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William Shakespeare's The Phantom of Menace

(William Shakespeare's Star Wars #1)

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  1,504 ratings  ·  249 reviews
O Threepio, Threepio, wherefore art thou, Threepio?

Join us, good gentles, for a merry reimagining of Star Wars: Episode I as only Shakespeare could have written it. The entire saga starts here, with a thrilling tale featuring a disguised queen, a young hero, and two fearless knights facing a hidden, vengeful enemy.

'Tis a true Shakespearean drama, filled with sword fights,
ebook, 176 pages
Published April 7th 2015 by Quirk Books
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Dana Yes, will there ever be an audio version? The first three were so awesome and I'm re-listening now.
Jennifer Yes, Ian Doescher has studied Shakespeare extensively and puts a lot of thought into translating Star Wars into Shakespearean tragedies. You can learn…moreYes, Ian Doescher has studied Shakespeare extensively and puts a lot of thought into translating Star Wars into Shakespearean tragedies. You can learn more about the process on his website (less)
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Average rating 4.06  · 
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 ·  1,504 ratings  ·  249 reviews

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JV (semi-hiatus)
Dec 03, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: SW fans with a penchant for Shakespeare
Verily, verily, upon to thee, I say...
Hark! For thou shalt hear a star-crossed tale,
In a time long ago,
In a galaxy far, far away...

In troth, Phantom of Menace, thou, mayhap, film have seen...
Yet read opportune, perchance, not, it might seem!
Alack! I urge ye to peruse this work,
Oh dear, prithee, lest I gleefully twerk!

Behold, as peaceful Naboo taketh a bow...
The puissant Trade Federation overtaketh now.
Fie! Senator Palpatine doth maketh a plan,
Annihilate! Obliterate! The planet for him to take!
Ian Doescher is so witty. I love that he can turn this story into something with weight and his iambic pentameter is so right on. He takes the horrible character of Jar Jar Binks and turns him into quite a great character playing the fool. There is a line that Qiu-Gon Gin that is the speech from the Taken movie - hilarious.

This works on so many levels and being a Shakespeare fan, I love it. It reads well and fast and Ian really knows his Shakespeare and he uses all the devices from the plays.
Jun 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

I was very surprised by this book! It's no secret that I love Star Wars, but when I first heard of this book I thought the author had changed the story a bunch... And was just a little skeptical. I put it off, but recently watched the newest Star Wars, the Force Awakens, and decided to pick these up. I was super pleased to realize that not that much from the original story was changed! I loved how the author changed the
Blamp Head
Feb 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
O, wherefore art thou but so little pleased?
Because thou read not Phantom of Menace,
Alack! But this be but the fourth of four
So far released in this most grand old lot.

Behold! Mister Binks, he is no one's fool.
'Ere thou too harshly judge his wretched soul,
In this iambic pentameter play,
Binks plays his cards with perfect aptitude.

O, wert thou not but wasting thy short time,
Thou wouldst mayhap hath read yet Anakin's
A-rising out from podraced slavery
To clench his place in the wise Jedi ranks.

4 stars

I embarked on this quirky little series when I thought it would only be the original Star Wars series, so I was a bit surprised to hear about William Shakespeare's The Phantom of Menace. You would think that after three books, the novelty of the Shakespearification of Star Wars might wear off - but no! I enjoyed The Phantom of Menace immensely.

I'll be upfront with you and say that of all the Star Wars movies, The Phantom Menace is my least favorite. This is the case for many fans, I
Nov 03, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: play, star-wars
Compared to the original movies, the prequels are going to be a bit more of a challenge to Shakespeareify. Not because the basic plots are bad, but because the dialog is atrocious. I'm doing my damnedest to come up with a solidly quotable line from the prequels and coming up blank. But believe me, I can come up with dozens of cringingly awful ones. Doescher, I think, does his best, but this is kind of a weak movie to adapt. He helps his cause by applying his own interpretation to JarJar: he's ...more
Mar 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: would-read-again
These books never fail to tickle me. Every time I pick one up, I expect a Shakespearean version of the classic films. However, Doescher puts his own twist on the stories. I particularly like how he made Jar Jar an intelligent creature, who is simply misunderstood. What? A likable Jar Jar? I know, I'm in shock too.
Caidyn (SEMI-HIATUS; BW Reviews; he/him/his)
Okay, so I went into this with the plan of doing a serious review. You know, examining lines, plot, characters, and all that good stuff. An actual review.

About halfway through, I realized there was no way that would happen. It was too funny and brought up too many memories for me to actually make this a review that you got something out of.

I was three when this movie came out. May 1999. April was my birthday, so I was literally just three. So, I obviously didn't see this in theaters. (Although,
Sep 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ian Doescher takes on the task of bringing the Star Wars prequels to the Elizabethan stage in “William Shakespeare’s The Phantom of Menace” to fantastic results that will be jarring to any of those who dislike the film. Given the first prequel’s notorious reputation amongst the Star Wars fandom, Doescher gives the maligned film a magnificent theatrical presentation that would make any hardcore fan happy.

The biggest issue Doescher had to deal with was obviously Jar Jar Binks, who instead of being
Jan 10, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, plays
This was like reading the movie's script, but done up in faux-Shakespearean style. It gets a bit cheesy using famous lines from Shakespeare's plays (like "Et tu, Brute?"), but otherwise does an admirable job of bringing that sort of language to the Star Wars plot. Jar Jar Binks is retold as a gifted philosopher posing as a nitwit due to Qui-Gon's prejudices. R2-D2 also speaks proper English in his asides, as well. Yoda speaks in haiku, which is also pretty neat. I had fun reading this and ...more
Jessamyn Leigh
These mashups of two of my favorite things never disappoint. Highlights of this one include using asides to reveal Jar Jar as secretly intelligent but playing dumb to unite the Naboo and the Gungans, and meta references to Liam Neeson and Samuel L. Jackson's other movies. The already good dialogue (Palpatine) becomes glorious, the painful (Lil Anakin) becomes bearable.

And can we talk about the illustrations?! I'm already a huge fan of The Phantom Menace's production design and it married so
Apr 01, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Okay, this one was fun. I'm really enjoying this series. This one was more remarkable than the others so far in that it was better than the movie it was based on. Doescher even manages to make Jar Jar Binks bearable. Who would have thought such a thing was even possible. I enjoyed the other pop culture references that were tossed in, including song lyrics and references to Liam Niesen's role in Taken.
Jul 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars.
Michael Campbell
Nov 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Okay, I'm not the biggest Shakespeare fan. I haven't read anything by him since school, and I've been to one Shakespeare play(Macbeth which I did like). I've just never gotten around to reading the bard, but this book was genuinely funny despite that.

Obviously if you aren't a Star Wars fan, skip it, but I don't think you have to be a Shakespeare buff to get a laugh out of it. Several lines made me wheeze, but it was steadily humorous throughout.

(view spoiler)
May 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
I forgot how much I love this series! In fact I don't even have a good reason as to why it took me this long to finally pick it back up. Even though I dislike these movies, Ian Doescher worked his magic and made me find a reason to love them. He might have even given me a few reason to enjoy JarJar, just a few. Though, I still find C3PO annoying not matter in what form he's written.

Hats off to Ian Doescher as well. Not only for how many times he had to watch this movie, but for how amazing this
Short Review

I've reviewed Ian Doescher's William Shakespeare's Star Wars original series, which I thoroughly enjoyed overall. The Phantom of Menace was good, but it had a lot of missed opportunities. For one, whole scenes were deleted (the funeral of Qui-Gon Jinn), which could have had some lovely asides from Anakin and Obi-Wan both.

I know a lot of people detest Jar-Jar Binks, but what Ian Doescher did with his character was to give him some depth. I liked this quite a bit. The pacing was
Feb 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2018, sci-fi
Hilarious! I’m not sure what else I can say. Ian Doescher does an amazing job taking the stories we all know and love yet putting a new spin on them.

In this one for example, I loved Jar Jar. I really like the way his character was handled and developed. I only got one of the Samuel L Jackson references but it was still fun to look for them.

I don’t know how this guy does it. He’s brilliant. Even the podrace worked as part of the play.

Oh and I will always and forever love Artoo. Qui-Gon’s death
Jordan Lahn
Oct 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Another wonderful adventure through this strange hybrid universe merging Star Wars with Shakespeare. Once again, the cleverness with which Ian Doescher weaves Shakespeare's trademark wit and wordplay into familiar dialogue is incredible, and I frequently laughed out loud at certain turns of phrase. I wish I'd been able to enjoy this in audio form the way I did the first 3, but it was still a very enjoyable reading experience. Already pre-ordered the next two!
The Batman
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Even those that loathe Jar Jar Bink's very existence would find Ian Doescher's take on him here to be pretty funny. Also, the filler scene where two random Jedi predict the decline in technology between the prequels and the original series is hilarious. Have I mentioned I love these books?
Mar 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Once again, these books are amazing. I even liked Jar Jar how he is depicted here.

Also loved the Liam Neeson reference towards the end.

Love this series, highly recommend.
Apr 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Shakespeare, Star Wars
Recommended to Jason by: I'm a fan of the series
Shelves: 2015, humor
Being the Star Wars nut I am I feel obliged to like the movie The Phantom Menace, and I do, but I find myself making excuses for it. The Darth Maul duel at the end is still one of my favorites in the whole series, and... well... I like the movie anyway, I say, and who are you to judge me!?

Nute Gunray photo Nute Gunray.jpg
Oh! And I do like Nute Gunray even if he does lip sync like an oriental in a Godzilla or crap kung-fu movie, but that's just because he and I share a desire to see Natalie Portman dead in later movies.
Jan 19, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yes, only three stars, unlike 4, 5 & 6 because, just like the real Shakespeare, I only really like it on dramatized audiobook, not so much in written form. It didn't help that I haven't watched these prequels, although I had seen at least one scene in this book when someone else was watching it around here.

The verse is still good, there are many strong fun things about it, and once again, it recaptures the film in a very funny, interesting way a la Shakespeare.
Oct 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't think I've ever understood the story line to this movie as clearly as I do after reading this book. A little overdone, but in ways that are pretty mindboggling. I mean, to reproduce Shakespearean language in a way that makes the Star Wars storyline completely clear is a considerable feat.
Mar 27, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Phantom Menace has been widely regarded as the worst of the Star Wars film saga and one of the biggest reasons is JAR JAR BINKS who has polarized fans. I was a bit worried and excited to see how would Doescher take on this character and the rest of the CGI-visual fest. This retelling of Episode I brings back the wonderful prose and iambic pentameter from the previous episodes, but it fails to bring life the messy plot of TPM to life successfully. I don't blame Doescher because he wasn't ...more
Tony Laplume
Nov 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Here's an admission to kick things off: I'm one of those odd fans of Star Wars who grew up with the classic trilogy and liked the prequels anyway. Yes, including The Phantom Menace. And Jar Jar Binks...

This might be the only Shakespeare Star Wars that I read, not because I was not impressed with Phantom of Menace (clearly I was, so the stars indicate; no war necessary here), but because, I think, this is in fact the ideal adaptation to sample, if sample is all you end up doing.

Which is also
Mar 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Unless you’ve been living in a Wampa’s ice cave on the remote planet of Hoth, I’d wager you’re familiar with the Star Wars universe. You also probably know a thing or two about William Shakespeare as it's required reading in most high school English classes. In The Phantom of Menace, Ian Doescher retells George Lucas’s original story through the iambic pentameter of William Shakespeare, and it's absolutely brilliant.

As a slightly obsessed fan of the original Star Wars movie trilogy, I have to
The Phantom Menace is that movie that I honestly pretend that never happened in our lives, since it doesn't bring much to connect with the other movies. In the case of this book it was better, but I still were pretty bored at some parts.

Thank God that the author always makes it funnier and add things that doesn't sound out of context.

Jar Jar Binks (which is a bit different and cooler in this book) is still a very annoying character, and it's terrible to think that he has more lines and depth
I have the original trilogy version of these books, but I was a bit slower getting the ones for episodes one through three. I guess I just try to deny their existence, or something. But I should not have waited so long, as this book was hilarious. Freaking Jar Jar is incredibly intelligent and only acts like an idiot to manipulate the Jedi into doing what he wants. And R2-D2 continues to have an amazing internal monologue. Then I got to this part and laughed long and hard:

image bbcode

Oct 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Perhaps the best of the lot (so far). I've ready 4-6, and now this one, and let me tell you, the Star Wars/Shakespearean in me was not disappointed. I was most impressed at the portrayal of Jar Jar Binks. In the films, Binks is, well, an imbecile. In this book, however, Jar Jar takes on the role of fool by choice in order to accomplish his designs. It is a brilliant way of portraying him, one which I wish had happened in the movie. But alas, Jar Jar is Jar Jar, and we can't undo that.

I loved the
Brandon Forsyth
Apr 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'll be honest - my first thought was "why?" I had really hoped that the Shakespeare Star Wars series would just do the original films, but I forgot one thing: Ian Doescher is a very, very funny man. This book crackles with wit and wordplay, and actually made me want to revisit the film - no mean feat! I loved reading the 'Taken' speech in iambic pentameter, hearing Anakin channel Humphrey Bogart, and all the other sly little fun that these books have consistently delivered. Doescher ...more
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Ian is the author of the William Shakespeare Star Wars series and the Pop Shakespeare series. He's a Portland native, and lives in Portland with his spouse and children.

Other books in the series

William Shakespeare's Star Wars (8 books)
  • William Shakespeare's The Clone Army Attacketh (William Shakespeare's Star Wars, #2)
  • William Shakespeare's Tragedy of the Sith's Revenge (William Shakespeare's Star Wars, #3)
  • William Shakespeare's Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope (William Shakespeare's Star Wars, #4)
  • 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, #6)
  • William Shakespeare's The Force Doth Awaken (William Shakespeare's Star Wars, #7)
  • William Shakespeare's Jedi the Last: Star Wars Part the Eighth (William Shakespeare's Star Wars, #8)
“Indeed, it may most verily be said
That only death and taxes certain are.”
“QUI-GON I know not who you are or what you want, Yet I do have skills most particular, Acquir’d throughout a Jedi’s long career. These skills do make me nightmarish to such As you. Surrender now, and you shall live— If not, you shall be dead, and there’s an end. MAUL I’ll not be taken by you, man naïve; Your feeble skills are naught when match’d to mine. This is the moment I have longèd for: Two Jedi to assuage mine appetite.” 2 likes
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