William Shakespeare’s Star Wars

In Book Reviews on October 30, 2013 at 6:00 am
Reimagined in glorious iambic pentameter.

Lucasfilm Ltd 2013

In  time so long ago begins our play,
In star-crossed galaxy far, far away.

I was 2 years old when Star Wars Episode IV came out. When I was 5, my dad took my sister and me to see The Empire Strikes Back in the cinema. She would have been 3. The story goes that we were sitting in the theatre and got a bit agitated upon seeing Darth Vader so Dad decided that it was best if we just left. We walked up the aisle to the exit and he looked behind him to find my sister and me standing mesmerised by what was on the screen. I guess he decided that we weren’t really that scared, so we sat down and finished watching the film.

Thus began my life-long love of the Star Wars franchise.

I would like to take a moment to clarify that when I talk about these films, I am referring only to episodes IV – VI. I’m trying my best to pretend that the first three episodes don’t exist. Also, I’m a bit of a purist and don’t approve of the digitally remastered versions. I was so upset when they digitised my favourite alien (Lapti Nek. She’s the one singing.) in Return of the Jedi and turned it into some weird musical feature. How could you, George Lucas??

Anyway, back to my childhood.

I remember having weekend movie nights with my family. I always looked forward to this. Mom would fire up the popcorn machine and we would each get our own bowl so that no one could eat more than his or her share.

Microwave popcorn? Methinks not. This stuff was the bomb.

Microwave popcorn? Methinks not. This stuff was the bomb.

We’d plonk down on the couch in our jim-jams and watch whatever was on HBO or the Disney Channel. Looking back at my childhood, I realise how much time my parents invested in making us happy. They didn’t spend a lot of money on us, but we pretty much had their undivided attention. We did lots of things as a family.

My favourite family movie night films were the Star Wars ones. As we got a bit older, my sister would groan. “Not Star Wars again!” But I’ve always loved them.

I loved the characters and I loved the action. I mean, a princess who didn’t look like a Disney princess? She was a bad-ass general with a blaster who worked as part of a team and rescued the guys as much as she was rescued. My 8 year old mind was blown.

My grandmother had this huge uprooted tree stump in her back yard and that became our Millenium Falcon. We would play Star Wars with our cousins. My oldest cousin was always Han Solo and I always got to be Princess Leia. (No kissing though. Ew.) Man, I could fly that tree stump into hyperspace. My little sister was always R2-D2 because she was younger and had to do what we said. She wasn’t allowed to say anything but “Beep boop boop bwee wooo” (or any variation of it). I think that this might explain her aversion to Star Wars as we grew older.

Flash forward to my late teens and I discovered that my mom felt a similar love for these films. We began to have what we call “a Star Wars kind of day”. Dad and little sis are politely asked to vacate the premises and mom and I drag out our needle crafts and proceed to watch all three films. Back to back to back.

We still do this when I come home to visit only my hubby is allowed to join in to our ritual. He doesn’t get annoyed (or at least he doesn’t act like it) when we say the lines along with the characters. Most importantly, he doesn’t talk about non-Star Wars stuff during the films. This is why he is allowed to stay.

I guess I’m telling you all of this to let you know that these films have a special place in my heart. They represent happy times spent with my family.

As much as I love Star Wars, however, I don’t actually own a lot of branded stuff. I’ve never read any of the books because I don’t want anything to take away from the experience I had growing up. I’ve never had any of the collectibles either. The experience is what I craved.

However, when I saw this book, I was filled with pure, unadulterated glee. Imagine my delight to find one of my favourite films translated into a whimsical book as it would be written by Shakespeare! And it turned out to be everything I dreamed it would be.

Mr. Doescher incorporates some actual lines from various plays (adapted to make them fit the story) which makes it even more fun. Verily.

Also, my sister would be happy to know that R2-D2 actually has lines beyond “Beep boop boop bwee wooo”. All of his lines are asides so none of the characters actually hear him talk. Here’s one of my favourites of his:

A plague on 3PO for action slow,
A plague upon my quest that led us here,
A plague on both our circuit boards, I say!

I think that my favourite line in this book is by Han Solo before they end up in the garbage compactor.

-He hath the plan,
Not I, thou sweetheart of ingratitude!
[Leia takes Luke’s blaster, shoots hole in wall.
By what dark sprite of Hell art thou possess’d?

This book had me giggling so much on the train. I’m sure my fellow commuters thought that I was mad. It’s a fantastic bit of whimsy and one I’ll go to when I need cheering up.

I saw a few stodgy reviews on Goodreads, so I’m guessing that it isn’t for those of you who are hard-core Shakespearean purists.

I found it to be a delightful reminder of some very happy times in my life and a whole lot of fun.

Also, very fittingly, this book finishes off my Goodreads challenge. This year, I challenged myself to read 61 books and this one was number 61. This pleased me greatly.

2013 Goodreads Challenge

61 Books read this year!

On that note, I shall say goodbye and ever shall the Force remain with thee.

  1. I loved your reminiscance. I was too young to have built up many original trilogy memories, but we owned them all on VHS. Even the freakin Christmas Special. But I think only A New Hope was in English. If you’re interested in a fans take on how the prequel trilogy could have been good, let me know. I absolutely love to link you to things in your comments 😛

    • There are so many bad things about the prequels that I really do try to pretend they don’t exist. The dialogue is cringe-inducing, the casting was way off (no way that whiny boy was Darth Vader) etc. It was just so poorly done on so many levels I don’t acknowledge them and don’t actually care about them. I usually like it when you link stuff but this time I’ll have to pass. 🙂

      • Ah, your loss. This guy who posts on youtube as Belated Media does a cool “what if” he were a studio exec at Fox when George Lucas’s script landed on his desk. But… as you say… :3

  2. Star Wars has a special place in my heart too. I didn’t even know this book existed so thank you so much for bringing it to my attention. Glad that you enjoyed it! 🙂

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