Hark what tome through yonder rarefied window breaks?
Why it’s William Shakespeare’s Star Wars, proof that there if the Bard of Avon had been alive in the 1970s that it would have been he and George Lucas bringing the adventures of Luke, Leia and Han, C3PIO and R2D2 to the big screen in 1977.
Alas the man who brought us Romeo and Juliet, Henry V and Hamlet (or didn’t, if you believe the many theories postulating that everyone including his servant boy was busily penning plays for him to take the credit for) died in 1616, about 360 years before the immortal words “A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away …” would usher in, in vibrant giant yellow script, one of the genre-defining films in cinema history.
So in lieu of his much departed presence, author Ian Doescher has taken the liberty, and a welcome one it is, of translating Star Wars: A New Hope (film four in the series officially but the first for all of us old enough to have seen it in the cinema the first time around) into soul-stirring Shakespearian iambic pentameter.
Thus, the confrontation between Obi Wan Kenobi and his departed-for-the-Dark-Side former mentoree Darth Vader, is rendered as a poetic duel as much as a physical one, verbal thrusts and parries every bit as important, and engaging, as those of the light sabres themselves.
And Leia plaintive help for assistance from Obi-Wan, in exile down on Tatooine, takes an even more of an epic quality if that is possible.
Having successfully married together the rich language of Shakespeare and the vivid imagination of one George Lucas, Ian Doescher has spoken, in an interview on the website of the book’s publisher Quirk Books, of bringing the two sequels to ye old English life, hopefully with more of the wonderful old woodcut illustrations that adorn the first book.
But regardless of whether The Empire Striketh Back and The Jedi Doth Return ever see the light of day, it looks like Ian Doescher has succeeded in his quest of taking Star Wars back in time in order to make “encourage young people who are intimidated by Shakespeare to give him a try.”
* My thanks to über-talented blogger (and one of Triberr tribe mates), SciFiSlacker.com for bringing this highly imaginative book to my attention. Go check out his wonderful site out right now, or 361 years ago, whichever you doth prefereth.