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William Shakespeare's Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope (William Shakespeare's Star Wars #1)

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  11,043 ratings  ·  1,238 reviews
Inspired by one of the greatest creative minds in the English language—and William Shakespeare—here is an officially licensed retelling of George Lucas's epic Star Wars in the style of the immortal Bard of Avon. The saga of a wise (Jedi) knight and an evil (Sith) lord, of a beautiful princess held captive and a young hero coming of age,Star Warsabounds with all the valor a ...more
Hardcover, 174 pages
Published July 2nd 2013 by Quirk Books
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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M—
You’re not reading this book for the story. You know the story. If you’re picking up this book, you’ve seen movie – movies – more times than you can count. You’re reading this book for the execution. And let me tell you – the execution is hilaaarious.

Now you might be a little leery, what with George Lucas’ undo preference for a ‘revised’ Star Wars coupled with his tight control over the copyright of the franchise, and fear that not even the language of Shakespeare can make worth entering into t
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Khanh (Clowns, Nightmares, and Bunnies)
Actual rating: 3.5

"C-3PO: Now is the summer of our happiness/
Made winter by this sudden, fierce attack!
R2-D2: Beep beep,/
Beep, beep, meep, squeak, beep, beep, beep, whee!
C-3PO: We’re doomed."


Sometimes the greatest things in life are made better in combination. Chocolate? Yum! Peanut Butter? Yes, please! But a Reese's Peanut Butter cup is quite possibly manna under heaven. Some things, like chocolate and peanut butter, are just meant to be. Others, like David Bowie and Iman, require more of a str
...more
Ali M.
I'm sorry, five stars is necessary. What could have been an easy joke is instead a wonderful and perfectly hilarious tribute to both Star Wars and Shakespeare, written with care and attention to detail (hey, iambic pentameter ain't easy!). Soliloquies about Fate? Fourth-wall-breaking asides? Omniscient choruses? Idioms galore? Yep, it's all here. Doescher doesn't miss a thing, and the result is a book that can be enjoyed on different levels - whether you crack it open to a random page for sheer ...more
Carmen
Aug 09, 2014 Carmen rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Star Wars Fans
Recommended to Carmen by: Bookstore
I was raised on Star Wars.

This book is just what it sounds like.

Am I the only one who is really pissed that droids are slaves? They are clearly sentient beings, and should not be sold at slave auctions and be subject to any master who buys them. :( And at the end, how come C-3PO and R2-D2 don't get medals from Princess Leia? This is bad.

R2-D2 can speak perfect Shakespearean English and lets the audience know his innermost thoughts in numerous "asides." I'm not sure I like that.

The author also us
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Jill
This is not a book to give someone who likes Star Wars and needs an introduction to Shakespeare nor is it a good book to give to someone who likes Shakespeare and needs an introduction to Star Wars. First, if you really like your Star Wars, then it may be a novelty item, though more for the adult who can get through the reading than the child who will have no basis for anything as it is written. Second, for me, the author seems to have a base knowledge of Shakespeare, but not quite a complete di ...more
Emily
Clever clever. I had so much fun with this-the author wrote it all in iambic pentameter, here and there borrowing from Shakespeare's plays.(Luke started one speech with a nod to Julius Caesar, and by the end had moved on to Henry V). When C-3PO thinks he hasn't turned off the trash compactor soon enough to save Luke and co., he says "A plague on 3PO for action slow, a plague upon my quest that led us here, a plague on both our circuit boards, I say!"

Hee hee.

For people who know the movie by hear
...more
Nikki
This is amusing as a quick read; I'm contemplating who might enjoy it as a quirky Christmas gift. It'd have to be someone who can appreciate the ridiculous literary touches (like R2D2 beeping in iambic pentameter), and who is a pretty big fan of both Star Wars and Shakespeare, I think. I'm not really enough of a fan of either to truly appreciate this.

I can also imagine that you could be too much of a fan of Shakespeare (or Star Wars) to appreciate this. It's best taken lightly.

Definitely a gift
...more
Sesana
This is absolutely a book only for people who love Star Wars. But why would you read it if you didn't? You'd also need to have a certain love, or at least appreciation, for Shakespeare. Sure, it's a niche audience, but I'd bet it's a pretty sizable niche. And, astonishingly, Doescher does an admirable job serving that niche.

What I expected going in was that this would essentially be the script of Star Wars, with a lot of "anon"s and "prithee"s thrown in. I wasn't expecting that Doescher would a
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Brandon
That William Shakespeare sure wrote a lot of plays, eh? Unfortunately for us, he had to go and die some three hundred and fifty years before George Lucas created Star Wars – talk about your bad timing! Luckily, author Ian Doescher has studied the immortal work of the Bard and has rewritten the classic sci-fi script in iambic pentameter.

I received a free copy from the fine folks at Quirk Books in exchange for an honest review.

Sure, you could look at this book as a joke but the truth is, Doescher
...more
Yzabel Ginsberg
(I've had my sights on this book for quite a while. When I saw it up on Edelweiss, I promptly requested a digital copy, and was pretty glad I was approved quickly. All this in exchange for an honest review, of course.)

I must confess I'm a long-time Shakespeare addict. I sure don't find all his works wonderful, I have my favourites and my not-so-favourites, and sometimes I take it more in jest than in earnest, but we're nevertheless speaking here of someone who recognises her iambic pentameters w
...more
Stephen Beeman
You might dismiss this as a gimmicky joke like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, but it's actually surprisingly brilliant. Rather than just render the Star Wars screenplay in iambic pentameter, the author fleshes it out into a full Shakespearean play--significantly longer than the movie--complete with a chorus, audience asides and inner monologues. The genius of this is twofold.

First, it enriches Star Wars--for example, R2-D2 becomes an interesting character rather than comic relief; we see more
...more
Terence
Dec 04, 2013 Terence rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of both Lucas and Shakespeare (though perhaps not fans of just one or the other)
Recommended to Terence by: Ceridwen's review
I should begin by saying that I’m going to be grossly unfair and harsh in judging Ian Doescher’s efforts in this book. He comes – at times – to really capturing a Shakespearean flavor and verve but too often appears to believe that he’s channeling the Bard by using “thou” and “prithee” and “anon,” putting verbs at the end of sentences, and stressing past-tense endings (e.g., “banishèd”). That said, this is an enjoyable – if frivolous – diversion, and I would recommend it to the probably-not-quit ...more
Callista
While I guess I should have, I hadn’t expected the author to borrow and adapt passages from Hamlet, Julius Caesar, Henry V, etc. Some of that was delightful; some of it came off a trifle silly.
I thought the way the author wrote out R2-D2’s electronic noises in iambic pentametre (e.g., “Beep, whistle, squeak, beep, meep, hoo whistle”) was cute, although rendering Huttese and Rodian without any translation, not so much. (Although I’m all for alien languages with subtitles in movies.) R2 is also g
...more
Rebecca

In a nutshell:
William Shakespeare and Star Wars is an odd yet genius combination in this well-executed retelling of A New Hope. It's a must-read for any Star Wars fan!

Writing

It's simultaneously odd yet hilarious to have such well-known characters speak like Shakespearean characters. Yet it actually works quite well in the context. Rather than being a mere parody of Star Wars, the book is more of a retelling that is told in the style of William Shakespeare.

Something I liked in particular about t
...more
Karissa
I got a copy of this book to review from the Quirk Books in exchange for an honest review. When I saw this book was releasing I really wanted to read it, I love Shakespeare and Star Wars and was eager to see what would happen when the two are put together. The result was very pleasant; I enjoyed the dramatic way Star Wars is done in play form and the wonderful illustrations throughout. I really enjoyed reading this.

This book covers Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope in a very Shakespearean format.
...more
Paulo "paper books always" Carvalho
This was an interesting read. After reading a couple of years back the Star Wars - New Hope's novel that began it all and I thought that it had some interesting new things. As most tie-ins that are a prose version of the script that one gave some scenes that never went to the screen. Comparing it to this one is not possible because this is makeover of the scipt into a shakespearean play. Some scenes are funny as hell. If you are a fan of Star Wars you must read it. Don't expect anything new but ...more
Cherie
I love Star Wars - the movies. Like the auther, I have watched them over and over and over. They never get old.

I enjoyed reading this little book of Star Wars verse so much! It was a whole new way to enjoy what I have always enjoyed watching on the screen, plus a new voice for R2-D2. His comments, in English to the audience/reader were wonderful. A couple of asides that were a beautiful addition to the characters thoughts and feelings that we do not get to know when we see them on the screen. O
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Tabitha (Pabkins)
William Shakespeare’s Star Wars is a fabulous tribute to Star Wars done in a poetic albeit kooky way. I think it would be best enjoyed if you didn’t take it too seriously. If you are a hardcore Star Wars fan or Shakespeare fan you have to take into consideration this is not the movie you love nor is it classic Shakespeare the way he would have written it. So set that aside and just enjoy it for what it is – which in my mind was having fun with the franchise.

Obi-Wan: –True it is, That these are n
...more
Cheryl
So you have heard of remixes in the music world but how many of you are familiar with mash ups in the books world? Yes, there is such a thing as mash ups. In the case of this book author Ian Doescher took a famous writer maybe you heard of his name…William Shakespeare. Then Mr. Doescher took another beloved movie series, Star Wars and he mashed the two together and you get William Shakespeare’s Star Wars...a romping good time!

While I am sure both Mr. Shakespeare and Mr. Lucas never imagined them
...more
Don
This was a stellar idea, botched by a completely unskilled execution.

And it's a damn shame, because the concept itself is pure genius. The first Star Wars movie is mythic in both scope and structure, and the idea to retell the story as a "lost" Shakespeare was nothing less than inspired. Unfortunately, it doesn't take long to remind us why Shakespeare is so revered so many centuries later: What he accomplished is incredibly hard to replicate, and so damn easy to do badly.

For instance, asides and
...more
Sarah Churchill
If you're a Star Wars fan and are comfortable reading Shakespeare's work then you will love this. If you're neither of those things then you're likely to miss the point of the series.

This retelling (or reenactment?) is both clever and funny, and the asides spoken to us - the audience - add a whole other layer to the story we know so well. I also love how R2-D2 is able to speak eloquently, but is required to communicate with the other characters through a series of Beeps and Whistles.

Cementing t
...more
Cheryl
Brilliant. Can be simply enjoyed, or, one could use it as I'm doing, to help me develop the skill of reading Shakespearean language by telling a familiar story in it. Do note that, if you're not comfortable w/ Shakespeare, and also not familiar with Star Wars, you're not likely to enjoy this. I especially liked R2-D2's asides. And "Friends, rebels, starfighters, lend me your ears..." and other direct tributes to the original writings of the Bard.
Wart Hill
That was so much fun! Very Star Wars, melded nicely with Shakespearean style and language, plus a little Greek drama added in through the role of the chorus. I really enjoyed this.
Jake
There are some knee-slapping couplets in Ian Doescher's Shakespearean adaptation of Star Wars: Episode Four. I want so much to quote a few here, but quoting the best of them feels like a literary spoiler. This is no mere parody. Doescher turns A New Hope into a stageable play of the Elizabethan kind. I read it to myself, but this book cries out to be done as a table reading among friends.

It should come as no surprise that the melodramatic robot C-3PO translates easily and colorfully into the wor
...more
Julian
Upon reflection, it seems so simple. Take the high drama, action and adventure of Star Wars and infuse it with the wit and mastery of Shakespeare. It is, frankly, astonishing how effective the treatment is. From C3PO and R2D2's Rozencrantz and Guildensternian antics to Obi-Wan's Prospero, as one is reading the book it is astonishing to discover that these characters have been sitting there with this hidden depth all the time. It is as if Ian Doescher simply pulls back a veil and reveals an inner ...more
Laura
Art thou not small of stature, if thou art a stormtrooper?

This book could not be more fun. A perfect blending of Star Wars and Shakespeare, it tells the classic story of A New Hope while actually enhancing it with great asides and soliloquies that delve into the characters' thoughts and motivations. And even in iambic pentameter, the characters are still themselves and all the humor comes through. A very fun and very funny read.

Additionally, the illustrations throughout are great - a wonderful m
...more
Mary Catelli
We all know the plot, I trust. . . .

Star Wars recast into iambic pentameter. With asides, sometimes explicating things not made explicit in the movie. Most notably those that were not determined at the time. Obi-Wan has an aside on how he must lie to Luke about his father, for instance. R2D2 gets asides in plain English.

Amazing what sort of ringing poetry you can get. The language sometimes jars, because it tends toward Elizabethean, but sometimes it seems too modern. Of course, part of that is
...more
DJ
This was very cute! Very fun to read. Very quick to read.

Yes it is Star Wars through the "eyes" of Shakespeare. It was very fun to read, especially if you know the tale.

So why four instead of five stars? Well, I deducted stars because--yes, I know it's Shakespeare like and all--the asides really detracted from the over all story. Do I really need to know what's going on in C3PO's head? Not really. And R2D2 should ONLY EVER SPEAK in beeps, whistles and droidian screams, NEVER WORDS. And yet, th
...more
Dominick
Well, this was ... interesting. On the plus side, it actually provides some character insight via soliloquys that correspond to nothing in the original. Notably, R2-D2 is given several, but we also get ruminations form Obi-Wan, Darth Vader, and even Han Solo that might qualify as genuine interpretive gestures about the characters. On the other hand, this is not funny enough to work, really, as parody, and not serious enough to work as a genuine pastiche/translation into the Shakespearean medium. ...more
Joel Julian
This is my first time reading Shakespeare and I must say I have been blown away. Truly, the man was ahead of his time. Such exquisite characters, such deep motivations and an incredibly successful blend of both comedy and tragedy.
I can only imagine how a work such as this might have been received at the time; I very much doubt that anyone would have been able to truly comprehend the profound imagery Shakespeare was trying to convey when delivering this work. The vision he portrays is truly a ch
...more
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Ian is a Portland native, and lives in Portland with his spouse and two children. He has a B.A. in Music from Yale University, a Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School, and a Ph.D. from Union Theological Seminary. He is currently the Director of Nonprofit Marketing at Pivot Group LLC, a full service marketing, research and web agency in Portland, Oregon.
More about Ian Doescher...

Other Books in the Series

William Shakespeare's Star Wars (5 books)
  • William Shakespeare's The Empire Striketh Back (William Shakespeare's Star Wars, #5)
  • William Shakespeare's The Jedi Doth Return
  • William Shakespeare's The Phantom of Menace (William Shakespeare's Star Wars, #1)
  • William Shakespeare's Alack! Of the Clones: Star Wars Part the Second
William Shakespeare's The Empire Striketh Back (William Shakespeare's Star Wars, #5) William Shakespeare's The Jedi Doth Return William Shakespeare's Star Wars Trilogy: The Royal Box Set William Shakespeare's The Phantom of Menace (William Shakespeare's Star Wars, #1) William Shakespeare's Star Wars Trilogy: The Royal Imperial Boxed Set: Includes Verily, A New Hope; The Empire Striketh Back; The Jedi Doth Return

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“True it is,/ That these are not the droids for which thou search'st.

-Obi-Wan "Ben" Kenobi”
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“- Be thou not technical with me,/Or else thine input valve may swift receive/a hearty helping of my golden foot.” 23 likes
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