Star Wars is an undeniable part of the collective cultural consciousness. It’s probably shaped fiction and storytelling as much as Shakespeare. And, like Shakespeare, people keep adapting it and presenting it different ways. Here are some of the wildest ways the story of Star Wars has been told.
In 2015, The Star Wars Tribute Ballet premiered in the Fraunethal Center in the small city of Muskegon, Michigan. Choreographed and spearheaded by Sean France, a former featured dancer in the Royal Swedish Ballet, it took nine months to prepare, rehearse, and stage. The show features 40 performers (all ballet students of France), and is set to the original music from the Star Wars movies composed by John Williams. Characters include Princess Leia, Han Solo, and even Yoda, and audiences were encouraged to come to the show dressed as Star Wars characters to see the story of the space opera set “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away” told through dance.
Would Star Wars be as exciting without the remarkable visual effects? The producers of a Star Wars radio show sure hoped so. In 1981, KUSC-FM, a California National Public Radio affiliate, obtained the radio rights to the Star Wars trilogy from George Lucas at a cost of $1 per film. The broadcasts of the first three films aired in 1981, 1983, and 1986. They have quite the cast: Mark Hamill returned to play Luke Skywalker for the first two, while Anthony Daniels reprised his role of C-3PO in all three. Also in the cast: Ed Asner as Jabba the Hut, and John Lithgow as Yoda.
Since 2001, Canadian actor Charles Ross has toured the world with his solo performance piece, One Man Star Wars Trilogy. Somehow, he condensed all those movies with hundreds of characters into a 75-minute one-man work. Ross does all the liens of all the characters, re-creates sound effects with his mouth, sings parts of the famous score, and engages in lightsaber battles with himself. (Ross has since moved on from sci-fi to fantasy with his One Man Lord of the Rings.)