© 2024 KGOU
Photo of Lake Murray State Park showing Tucker Tower and the marina in the background
News and Music for Oklahoma
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

A Jedi Knight In Queen Elizabeth's Court

What if William Shakespeare had written Star Wars? Well now we know!

Ian Doescher, author of “William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope” pulls back curtain on the eternal question: what does a wookie sound like in Elizabethan English?

Book Excerpt: ‘William Shakespeare’s Star Wars’

By: Ian Doescher

BIGGS: Make haste, O Luke. Methinks they do approach

E’en faster than before. I shall not hold

Them back for long!

LUKE: —Now, R2, straight increase

The pow’r.

R2-D2 —Beep, whee.

BIGGS: —Make haste, Luke. O, alas!

[Darth Vader shoots. Explosion. Biggs dies.

LUKE: That ever I should see this day, O woe!

My childhood friend from Tatooine now slain

Protecting me from harm. Thou ow’dst a life— 285

Dear Biggs, sweet Biggs—and thou hast paid. And now

’Tis down to me: the boy turn’d warrior.

Be still, my errant heart, and seek the Force.

VADER: The leader now is mine.

R2-D2: —Meep, beep.

C-3PO: —Take care

Sweet R2-D2! Come thou back, I pray! 290

CHORUS: Luke’s ship comes closer to the little port

While Vader and his crew draw all too near.

Young Luke to his computer doth resort

Until he hears the voice speak in his ear.

Enter Ghost of Obi-Wan Kenobi.

GHOST: O use the Force, dear Luke. Let go and trust! 295

VADER: I sense the Force in this one here, almost

As if I did my younger self espy.

GHOST: I prithee, trust me, Luke. All shall be well.

LUKE: The hearing of these words is like a balm

Unto my soul. So shall I trust the Force 300

And not this fallible computer here.

[Luke turns off computer.

COMPUTER: What is this, Luke? Thy targeting machine

Hath been turn’d off. What can be wrong? Pray tell!

LUKE: Nay, all is well. Fear not, good friends.

R2-D:2 —Beep, squeak.

[Darth Vader shoots. R2-D2 is hit.

Ahh hoo!

LUKE: —Small R2-D2 hath been lost! 305

COMPUTER: The Death Star now has come within our range.

TARKIN: Commander, thou may’st fire when thou hast made

All goodly preparation thereunto.

VADER: Now face thy death, thou rebel.

PILOT: —Sir, take heed!

CHORUS: Now in a trice brave Han is on the scene! 310

The smuggler hath return’d on errand kind.

With sly approach he makes his way unseen

And slays th’Imperi’l pilots from behind.

[Enter Han Solo with Chewbacca, firing on

Darth Vader and Imperial Pilots. Explosion.

Imperial Pilots 1 and 2 die.

VADER: But how?—

[Darth Vader exits in confusion, his ship spinning

out of control.

HAN: —Thy path is clear, young Luke. Now do

Thy deed and let us all make way back home. 315

LUKE: I stretch my feelings out and use the Force,

And on the instant seems the porthole vast—

Not small or difficult to strike, but large.

The ship is arm’d, and now I take the chance—

The blast’s away, and with it all our hopes! 320

[Luke shoots and hits the target.

CHORUS: The laser hits its mark with certain aim,

And as the Death Star arms to strike the base

The chain reaction sets the orb aflame:

The Death Star hath exploded into space.

HAN: Thy timely blast hath hit the perfect mark— 325

One in a million was thy Force-fill’d shot!

GHOST: Remember me, O Luke, remember me,

And ever shall the Force remain with thee.


Excerpted from the book WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE'S STAR WARS. Copyright © 2013 by Ian Doescher. Reprinted with permission of Quirk Books.

Read More from William Shakespeare's Star Wars:


Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Illustration from "William Shakespeare's Star Wars." (Quirk Books)
Illustration from "William Shakespeare's Star Wars." (Quirk Books)

NPR's Here & Now
More News
Support nonprofit, public service journalism you trust. Give now.