A long, long time ago, in a galaxy known as high school, my senior English Lit class studied Hamlet by William Shakespeare. As I read the play, the Star Wars nerd in me could not help but correlate the tale, chock full of spirits and sword fighting and murderous relatives, with George Lucas’s beloved space opera. I had the idea that one day I would put on a production of Hamlet with the roles replaced by the appropriate Star Wars character. Luke Skywalker would play the titular character, Darth Vader would be his murderous, scheming uncle, and Obi-Wan would take a turn as the ghost/Force spirit that was once his father. The other positions could be filled by the various supporting cast members. It was an interesting idea but unfortunately I never had the means nor the talent to make it.
Flash forward eighteen years (has it really been that long since I graduated?) and it turns out that I am not the only one to notice the connection between the Bard’s writings and the galaxy far, far away. With his debut novel, William Shakespeare’s Star Wars, author Ian Doescher gives a unique perspective on A New Hope by telling it through mimicry of the style of the most famous playwright in history. He has since gone on to publish books for the entire movie saga, with the final tale Tragedy of the Sith’s Revenge released just days after the “Force Friday” extravaganza. To celebrate the finale, Doescher went on a multi-city book tour, and one of his stops was near my home in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The event began with some line readings from a local Shakespeare troupe.
Afterward, Ian came out and began the night with some readings from his six books. The first selection was his rendition of the opening crawl from Episode III.
Next he pulled an audience member and the two of them performed Anakin and Padme’s dialogue when she reveals that she is pregnant.
His Yoda impression is spot-on.
He then took questions from the audience, and some interesting facts were gleaned. He revealed that, as of right now, there are no plans to make William Shakespeare’s The Force Awakeneth (my title idea, not his, but that’s probably what it would be) nor will there be versions of Clone Wars or Rebels. He also admitted to placing a slew of Easter eggs in his books, including a few acrostics. For example: take a look at the first letter of each line of the Medic 1’s soliloquy on page 154 of Sith’s Revenge.
I inquired about the chain of events that lead from having the idea of writing Star Wars as a Shakespearean play to getting approval from Lucasfilm:
After the Q&A Ian sat down and signed books for everyone. I introduced myself to him, and in a vain effort to make myself look cool I mentioned that I was a blogger for Coffee With Kenobi and name dropped Dan Zehr, knowing that Dan provided insight into Star Wars lore for him as he was writing the books. I also mentioned that I had been the guy that wrote him on Facebook, telling him that he should write “William Shakespeare’s Gremlins”. I’m still holding out hope for that to happen. A boy can dream.
He was kind enough to accept my request for a photograph. My single regret was that I only had two of the six books for him to sign. Maybe I can complete the set by the time he comes around again.
If you have never attended a book signing, I highly recommend that you remedy that soon. They are loads of fun– more fun than you might think–and you get to meet your favorite authors and pick their brains a bit. A huge thank you to Ian Doescher for taking the time to make that happen.
YHOP does not have a book published–yet–but you can still pick his brain at firstname.lastname@example.org
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