And with this review, I have made my half Cannonball. I had intended to go one over to make up for last year’s unavoidable failure, but no luck. However, this is a fun book to go out on.
Ian Doescher has loved both Shakespeare and Star Wars for many years, as he describes in the Afterword. He discusses how George Lucas drew on the research of Joseph Campbell in refining his original story, incorporating the archetypes used repetitively throughout history into his space opera. Of course, many of those archetypes are well represented in Shakespeare’s works. Doescher also points out that Shakespeare and Star Wars are both pervasive in Western culture, with both being very quotable and readily referenced. All of this combined to inspire Droescher to write William Shakespeare’s Star Wars, which is really quite fun.
My husband picked this up for me on a work trip, as he knows I am both a Shakespeare and Star Wars nerd myself, and because he thought that the asides that R2D2 is able to make in the book were very funny. I was initially a bit doubtful, but Doescher has done a good job of converting the dialogue and plot into iambic pentameter and of also describing the action similarly to how it would be done in a Shakespeare play. The chorus he uses is a good way to set the scene and do an “exposition dump.” The other character’s are also able to convey a lot of information about their thoughts and motivations via asides to the audience, and Doescher includes some very Shakespearean turns of phrase in the adaptation. Some of it is indeed funny, particularly in the conversations between the droids and between Han and Leia, as in the movies. The book also includes some nice illustrations from Nicolas Delort, including my favourite (image is obviously an early sketch of the back cover illustration):