NYCC 2015: Ian Doescher Shakespearizes Star Wars

Exuent, pursued by a wampa.

Mark Lee and I hit New York Comic Con this weekend, and it was a hell of a thing. There were kids waiting to get their My Little Pony posters signed, adults in Deadpool outfits exchanging self-aware one-liners, and thousands of teenagers dressed as anime characters I could not hope to identify. All the flavors of geekdom were stacked on top of each other in a massive ice cream sundae. The first time I went to Comic Con, I was blown away by the level of love on display and it is still an inspiration. You can be cynical about the whole thing if you want, but it’s hard to stay cynical when you see total strangers staging superheroic tableaus with other total strangers so that yet more total strangers can take their picture.

But Mark and I were not there as fanboys. We were there to work, and we had a mic flag with our logo to prove it. We’ve got a whole week of videos for you, starting with this interview with Ian Doescher. If he had only adapted A New Hope into a Shakespearean play, dayenu. If he had only done the whole original trilogy, dayenu. But this guy had taken the Prequels and elevated them to high art (or at least something that kinda sounds like high art).

We didn’t touch on it in the interview, but I’m a big fan of how he treats Jar-Jar Binks. Before he introduces himself to the Jedi, he addresses himself to the audience and declares his intention to play the fool.

I shall make introduction in my way, portray the part that I have learned so well. It doth befit the human prejudice to think we Gungans simple, low and rude. I shall approach him thusly. It shall bend him to the path that shall assist us all. Put on thy simple wits now, Jar Jar Binks; thus play the role of clown to stoke his pride.

People never seem to run out of ways to reimagine Star Wars. That’s one of the thing that makes it such an enduring brand… but more on that later in the week.

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6 Comments on “NYCC 2015: Ian Doescher Shakespearizes Star Wars”

  1. Emil #

    I normally listen to audiobooks when I sleep. I tried that with Ian’s book and I had to give up. Ye olde language kept my brain so busy (not being native speaker it took extra toll) I couldn’t close my eyes.

    But it’s a great book. You can go easy route and throw some “…and zombies” or do real job, and Ian did.


  2. clayschuldt #

    I’ve read the original trilogy by Doescher and now I am hooked on Shakespeare variations of popular movies. I know there is Shakespeare version of Terminator 2 and a version of Big Lebowski. I am looking for more. Could we get a Shakespeare Star Trek or is that to crazy?


    • Matthew Belinkie OTI Staff #

      Two Gentlemen of Lebowski just delighted me to no end. My favorite speech:

      Nay! I do protest, and draw my sword;
      It shall teach thee to disobey my word.
      Mark none but none into that bowler’s frame,
      Else thou shalt enter into a world of pain.
      A world of pain, think upon’t; unhappy world!
      A lake of fire, rich with damnèd souls,
      Gulfs of anguish ‘twixt vales of agonies.
      Mark me; we stand at twisted, jealous gates
      Of cast-iron, above which, in vulgar tongue, reads
      “Here is a world of pain, thou enterest thus.”
      My steel before thee, ‘tis the last of keys
      That might could lock these doors, and keep thee
      From this world of pain, or with one flick
      Ope its mashing maw, and summon winds
      To cast thee down within; an excellent key!
      Farewell to earthly delights, farewell to friends,
      To fellowships and follies and amends.
      The choice to spare thy passage through these trials
      Is thine alone; take heed, I entreat thee,
      And turn thy back upon this world of pain!


    • Mark Lee OTI Staff #

      “Could we get a Shakespeare Star Trek or is that to crazy?”

      Not crazy at all. Remember Star Trek VI?

      If the entire movie were done in Shakespearean style, perhaps General Chang’s quotes would be from classic Roman or Greek texts?

      (By the way, I use every opportunity to remind folks that Christopher Plummer played both Captain Von Trapp and General Chang in his long and illustrious career, which I’m pretty sure makes him an Actor Who Works.)


      • clayschuldt #

        That’s what I was wondering about. I am big fan of Star Trek 6 and was not sure how they would handle it considering the film quotes it Shakespeare so much. The Roman or Greek texts could solve that problem.

        As a side not, the Guthrie Theatre in the Twin Cities did an all Klingon performance of “Hamlet” a few years back. You can see parts of the play on the Star Trek 6 Blu-ray.

        “Slings” and “Arrow” was changed to “phasers” and “proton torpedoes”.


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