Comparative lit: Shakespearean Star Wars

Book Cover: Shakespeare's Star WarsIn a galaxy far, far away, a young director created an epic that dominated the imaginations of generations. But what if Star Wars were based on earlier literary traditions? This week, I’m taking a look at William Shakespeare’s Star Wars.

So here’s the thing. I meant to give this week as much love as the past two weeks, I really did. But I was so crushingly disappointed that I found myself unable to finish this slim script. It’s a beautiful book – and Doeschler’s literary achievement is notable – but it’s not what I was hoping for.

Verily, A New Hope is a literary comic gem – yes, it really is Star Wars in iambic pentameter, with the script adapted to reflect Shakespearean tropes (so expect the stormtroopers – and others – to act as the chorus, break the fourth wall with asides, and so on). But it’s straight Star Wars, and while I like Shakespeare in modern dress, it seems I don’t like it with blasters.

This largely goes to show how spoilt I’ve been by the Tattúínárdøla saga and the Tattoine Cycle. Both craftily reimagine the story around the tropes (and period) they were adapting for (heck, the first is even translated into Old Norse). If Verily, A New Hope had gone the extra mile as these did (and had an opinion on whether Han shot first *tch*), I’d have loved it. But it turns out I don’t need Vader being conflicted to audience in verse.

For Shakespeare buffs excited about the language and better able to catch all the references (I’m not deeply enough immersed in the plays), this is probably fab. It just wasn’t what I was hoping for.

I’d intended to stop here, until I was reminded that there’s (at least) one more mutilation reinterpretation out there. So, err, I might be watching Geordie Star Wars next week.