See BB-8, Shakespeare-Style, on the Cover of The Force Doth Awaken – First Look!

The astromech goes Elizabethan in a fun, beautiful illustration.

Ian Doescher’s Star Wars and Shakespeare mashups have proven to be hits with classic literature and Star Wars fans alike — telling the stories of the Star Wars films in the Bard of Avon’s style, while staying true to both. As a series, it’s simultaneously weird, smart, and original, all qualities that ring true to the galaxy far, far away and the work of the world’s greatest playwright.

Each installment has also sported a beautifully illustrated cover, and has an exclusive first look at the image set to grace the next edition: William Shakespeare’s The Force Doth Awaken — Star Wars Part the Seventh, coming October 3, which features BB-8 in Elizabethan garb. (It’s an image we didn’t know we needed in our lives until we saw it.) In addition, caught up over e-mail with designer and art director Doogie Horner and illustrator Nicolas Delort to find out how the cover came to be. (Or not to be?)

A book called William Shakespeare's The Force Doth Awaken: Star Wars' Part The Seventh, written by Ian Doescher. On the cover is BB-8 dressed like William Shakespeare. BB-8 in the Shakespeare hat and cape. Brilliant. Please explain how that came to you.

Doogie Horner: Well, it was sort of a process of elimination. We considered Rey, but one distinctive thing about her is her outfit, which we’d lose when we dressed her in Elizabethan clothes. I just can’t picture her character in a fancy dress. I also considered Kylo Ren, but again, I just didn’t know how to make him look Shakespearean in an interesting way. BB-8 seemed like the right fit because he’s such a fun character, and this book is funny, too. Also, I like giving a supporting character star-billing like this. Does Star Wars design lend itself to this style of illustration? Or did it take some craft to make it fit?

Nicolas Delort: A lot of the designs in Star Wars already lean heavily towards fantasy, rather than science-fiction, so it’s just a matter of finding a way to add some comedic or tongue-in-cheek element to them. Imagining on-stage contraptions to replace the advanced technology is another fun part of the job. Your cover is really striking in both its detail and also a kind of sense of humor about itself. How did you approach the illustration?

Nicolas Delort: Out of all the covers in the series, I’d say it’s the one that leans more towards comedy. BB-8 is such an adorable character, giving him this Elizabethan attire just makes him look funny. 

Dan Brooks is Lucasfilm’s senior content writer and editor of the blog. He loves Star Wars, ELO, and the New York Rangers, Jets, and Yankees. Follow him on Twitter @dan_brooks where he rants about all these things.