Reviewsday: The Empire Striketh Back

A guest post by writer, teacher, and speakerSue Schlesman. She blogs at and

s-l1000I just read The Empire Striketh Back, Star Wars Part the Fifth, and I loved it! Star Wars readeth well, my Padouin learners.

That’s right. You can read the seven original Star Wars stories retold in Shakespearean English. With flawless iambic pentameter, Ian Doescher rewrites George Lucas’s famous lines through sonnet and blank verse; complete with monologues, asides, and other literary techniques, these plays won’t disappoint. Even the chorus speaks its prologue and epilogue in fourteen-line rhyme schemes of ababcdcdefefgg. And there’s a touch of parody. Well, maybe more than a touch.

Shakespeare has galloped apace in space, and he’s completely delightful. I’m not sure whether Doescher’s ingenious combination sprang more from a love of Shakespeare or from a love of Star Wars. I imagine he has an obsession with both. Who doesn’t? His poetry is so clever, I can’t believe someone didn’t think of doing this earlier.

This series will be good practice for any Star Wars fanatic who’s impatiently awaiting the next movie release or any Shakespeare-lover who wants a lighter read.

I’d like to whet your appetite with a choice section from Act 5, Scene 3, Lines 133-147 from The Empire Striketh Back, Star Wars Part the Fifth:

VADER: [aside] The boy doth admirably keep his head,

But now I shall unleash the final blow.

[To Luke:] If thou but knewest all the power of

the dark side. Obi-Wan hath never told

thee of what happen’d to thy father, Luke.

LUKE:O, he hath spoken much. And he hath told

Me of the truth—that thou didst slay him, aye,

And without cause or mercy, murderer

Most vile and wretched!

VADER:–No, I am thy father.

LUKE:Nay, ‘tis not true! It is impossible!

VADER:Pray, search thy feelings, Luke. Thou knowest it

Is true.


VADER:–Luke, thou mayest the Emperor

destroy; he hath foreseen what thou wouldst do.

It is thy destiny, come join with me—

together we shall rule the galaxy

as son and father. Come now, Luke, is it

the only way; the dark side is thy path.

O join with me, and we shall be as one.

I hope you’ll pick up one of Doescher’s books so he can sweep you to a galaxy far, far away–one filled with cleverly-turned phrases and dramatic ironies.

But methinks I doth protest too much.


About writerhoss

I am a writer from southwestern Ohio, and a frequent speaker at churches, conferences, and retreats. My books include The Bard and the Bible (A Shakespeare Devotional).
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