Interview With Ian Doescher, author of The Jedi Doth Return

Interview With Ian Doescher, author of The Jedi Doth ReturnWilliam Shakespeare's Return of the Jedi by Ian Doescher
Also by this author: William Shakespeare's The Phantom of Menace
Published by Quirk Books on 2014-07-01
Genres: Fiction, Media Tie-In, Science Fiction
Pages: 176

Hot on the heels of the New York Times best seller William Shakespeare's Star Wars comes the next two installments of the original trilogy: William Shakespeare's The Empire Striketh Back and William Shakespeare's The Jed Doth Return. Return to the star-crossed galaxy far, far away as the brooding young hero, a power-mad emperor, and their jesting droids match wits, struggle for power, and soliloquize in elegant and impeccable iambic pentameter. Illustrated with beautiful black-and-white Elizabethan-style artwork, these two plays offer essential reading for all ages. Something Wookiee this way comes!

Hello all, I would like to welcome Ian Doescher here today! Ian is author of the William Shakespeare’s Star Wars trilogy published by Quirk Books. He is totally awesome and has graciously taken the time to answer a few burning questions that we had here at Good Books And Good Wine.

1. I love the combination of Shakespeare and Star Wars. What made you decide that the saga of Star Wars needed to be told Shakespearean style?

When I first had the idea, it just made a lot of sense: the Star Wars trilogy is full of the same themes that you find in Shakespeare’s plays: larger-than-life tragic characters like Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi, young people fulfilling their destinies, complicated father-son relationships, stories of huge armies at war with each other, comic side characters, all of it.  I really believe that if Shakespeare were alive today he would be writing things like Star Wars.  Beyond that, there were just some details that seemed to fit well: Star Wars is about the same length as a Shakespearean play, in terms of performance time, there were often prologues to Shakespearean plays similar to the opening crawl of a Star Wars movie, things like that.  At least in my mind, the mixture made sense.

2. Clearly you have been blessed by the cover gods when it comes to this series. Did you have any input on the covers? If so, what was the process like? 

Nicolas Delort—the illustrator of the William Shakespeare Star Wars trilogy—has become a personal hero of mine for his ability to take the two worlds and visually combine them so well.  Quirk Books found Nicolas for the first book, and showed me the cover once it had been sketched out and approved by Lucasfilm.  At that point, I wasn’t about to say no to it, but why would I?  For The Empire Striketh Back and The Jedi Doth Return I had input into the covers—mostly giving my input about who would appear on the covers, this time before Lucasfilm’s approval was sought—and again I was surprised and impressed by Nicolas’ work.

3. What is your favorite Shakespearean play?

I always feel a little unoriginal answering this question, because the answer is Hamlet.  It’s just the play I know the best, and there’s so much richness and depth to it.  But it wins by a thin margin—right behind it are The Tempest, Othello (I always wanted to play Iago), Much Ado About Nothing, and Henry V.

4. Are we going to see Jar Jar Binks get a Shakespearean counterpart? 😉 (Kidding!) But really, who is your favorite character from Star Wars?

I’ve heard two suggestions about Jar Jar that I really like, were I ever to write a Shakespearean version of the prequels—first, that you could take artistic license and kill him off in the first scene (!), and second, that you could just make him the wisest character of any of them in the plays, basically give his character a complete turn-around from what he is in the movie.  But, to your real question… my favorite character from Star Wars was always Han Solo.  It was the era when Harrison Ford was both Han Solo and Indiana Jones, and as a little boy who wouldn’t want to have all of that swagger?  In reality, my personality is much more C-3PO than Han Solo, but Han was always it for me.

5. Have you ever watched all of the trilogy in one day? 

Umm, the question isn’t really whether I’ve ever done that, but how many times!  (Answer: probably four or five.)  The most recent time I did it (April 2012) was just before I read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (June 2012) and went to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (July 2012), all of which culminated in me having the idea for a little book called William Shakespeare’s Star Wars.  So I highly recommend watching the whole trilogy in a day—you never know what might happen!  (When my friends and I watched the trilogy together a couple years ago, we peppered in bits of Robot Chicken Star Wars between the movies, which I also recommend doing.)

6. What books are currently on your nightstand?

I tend to read a lot of things at once, so you may get a longer answer than you asked for!  Right now, I’m in the middle of six books: (1) A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin—I’m trying to read the whole Game of Thrones series before I let myself watch the HBO show, (2) The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Other Tales of Terror by Robert Louis Stevenson, because I’ve never read the original, (3) Carrie by Stephen King: King is my guilty pleasure when it comes to fiction—he’s just so much fun—and I’m working on reading through everything he’s written (if I live that long), (4) At the Hands of Persons Unknown: The Lynching of Black America by Philip Dray, an academic book about the history of lynching in the United States (I did my Ph.D. dissertation on racial justice issues, so this is an area I’m always learning about), (5) The Dream: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Speech that Inspired a Nation by Drew D. Hansen, for the same reason as #4, and (6) the Bible—I read through it every year, mostly out of habit than anything else.  I’m not what you’d call a super devout person, but I find comfort and familiarity in the Judeo-Christian story.

Thanks so much for dropping by!

But wait, there’s more!

Thanks to Quirk Books we are able to give away a complete set of the trilogy PLUS posters! To be honest, I really want this prize pack myself. Those are awesome book covers that deserve to be posters.

The trilogy contains:

Verily, A New Hope
The Empire Striketh Back
The Jedi Doth Return

US Only, use the rafflecopter, 13 or Older and I totally won’t sell your information. The publisher will send you the books directly.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. Okay, so I think I have to go with R2D2 as my favorite character. Or Han Solo. I love them both in very different ways, okay.

    Also, I’m going to see a Shakespeare play (Antony and Cleopatra) this week, so the timing is very fitting.

  2. Awesome answers!

    The only problem with reading Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is that the big reveal doesn’t tend to be a big reveal… unless you know absolutely nothing about the story. I still enjoyed it, however!

  3. C3PO, he’s always trying to be the voice of reason whether anyone listens or not.

  4. I have to agree with Mr. Doescher, Han Solo has been one of my all time favorite characters since I was a kid and he was my first (non-animated) fictional crush!

    When I first saw that someone put together Shakespeare and Star Wars I was like “what?!” but then I read a few pages and was busting up laughing! It was awesome! I just saw The Merchant of Venice performed a couple nights ago and am a in a total Shakespeare mood

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  5. What a great Q&A! Thanks for putting this series on my radar.

  6. My favorite Star Wars character is R2D2. My husband adored these books. As a big Star Wars geek and HS English teacher they are relevant to his interests. We already have a wall in our house dedicated to Star Wars art, so the posters would fit nicely there!

  7. My favorite is Darth Vader. His character has a lot of depth and a very interesting story. He’s not the nicest guy but there’s more to him than meets the eye.

  8. Nathan Gentry says


  9. Han Solo baby!

  10. One favorite is kind of hard to pick. I liked Obi Wan for being the wise teacher, same for Yoda. Boba Fett has always been a favorite as well.

    Best, and keep on blogging.

  11. I think my favorite is Han or Leia…Can I pick my favorite couple? 🙂

  12. Becky VanGinkel says

    My favorite Star Wars character is definitely Yoda!! I even have Yoda slippers… it would be awesome to be so wise and to be able to go through life wearing a bathrobe 🙂

  13. Han Solo

  14. Well, if I really had to choose I would probably say that my favorite character is Yoda. He’s just such a kind and wise teacher and a really interesting character. But I also really like Luke, Obi Wan and Anakin/Darth Vader!

  15. bill norris says

    Yoda ….he was the best part of episodes 1-3

  16. I’ve always loved Han Solo! It’s always entertaining to watch a scoundrel 🙂

  17. Yoda

  18. R2-D2


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