Ian Doescher, the author of William Shakespeare’s Star Wars looks back on what might have been.
In the 1993 movie Dave (starring Kevin Kline), there’s a scene in which Dave Kovic, pretending to be President Bill Mitchell, tells the head of the Secret Service, Duane Stevenson (played by Ving Rhames), to try wearin g a sweater vest instead of his typical suit and tie. In the last scene of the movie, Stevenson steps in front of the camera to block the audience’s view of Dave kissing Ellen (played by Sigourney Weaver). In the shot, Stevenson is still wearing his suit and tie.
This bothers me more than it should. To tie the movie together perfectly, Stevenson should have been wearing a sweater vest. I wonder if director Ivan Reitman wishes he could go back to the set to fix the film’s end, putting Stevenson in that sweater vest after all. (Why not? George Lucas did it to Star Wars. Okay, bad example.)
1.) Chewbacca: Everybody’s favorite Wookiee gets short shrift in William Shakespeare’s Star Wars. He says “Auugh!” and “Egh” and that’s it. Since (spoiler alert!) I had already put R2-D2’s thoughts into English, I couldn’t use the same joke with Chewie. But he deserves more. He could have been like Caliban from Shakespeare’s The Tempest, in some ways cleverer than those around him. After all, it’s Chewie who is willing to play the part of prisoner on the Death Star while Han and Luke hide in their stormtrooper outfits, who keeps his head when C-3PO gets blasted to bits in the Cloud City, and who leads the rebels to the Ewoks (okay, he doesn’t get credit for that one). Apologies, Chewie.
2.) Songs: In William Shakespeare’s Star Wars,Leia sings a dirge after Alderaan is destroyed by the Death Star. The audiobook of William Shakespeare’s Star Wars has a lot of fun with this moment; after hearing it, I wish I’d included other songs. Shakespeare’s plays are filled with songs—particularly A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which is practically a musical. Would the Jawas have sung an Elizabethan drinking song to celebrate selling the droids? Might the rebels have sung a rousing Shakespearean chorus after the Death Star battle? Was Luke feeling the Renaissance blues after Owen and Beru died? We may never know.
3.) The Elizabethan stage: Since William Shakespeare’s Star Wars was published, I’ve received hundreds of requests for rights to perform the book on stage. This may sound ridiculous, but when I wrote the book I never thought about it being performed. Consequently, I didn’t think carefully about the staging. For instance, where is the balcony? (It’s the perfect place for Obi-Wan and Vader to duel, or for Tarkin to observe the Death Star battle.) What about a trap door, or curtains and arches? The possibilities are endless, but unfortunately I didn’t think about what Star Wars characters would do on a true Elizabethan stage.
Oh well. Our rebels now are ended: no regrets. I hope you enjoy William Shakespeare’s Star Wars as much as I enjoyed writing it, warts and all!