Books. At this time, the first six Star Wars movies have been published in this series so that nerds like me can collect them all. Doescher decided to write these books because George Lucas purposely put archetypal characters in Star Wars, and Shakespeare pretty much is the king of archetypes. It was pretty much a match made in heaven to rewrite the stories in the form of a Shakespearean play.

Verily, a New Hope is essentially Star Wars: A New Hope in iambic pentameter with stage directions. The plot has stayed the same, but the dialogue has been greatly changed. It was definitely a fun way to read a story that I’ve watched and read so many times before. I’m assuming that you are familiar with the basic plot of the story if you are reading this, so I will focus more on how this version differs from the original.

Besides the traditional Shakespearean format and rhythm and rhyme, the book is written from the perspective that the reader already knows the plot twists in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. There are several asides that let a couple cats out of the bag. There is also an added scene that I thought was interesting where Luke, after the trash compactor seen, holds up the storm trooper’s helmet he had been wearing and does an aside like Hamlet did with the skull.

It was interesting to see how different parts of a story set in space would work on a stage. Sometimes, instead of seeing the action, a character will just go ahead and tell you what just happened. The big battle at the end was done as characters just standing on the stage, representing that they were in a ship. Honestly, it’s probably the best that could be done as a play.

One thing that got to me—and this isn’t an actual issue with the book—was some of the iconic Star Wars lines had to be replaced by something that sounded Shakespearean. The Han Solo scene on the Death Star on the detention block with the com speaker was just…not as good for me. It’s really nothing wrong with the book itself. That’s just me being crazy about certain Star Wars things. It can’t be helped.

I loved that the story was separated into a traditional five act play and split up into scenes. The story was divided perfectly to demonstrate the rising action and climax. It’s actually interesting how well A New Hope fit as a Shakespearean play. It felt natural. It didn’t feel forced at all.

Overall, this was an excellent addition to my collection of Star Wars literature. It obviously caters to a very small niche of people, so it is definitely not for everyone. Regardless, I really enjoyed it, and I think that any literary/Star Wars geek will love it.