It’s been a while since I last visited William Shakespeare’s Star Wars. When I read the Dramatis Personae and the rathtars were described as “jolly monsters” it felt like coming home. (And that was even before they started singing.)
Diving into one of these is always an adventure on multiple levels. How will Doescher Shakeaspeareanize this movie? What nerdy Easter eggs will he hide in the text? Do the rathtars have good singing voices? (The answers are: 1. Pretty damn well. 2. So many nerdy Easter eggs! 3. In my head they sounded an awful lot like the Three Tenors. It was magical.)
This is one of those books you may want to read at least twice. Once for the hell of it, and once more to see if you can find all those Easter eggs that Doescher teases in his afterword. I had to flip back through it right away to decipher BB-8’s dialog, which I’d been skipping over because it is not easy on the eye:
Zzwaflit blee roohblic bleeflib zilf blikflii,
Blox flirzooz blis blox flitblic bloozood flir
Reej zoodreej blee reej flirblip zzwaflit flirr
Bluuflir zoonflii flew blavrooq bleeflit blis!
Doesn’t quite roll off the tongue like R2’s dialog, but when you realize what’s going on, it’s freaking brilliant.
Overall, this is a worthy addition to the series. It’s seriously Shakespearean Star Wars that doesn’t take itself seriously. It’s remarkably easy to picture the likes of Oscar Isaac and Adam Driver delivering these lines in classic theatrical fashion, but lest you forget it’s parody, there are the likes of the singing rathtars to remind you. I got a particularly good laugh out of the two Stormtroopers discussing the plot similarities to the original trilogy.
But I’ve gushed enough, and if I keep going I’ll start quoting entire scenes, so I’ll leave you with this bit of stage direction:
[Finn] salutes BB-8, who salutes in return using his droidly implements.