"William Shakespeare's The Jedi Doth Return" by Ian Doescher; Quirk Books, Philadelphia (165 pages, $14.95)
William Shakespeare can now stop twirling in his grave. The charmed collaboration between the Bard of Avon and Ian Doescher of Portland, Oregon, has come to an entertaining end with the latest "Star Wars" parody, "The Jedi Doth Return."
Doescher's adaptations of Episodes IV, V and VI of the six-part saga have been a delight to read -- especially after sipping on a couple of bottles of wine that you may need here, since the monstrous Rancor sings his lines before attacking Luke Skywalker.
Here, Doescher adapts "The Return of the Jedi," the last episode of the series.
As in the film, "The Jedi Doth Return" starts with Darth Vader telling the errant commander, Moff Jerjerrod, that he's behind schedule in building the second Death Star.
"Cease to persuade, my grov;'ling Jerjerrod,
Long-winded Moffs have ever sniv'ling wits," growls the Lord of the Sith.
Then later Vader says, in a soliloquy, "It is the role I play, my destiny --
The grand performance for which I am made.
Come, author of the dark side of the Force,
Make me the servant of thy quill and write the tale wherein my son and I are seal'd, As one."
Since "Return" is full of non-speaking parts -- Jabba the Hutt, his space monkey pet, Salacious Crumb, droids like R2-D2 and of course an army of Ewoks, Doescher has a great deal of fun putting words in their mouth.
The Rancor warbles, "They shriek at my mystique,
My teeth they'll die beneath --
A feast made for a beast,
A treat that I may eat!" just before he crunches up a guard.
Wicket the Ewok prods Princess Leia with a spear while declaiming, "A buki buki, Luki, luki, Issa creecher, Nuki, nuki!"
Her tart response: "Desist at once, thou furry little imp!"
Doescher's afterword is worth reading for the decisions he made when writing his trilogy. Yoda speaks in haiku, Han and Leia in "rhyming quatrains" when with each other and Jabba's court jester, Salacious Crumb, complete with belled cap, comments in straight English.
It's up to R2-D2, one of the few to have been in all six "Star Wars" movies, to have the last word, in the flavor of Shakespeare's "Tempest."
"Even thus, our tale is finish'd.
Pardon if your hope's diminish'd --
If you did not find the sequel
Satisfying. If unequal
Our keen play is unto others,
Do not part in anger, brothers."
And for the future?
"Ears, attend: I know surprises,
Visions of all shapes and sizes.
In some other times and places,
It may be Rebellion faces
Certain dangers that may sever
Our strong bonds that held us ever.
Mayhap something compromising,
Even like an Empire Rising.
Thus present I our conclusion:
Hint of Fate, or Fool's illusion?"