William Shakespeare’s The Empire Striketh Back Reveals Yoda-riffic Cover

By Nick Venable | 7 years ago

empire striketh back
Sometimes news of an upcoming sequel stabs steely knives into the deep, dark void between my stomach and my colon, also known as the Appreciation Center of my body. Thankfully, those near-fatal wounds are quickly smoothed over and patched up by announcements like this, through which only good news can exist. Last year’s excellent pop culture mash-up William Shakespeare’s Star Wars not only has a follow-up on the way, but the regal cover art has been released, introducing us to a collared Yoda and an official title: William Shakespeare’s The Empire Striketh Back. If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to jump up and down while squealing in iambic pentameter.

The Quirk Books publication, written by lyrical wizard Ian Doescher, is set to go on sale March 18, offering fans a brand-new, heavily borrowed adventure from George Lucas’ Star Wars universe, as filtered through the Bard. This is the St. Patrick’s Day gift that you didn’t know was capable of existing.

Literary mash-ups became all the rage following Seth Grahame-Smith’s bestseller Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, but few authors have crossed mediums like this, and even fewer have succeeded with such masterful detail. It’s hard enough writing something that sounds Shakespearean without worrying about rhythms and meters, and Doescher not only excels on the technical front, but he somehow re-imagines all of major scenes in Star Wars through conversations and soliloquies. Sure, there aren’t any major battle scenes, but who needs that when there’s a Death Star-sized ball of wit involved? Plus, R2-D2’s inner thoughts finally make themselves known.

The Empire Strikes Back is pretty much just one memorable scene after the other, and I cannot wait to see how Doescher has reinterpreted everything. We’ve got Luke’s brief hibernation inside of a dead tauntaun, the Yoda an introduction of, and the reveal of Darth Vader’s true nature, to name but a few. I certainly hope Boba Fett gets a fair amount of attention here, even if it’s just to talk about how little attention he received in the film proper.

What’s more, fans won’t have to wait very long at all for the third book of the series, William Shakespeare’s The Jedi Doth Return, which will hit bookstores on July 1. That’s pretty incredible, and the only thing that could possibly taint the good news is if Doescher announced he would wait 16 years and then adapt The Phantom Menace in the style of One Direction songs. I’d rather give the Emperor a sponge bath.

Below you can find a video of Doescher himself giving a reading from the original book with Timothy Zahn at 2013’s Wordstock.