Audiobook Review: William Shakespeare’s Star Wars by Ian Doescher

Recently, I’ve been listening to several Star Wars audiobooks. For one, they have excellent narrators, awesome special effects, and music! But also because if I choose to read it instead, I probably would skip it to read something else. Star Wars books can be hit or miss for me, but it’s much more enjoyable to listen to it than read it.

Thus, I finally decided to dive down the rabbit hole of William Shakespeare’s Star Wars by Ian Doescher. I found a three-in-one audiobook of Verily, a New Hope, The Empire Striketh Back, and The Jedi Doth Return. And it was amazing.

William Shakespeare's Star Wars (1)

Basically, Ian Doescher took the Star Wars movie scripts and wrote them as if they are a Shakespeare play instead, complete with Shakespearean dialogue, iambic pentameter lines, and stage directions.

I think the audiobooks only amplified how incredible these books are. Plus, Shakespeare should be heard, not read. The same goes for William Shakespeare’s Star Wars. If you have a chance to pick these books up, go with the audiobooks (or reading them out loud in your own dramatic voices works too).

First, they are full cast, which means there are different narrators for the various characters, who do do an excellent job of bringing the Shakespearean dialogue to life. Second, the audiobooks include music and sound effects and a hilarious opening and ending that mimics stepping into the Globe Theater for a show. I pretty much almost crashed my car while listening because I was laughing so hard.

In addition, Ian Doescher is a brilliant genius! The idea of Shakespeare Star Wars is so bizarre it works. Seriously. R2D2 has these asides that share his (sarcastic) thoughts during certain moments, Lando has dramatic soliloquies, and even Jabba’s Huttese is in iambic pentameter. And the carbonate scene in Empire? So Dramatic. You think the movie version is dramatic, the drama in this version is tenfold. I love it.

I had a blast hearing Han speak in Shakespearean or listening to Luke say “Fie!” about literally everything. Ian Doescher explains in his author notes that Star Wars and Shakespeare plays have a lot of similarities when it comes to story structure. Whether it’s the use of the hero’s journey or has the structure of a tragedy, the two mesh together so well these adaptations basically wrote themselves.

But I also love how he expands upon the language of Shakespeare to give his work its own quirks. Yoda speaks in haiku, Boba Fett speaks in prose, and the Ewoks’ language is a mix of words and gibberish with a specific rhythm pattern. It’s so cool. He also includes famous lines from Shakespeare but with a twist, such as “Once more unto the trench, my friends!” and “[Exit, pursued by Wampa.]” I don’t think if I’ve ever had so much fun listening to Shakespeare before.

Unfortunately, only the first three (Episodes IV-VI) have been adapted into audiobooks. (Come on, Disney and Quirk Books!) Ian Doescher has written adaptations for the other Star Wars movies, including The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. I suppose you’ll just have to gather your friends for a dramatic reading of those titles instead.

I’ll be honest, I was a bit skeptical that these books could really do justice to Shakespeare and Star Wars, but they do. If anything, they make for a good laugh and an enjoyable audiobook experience. Highly recommended for anybody who enjoys Star Wars and Shakespeare.

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~I checked out an audiobook copy of William Shakespeare’s Star Wars Collection by Ian Doescher from my local library and chose to write this review of my own free will. All opinions are my own.~

7 thoughts on “Audiobook Review: William Shakespeare’s Star Wars by Ian Doescher

  1. Pingback: Audiobook Review: William Shakespeare’s Star Wars by Ian Doescher — Books and Waffles – Bon Bon Lifestyle Webazine

  2. What a delightful and droll review! I confess I’ve read a few Star Wars novels and then gone back to listen to the audiobooks because Marc Thompson is clearly having fun getting into these roles.

    “Shakespeare should be heard, not read.” May I agree to disagree? I’ve had the privilege to watch some Shakespearean plays and it mattered to me how well the actors were able to use their words; a tone or mannerism could sell or smash a line. But SW Shakespeare is so good for the reasons you said, how different characters speak in different forms.

    I wish, I wish so hard that people could put on plays of “Star Wars Shakespeare”. I know there’s “Star Trek in the Park”, so Lucasfilm needs to put their stories on the stage too!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Book Review: William Shakespeare’s Get Thee… Back to the Future! by Ian Doescher – Books and Waffles

  4. Pingback: Book Review: William Shakespeare’s Get Thee… Back to the Future! by Ian Doescher | Keeper of the Wood Between Worlds

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