It isn’t often that two forms of media that I love come together to create a beautiful adventure in the way that Star Wars and William Shakespeare have in The Merry Rise of Skywalker. So when given the opportunity to read Ian Doescher‘s ninth and final installment to his ongoing series, I knew I had to take it. The retelling gives us a new perspective of the events and underlying tones of The Rise of Skywalker through Shakespearean iambic pentameter. If you have any question if this mix of media would work so well, I promise you it is well worth the read.
The real charm behind The Merry Rise of Skywalker is how true it is to the source material and Shakespeare. Fans of Shakespeare who may not be fans of Star Wars will still find something to enjoy while reading. Doescher gives each character in the story their own sense of importance similar to characters created by Shakespeare. Everyone is given their moment to be the main man/woman on stage. It is also safe to remind readers that this is a Star Wars story. I never once felt like it wasn’t while reading. It features everything we would expect to find within the franchise and some epic easter eggs.
One thing that Doescher’s novel remedies from my viewing of the film is a closer look at character’s inner feelings. We can see this from the very beginning. Right off the bat in act one, we are introduced to one of my favorite monologues from Kylo Ren. The film itself begins in near silence except the sounds of fighting around him. Instead of just giving a quick description of the fighting, Doescher uses this silence to give us an opening worthy of Shakespeare’s work. This continues throughout the play, giving us more explanation into the inner workings of the characters’ minds. And while the words may never be heard on screen, I can’t imagine watching the scene now without hearing them in the back of my head.
The Merry Rise of Skywalker in one word is simply charming. It tackles the events of the film in a way that fans can enjoy without taking it out of its element. Aside from the writing and story, the art that went into the book helps strengthen it. The pages are graced with illustrations that mix both the styles. They look as if they belong on Shakespeare’s stage but are really scenes from The Rise of Skywalker.
Now, if you have questioned at all whether you should read this play, do it. Read this and the rest of his series. Take yourself on an adventure worthy of this galaxy and galaxies far far away.
The Merry Rise of Skywalker is available now online and in stores.
Originally published September 20, 2020.
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