What if Star Wars had been written by William Shakespeare instead of George Lucas? How different would things have been on the Millennium Falcon if the Bard of Avon had created Hamlet and Han Solo?
Those are the kinds of questions that must have inspired Ian Doescher’s genre-smashing debut, William Shakespeare’s Star Wars, which retells episode 4 (the first film) of Lucas’ epic space opera in, you guessed it, iambic pentameter. The result — which relies more on contemporary speech than it does 16th-century English, though there are a few ”thy”s — is a better payoff for Star Wars nerds with a thing for verse than it is for Shakespeare scholars with a fondness for the Force. There’s a reason A New Hope was crafted as a movie instead of a book or stage play: Without the spectacle of TIE fighters or lightsabers, the story and dialogue drag. Sure, it’s nice to read Darth Vader’s soliloquies about the dark side, but it’s nicer still to watch Vader Force-choke Admiral Motti. That’s not to say there aren’t some delightfully meta moments in Doescher’s version — Luke Skywalker asking Rebel forces to ”lend me your ears,” for starters — but this will likely go down in history as more of a quirky addition to the genre-busting canon than a classic for all ages to come. B