Williams Shakespeare’s The Force Doth Awakens does exactly what it says on the tin — puts Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens into Shakespearean English.
We all love those Shakespearean parody accounts on Twitter, right? Like the one that puts Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” lyrics into Elizabethan English:
His palms doth perspire, his knees feeble, arms doth weigh in excess, vomit hath appeared on his garments already, mother's Italian cuisine.
— Shakespeare Lyrics (@ShakespeareSong) November 11, 2013
And if you’re a fan of Star Wars, it’s likely you’ve already seen other re-imaginings of previous Star Wars episodes in the vein of Shakespeare. They exist, and they’re brilliant.
About ‘The Force Doth Awaken’ by Ian Doescher
Experience The Force Awakens as a Shakespeare play, complete with Elizabethan verse, Shakespearian monologues, and theatrical stage directions! As the noble Resistance clashes with the vile First Order, Rey, Finn, Poe Dameron, Kylo Ren, and BB-8 are pulled into a galaxy-wide drama—in iambic pentameter! Star Wars fans and Shakespeare enthusiasts alike will enjoy the authentic meter, reimagined movie scenes and dialogue, and hidden Easter eggs throughout. Chewbacca speaks! Leader Snoke gives a soliloquy! And the romance of Han Solo and Leia Organa takes a tragic turn that Shakespeare would approve of. All with woodcut-style illustrations that place Star Wars characters into an Elizabethan galaxy. The story may take place in a galaxy far, far away, but you’ll be convinced it was written by the Bard.
‘Force Doth Awaken’ book review
As a casual Star Wars fan, I never thought I would be interested in reading one of the many novels set in this far, far away galaxy, but the second Doth Awaken crossed my desk, I was hooked. The Force Awakens is by far my favorite movie and is what truly made me love this universe, so the idea I could read the story in addition to experiencing it visually was more than a little tempting.
Ian Doescher’s reinterpretation of the movie is brilliant on multiple levels. First and foremost, the structure reads exactly as one of Shakespeare’s many plays, which includes a page introducing dramatis personae, sections broken up into acts, scenes, and lines, stage directions, Elizabethan English, and iambic pentameter.
It simultaneously contains all the regality of the Bard and all the excitement of Star Wars.
If Shakespeare has never been your cup of tea, fear not. This is Star Wars, after all, so there’s plenty to hold your attention. The book comes in at just over 150 pages, so you won’t be slogging through a textbook three times the length. Better yet, there are beautiful illustrations regularly dotting the pages, so those who may become easily bored have something to look forward to.
My favorite aspect of the novel is the editor’s translation of Chewbacca’s dialogue. It’s written out in typical form, but each statement comes with a footnote so you know exactly what everyone’s favorite Wookie has to say. Unfortunately, the droids don’t get the same treatment, but I wouldn’t want all the mystery to be unveiled.
So whether you’re a diehard Star Wars fan or just a casual observer like me, William Shakespeare’s The Force Doth Awaken: Star Wars Part the Seventh is a fun and unique addition to your bookshelf. You can either enjoy it alone or gather all your friends ’round and stage your own play, a perfect way to shake up any Star Wars-themed party.
About the author
Ian Doescher is the New York Times best-selling author of the William Shakespeare’s Star Wars series. He holds a BA in music from Yale, an MDiv from Yale Divinity School, and a PhD in theology from Union Seminary. A theologically trained social media specialist, he currently works for a marketing agency in Portland, Oregon.