Star Wars has borrowed plenty from Japanese storytelling, and now Japanese storytelling is cashing George Lucas' decades-old checks with a Star Wars kabuki theater production. Officially titled Star Wars Kabuki: Ren and Three Lightsabers, the one-night performance is coming to Tokyo on November 28. It will reportedly adapt parts of all three films from the new trilogy, including Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
Japanese culture blog SoraNews24 translated the press release for the new show, including a quote from its star and supervisor, Ichikawa Ebizo XI: “Star Wars Kabuki will depict the love and loss felt by the Skywalker family over the past 40-plus years." Ebizo, who is one of the most prominent actors in the medium of kabuki theater, will play the role of Kylo Ren in the production. Rather than a full-on adaptation of the entire trilogy, it sounds like Star Wars Kabuki will focus on certain scenes that follow the struggles and internal conflict of Ren.
As much as I'd love to see Kylo Ren's redemption arc (it's coming, I swear it's coming) be completed on the kabuki stage, Disney probably won't allow room for spoilers beyond anything we've already seen in the trailers. The press release also mentions roles for Rey, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Lando Calrissian, so it won't just be a one-man production of Kylo Ren throwing temper tantrums in interpretive kabuki style. Unless there's a major breach in tradition, the role of Rey and any other women characters will be played by men.
Kabuki theater typically focuses on classical stories from Japanese history with wardrobes to match, so it will be cool to see how Ebizo and company interpret the sci-fi sets and costumes for. Maybe, if we're lucky, there will be a glowing red katana. That would be rad as heck.
Even if you can't make it to Tokyo on November 28, you can savor the subtle art of Black Friday game deals.