'Still Star-Crossed' Recaps 'Romeo & Juliet' To Set Up A New Family Conflict

Manu Trillo/ABC

I knew that Still Star-Crossed was meant to be a sequel to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, but what I didn’t realize was how closely the show would run to its source material. The first half of the May 29 pilot episode of Still Star-Crossed basically recaps Romeo & Juliet, which is great for Shakespeare fans or people who didn't do the assigned reading in ninth grade English. If you want to catch up on one of the seminal works of the English language, Still Star-Crossed has you covered.

Things start off in Still Star-Crossed with the marriage of Romeo and Juliet, two children of the warring Montague and Capulet clans, respectively. The show skips over all of that "wherefore art thou Romeo" stuff, and goes right for the violent climax. Their wedded bliss is interrupted, of course, by a fight in which Romeo and Mercutio, two Montagues, encounter Tybalt, Juliet’s cousin and a Capulet. He's mad that Romeo attended a party he wasn't supposed to go to, or something. Romeo does not want to fight with Tybalt because they are now related by marriage, but no one really knows that. So Tybalt stabs Mercutio and he dies, and Romeo stabs Tybalt in a rage to avenge his cousin’s death. Tybalt, dies, too. The body count racks up quickly here.

In a twist from the play, the King of Verona has decreed that anyone who commits a murder shall be put automatically to death (this was to discourage the Capulets and Montagues from killing each other), and so Romeo is going to be executed. As in the original text, Juliet drinks the potion that makes her seem dead so she can avoid her marriage. Romeo doesn't get the message in time, so he kills himself. When Juliet wakes up, Romeo is dead. She kills herself so she won't have to live without him.

Manu Trillo/ABC

Now, all of Verona is in mourning. But at the end of the play, the Capulets and Montagues, united in grief, come to an agreement that they’ll put aside their differences because of their children. On Still Star-Crossed, the new Prince and Princess of Verona arrange a marriage between Rosaline Capulet and Benvolio Montague to end the feud. Neither wants to marry the other, plus Rosaline is in love with the prince.

So in the Still Star-Crossed version of the famous tale, the deaths of Romeo and Juliet are a jumping off point for more period family drama. Will the feud continue?