If there’s one thing I love probably as much as Shakespeare, it’s probably Star Wars, which kind of makes me a double geek. So you can understand why I love this book so much. And trust me, it’s not just any old transliteration of George Lucas’ screenplay using Shakespeare’s diction – this is the real thing, with layers of meaning, with references and in-jokes, and with serious scholarship (and artistry).
I wrote a fawning fan letter to Ian Doescher and names-dropped my recent participation at the Folger and my fellow presenter Ken Ludwig, and was honoured to receive a wonderful and generous personal response, where Mr. Doescher told me that one of his hopes was to introduce young people to Shakespeare through his work. Bravo!
You’ll really have to read the book for yourself to appreciate its brilliance, but if I may, I’d like to share with you this excerpt from its afterword, from just after the paragraph where the author talks about the parallels between the main characters in the Star Wars movies and Shakespeare’s archetypal characters:
Shakespeare’s plays and Star Wars also feature a host of colorful supporting players. C-3PO and R2-D2 observe and comment on the action like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Chewbacca is as untamable as Caliban. Lando is as smooth and self-interested (at first) as Brutus. Obi-Wan Kenobi is like a wise Prospero (before death) or a haunting King Hamlet (after). Jabba the Hutt enjoys a diet worthy of Falstaff. Boba Fett is like Richard III‘s murderers 1, 2, and 3, but with a jetpack and blaster instead of a knife. Yoda’s speech is as backward as Dogberry’s but as wise as Polonius’s.