Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

 

Theatrical poster
Directed by Richard Marquand
Produced by Howard Kazanjian
George Lucas (executive)
Rick McCallum
(Special Edition)
Screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan
George Lucas
Story by George Lucas
Starring Mark Hamill
Harrison Ford
Carrie Fisher
Billy Dee Williams
Anthony Daniels
Kenny Baker
Peter Mayhew
David Prowse
Ian McDiarmid
Music by John Williams
Cinematography Alan Hume, BSC
Editing by Sean Barton
Duwayne Dunham
Marcia Lucas
Studio Lucasfilm
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date(s) May 25, 1983 (1983-05-25)
Running time 131 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $32.5 million
Gross revenue $475,106,177

Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (also known as Return of the Jedi) is a 1983 American epic space opera film directed by Richard Marquand and written by George Lucas and Lawrence Kasdan. It is the third film released in the Star Wars saga, and the sixth in terms of the series’ internal chronology. It is the first film to use THX technology.

The film is set approximately one year after Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.[1] The evil Galactic Empire, with the help of the villainous Darth Vader, is building a second Death Star in order to crush the Rebel Alliance. Since Emperor Palpatine plans to personally oversee the final stages of its construction, the Rebel Fleet launches a full-scale attack on the Death Star in order to prevent its completion and kill Palpatine, effectively bringing an end to the Empire. Meanwhile, Luke Skywalker, a Rebel leader and Jedi Knight, struggles to bring his father, Darth Vader, himself a fallen Jedi, back from the Dark Side of the mystical Force.

The film was released in theaters on May 25, 1983, receiving mostly positive reviews. The film grossed over $475 million worldwide. Several home video and theatrical releases and revisions to the film followed over the next 20 years. It was the last Star Wars film released theatrically until Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace began the prequel trilogy in 1999.

Contents

Plot

Luke Skywalker, having fashioned himself as a Jedi Knight, initiates a plan to rescue the frozen Han Solo from the crime lord Jabba the Hutt with the help of Princess Leia, Lando Calrissian, Chewbacca, C-3PO, and R2-D2. Leia infiltrates Jabba’s palace on Tatooine disguised as a bounty hunter and releases Han from his carbonite prison, but is caught and forced to serve as Jabba’s slave. Luke arrives a week later and allows himself to be captured, after surviving an attempted feeding to the Rancor. Jabba sentences Luke and Han to be fed to the monstrous Sarlacc. As he is about to be put to death, Luke breaks free, receives his newly-constructed lightsaber from R2-D2, and a large battle erupts; in the ensuing chaos, Leia strangles Jabba to death with her slave chains, Han inadvertently knocks Boba Fett, the bounty hunter who captured him, into the gaping maw of the Sarlacc, and Luke, escaping with his allies, destroys Jabba’s sail barge. As Han and Leia rendezvous with the other Rebels, Luke returns to Dagobah where he finds that Yoda is dying. With his last breaths, Yoda confirms that the evil Darth Vader is Luke’s father, that Luke must confront him again to become a true Jedi Knight and mentions “another Skywalker”. The spirit of Obi-Wan Kenobi reveals that Darth Vader was once Anakin Skywalker and that the “other Skywalker” Yoda spoke of is Luke’s twin sister. Luke then realizes that Leia is his sister, and this is confirmed by Obi-Wan who congratulates Luke for his intuition while warning Luke to hide this realisation from his conscious mind as these thoughts may be read by his enemies.

The Rebel Alliance learn that the Empire has been constructing a new Death Star, larger and more powerful than the first. In a plan to destroy the new weapon, Han is elected to lead a strike team to destroy the battle station’s shield generator on the forest moon of Endor, allowing a squadron of starfighters to enter the incomplete superstructure and destroy the station from within. Returning from Dagobah, Luke joins the strike team along with Leia and the others. The strike team uses a captured Imperial shuttle to get to Endor (as the moon is referred to), so that the Imperial ships they pass will think they are one of them. However, Darth Vader senses Luke’s presence on the shuttle and knows they are Rebels, but lets them through anyway so that they will be ambushed by the Imperial forces expecting them and lying in wait on Endor. Luke, sensing Darth Vader’s presence, fears he may be endangering the mission by his presence.

On Endor, Luke and his companions encounter a primitive yet intelligent tribe of Ewoks (who mistake C-3PO for a god, so that when Luke uses the force to make C-3PO levitate, the Ewoks free Luke, Han, Chewbacca and R2D2) and form an alliance with them. Later, Luke confesses to Leia that Vader is their father, that she is his sister, and that he is leaving to confront Vader one more time, believing that there is still good in him. Leia tells Luke that she has somehow always sensed and known that he was her brother. Luke surrenders to Imperial troops, so that they will bring him to Vader. He then tries to convince Vader to turn from the dark side, but Vader says it is too late for him, and so he takes Luke to the Death Star to meet the evil Emperor Palpatine.

Palpatine reveals to Luke that his allies on Endor, as well as Lando’s flight team trying to penetrate the Death Star, are both walking into traps. Back on Endor, the Rebels are captured by Imperial forces, but a surprise counterattack by the Ewoks allows the Rebels to fight back. During the strike team’s assault, Lando leads the Rebel fleet in the Millennium Falcon to the Death Star, only to find the station’s shield is still up, and the Imperial Fleet waiting for them. As fighting between the fleets ensue, Palpatine tempts Luke to give in to his anger and join the dark side of the Force. A lightsaber duel between Luke and Vader erupts, during which Vader throws his lightsaber at Luke, who is on a higher platform, and causes the platform to collapse. It is during his search for Luke, that Vader probes Luke’s mind and learns that Luke has a sister. When Vader suggests she would turn to the dark side instead, Luke responds with an impassioned attack, slicing off his hand. However, realizing that his attack is acquiring a dark character unbecoming his status as a Jedi Knight he breaks off his attack and, despite Palpatine’s goading, spares his father and declares himself to be a Jedi. Enraged, Palpatine begins to slowly kill Luke with Force lightning. Unable to bear the sight of his son’s torture any longer, Anakin resurfaces and comes to Luke’s assistance. He grasps Palpatine and casts him down a reactor shaft to his death, but is mortally wounded by Palpatine’s lightning. At his request, Luke removes Anakin’s mask to look into the eyes of the pale, scarred man that is his father. Despite Luke’s promise that he will save his father, Anakin declines, saying that Luke already has. Having seen his son with his own eyes for the first and last time, Anakin Skywalker dies, finally at peace.

The redeemed Anakin Skywalker, portrayed by Sebastian Shaw.

Meanwhile, on Endor, the strike team, with the help of the Ewoks, defeats the Imperial forces (after a long battle during which many Ewoks and Stormtroopers are killed) and finally destroys the shield generator, allowing the Rebel fleet to launch a final assault on the Death Star. Lando leads the remaining ships deep into the station’s core and fires at the main reactor, causing it to collapse, which slowly engulfs the Death Star in exploding flames. Luke escapes on an Imperial shuttle with his father’s body before the Death Star explodes, and Lando escapes in the Millennium Falcon. On Endor, Han begins to think that Leia is in love with Luke rather than him. However, Leia tells him that Luke is her brother, relieving Han, and they share a kiss. That evening, Luke returns to Endor and cremates his father’s body and armor on a funeral pyre. The entire galaxy celebrates the fall of the Empire. During the Rebels’ own celebration on Endor, Luke catches sight of the spiritual figures of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda, and his redeemed father, Anakin Skywalker, who watch over them with pride.

Cast

  • Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker: In the year since his encounter with Darth Vader in Cloud City, Luke has been training further as a Jedi. He has yet to return to Yoda on Dagobah, still in the process of rescuing Han Solo.
  • Harrison Ford as Han Solo: Frozen in carbonite by Darth Vader in Cloud City, and taken to Jabba the Hutt, Han is freed by Princess Leia, only to be sentenced to death by Jabba the Hutt. He escapes with the group after Luke arrives at Jabba’s palace.
  • Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia Organa: A former princess from Alderaan, Leia has been aiding Luke in his search for Han. It is later revealed that she is actually Luke’s twin sister.
  • Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian: After Cloud City was taken over by the Galactic Empire, Lando joined the Rebel Alliance, and aided Luke in his search for Han Solo.
  • Anthony Daniels as C-3PO: Luke Skywalker’s protocol droid, Threepio is instrumental in establishing friendly relations between the Rebels and the Ewoks on Endor, who mistakenly believe him to be a god.
  • Kenny Baker as R2-D2: Luke Skywalker’s astromech droid.
  • Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca: Han Solo’s Wookiee co-pilot and close friend.
  • David Prowse as Darth Vader: Vader has been relentlessly continuing his search for Luke, but he is set off course when the Emperor sends him to Endor to oversee the construction of the new Death Star and to prepare for the Rebel strike. James Earl Jones provided the voice of Vader.
  • Ian McDiarmid as Emperor Palpatine/Darth Sidious: Simply known as “The Emperor”, Palpatine is the supreme ruler of the Galactic Empire and the Dark Lord of the Sith, Darth Sidious, and has been pleased by the success of the Imperial offensive, and the plight of the Rebel Alliance. He now plans to destroy the Alliance with the new Death Star and turn Luke Skywalker to the dark side of the Force.
  • Sebastian Shaw as Anakin Skywalker: Luke’s father, Anakin, was a Jedi Knight before being seduced by the dark side of the Force and becoming Darth Vader. Shaw was partly replaced by Hayden Christensen in the 2004 DVD release of the film.
  • Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan “Ben” Kenobi: Struck down by Vader on the first Death Star four years earlier, Obi-Wan continues to offer guidance to Luke as a Jedi spirit.
  • Frank Oz performing Yoda. After 900 years of training Jedi, Yoda finally prepares to resign his soul and becomes one with the Force.
  • Denis Lawson as Wedge Antilles: Wedge is now the leader of Rogue Squadron, and he prepares to aid (now General) Lando Calrissian in the fighter attack on the Death Star. This is the only film in the original trilogy in which Lawson’s name is spelled correctly in the ending credits. In the other films, his name is misspelled “Dennis”.
  • Kenneth Colley as Admiral Piett: Piett, one of the few officers under Vader’s command to survive his wrath, commands the Imperial Fleet at Endor from the Executor. He dies when a damaged Rebel A-Wing crashes into the Executor’s bridge, causing her to collapse into the Death Star and explode.
  • Warwick Davis as Wicket: An Ewok who leads Leia and eventually her friends to the Ewok tribe.
  • Jeremy Bulloch as Boba Fett: A bounty hunter who, after capturing and delivering Han Solo to Jabba the Hutt, stays on at the crime lord’s palace and engages in the battle above the Sarlacc. As Boba Fett is about to kill Luke Skywalker, Han Solo accidentally activates Fett’s jetpack, which goes haywire and sends Fett into the mouth of the Sarlacc.

Kenny Baker was originally cast as the Ewok Wicket, but was replaced by 11-year-old Warwick Davis after falling ill with food poisoning on the morning of the shoot. Davis had no previous acting experience and was cast only after his grandmother had discovered an open call for dwarfs for the new Star Wars film.[2]

Production

Development

With The Empire Strikes Back, George Lucas fought and won his battle for independence from Hollywood; as with the previous film, Lucas personally funded Return of the Jedi.[2] Having quit the Directors Guild of America during post-production of The Empire Strikes Back, it was no longer possible for Lucas to hire his long-time friend Steven Spielberg as director.[2][3] David Lynch, with a Best Director nomination for the 1980 film The Elephant Man, was approached by Lucas to helm Return of the Jedi, but he declined as he believed the film would be more Lucas’s vision than his own.[citation needed] David Lynch instead directed Dune.[4] David Cronenberg was also offered the chance to direct the film, but he declined the offer to make Videodrome and The Dead Zone instead.[5] Lucas eventually chose Welsh director Richard Marquand. Some reports have suggested that Lucas was so heavily involved in the shooting of Return of the Jedi that he could be considered a second or a co-director. It is likely that he directed much of the second unit work personally as the shooting threatened to go over schedule; this is a function Lucas had willingly performed on previous occasions when he had only officially been producing a film (e.g. Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Empire Strikes Back, More American Graffiti).[6] Lucas himself has admitted to being on the set frequently due to Marquand’s relative inexperience with special effects.[2] Although the working relationship between Lucas and Marquand was said[who?] to be bad, Lucas has insisted that the opposite was true and praised Marquand for being a “very nice person who worked well with actors”.[7] Marquand did note that Lucas kept a conspicuous presence on set, joking, “It is rather like trying to direct King Lear—with Shakespeare in the next room!”[8]

The screenplay was written by Lawrence Kasdan and Lucas (with uncredited contributions by David Peoples and Marquand), based on Lucas’ story. Kasdan claims he told Lucas that Return of the Jedi was “a weak title”, and Lucas later decided to name the film Revenge of the Jedi.[2] Unusually, the screenplay itself was not created until rather late in pre-production, well after a production schedule and budget had been created by Kazanjian and Marquand had been hired. Instead, the production team relied on Lucas’s story and rough draft in order to commence work with the art department. When it came time to formally write a shooting script, Lucas, Kasdan, Marquand, and Kazanjian spent two weeks in conference discussing ideas; Kasdan used tape transcripts of these meetings to then construct the script.[9] The issue of whether Harrison Ford would return for the final film arose during pre-production. Unlike the other stars of the first film Ford had not contracted to do two sequels, and since the second film Raiders of the Lost Ark had made him an even bigger star. Ford suggested that Han Solo be killed through self-sacrifice. Kasdan concurred, saying it should happen near the beginning of the film to instill doubt as to whether the others would survive, but Lucas was vehemently against it and rejected the concept.[2] Yoda was originally not meant to appear in the film but Marquand strongly felt that returning to Dagobah was essential to resolve the dilemma raised by the previous film.[9] The inclusion led Lucas to insert a scene in which Yoda confirms that Darth Vader is Luke’s father because, after a discussion with a children’s psychologist, he did not want younger moviegoers to dismiss Vader’s claim as a lie.[7] Many ideas from the original script were left out or changed. For instance, the Ewoks were going to be Wookiees,[10] the Millennium Falcon would be used in the arrival at the Forest moon of Endor instead of the Death Star attack, and Obi-Wan Kenobi would return to life from his existence in the Force.[11]

Gary Kurtz, who worked with George Lucas on The Empire Strikes Back, revealed in 2010 that the ongoing success with Star Wars merchandise and toys led George Lucas to reconsider Lucas’ idea to kill off the character of Han Solo during action on Endor. Luke Skywalker was also to have walked off alone and exhausted like the hero in a Spaghetti Western but these ideas were dropped and replaced with a happier ending by Lucas to encourage higher merchandise sales.[12]

Filming

The heavy forest of Redwood National Park was used to film the forests of Endor in Return of the Jedi.

Filming began on January 11, 1982 and lasted through May 20, 1982, a schedule six weeks shorter than The Empire Strikes Back. Kazanjian’s schedule pushed shooting as early as possible in order to give Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) as much time as possible to work on effects, and left some crew members dubious of their ability to be fully prepared for the shoot.[13] Working on a budget of $32,500,000,[14] Lucas was determined to keep the budget from skyrocketing the way it had done on The Empire Strikes Back. Producer Howard Kazanjian estimated that using ILM (owned wholly by Lucasfilm) for special effects saved the production approximately $18,000,000.[14] However, the fact that Lucasfilm was a non-union company made acquiring shooting locations more difficult and more expensive, even though Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back had been big hits.[2] The project was given the working title Blue Harvest with a tagline of “Horror Beyond Imagination.” This disguised what the production crew was really filming from fans and the prying eyes of the press and also prevented price gouging by service providers.[2]

The first stage of production started with 78 days at Elstree Studios in England,[13] where the film occupied all nine stages. The shoot commenced with a scene later deleted from the finished film where the heroes get caught in a sandstorm as they leave Tatooine.[8] (This was the only major sequence cut from the film during editing.)[9] While attempting to film Luke Skywalker’s battle with the rancor beast, Lucas insisted on trying to create the scene in the same style as Toho‘s Godzilla films by using a stunt performer inside a suit. The production team made several attempts, but were unable to create an adequate result. Lucas eventually relented and decided to film the rancor as a high-speed puppet.[2] In April, the crew moved to the Yuma Desert in Arizona for two weeks of Tatooine exteriors.[8] Production then moved to the redwood forests of northern California near Crescent City where two weeks were spent shooting the Endor forest exteriors, and then concluded at ILM in San Rafael, California for about ten days of bluescreen shots. One of two “skeletal” post-production units shooting background matte plates spent a day in Death Valley.[13] The other was a special Steadicam unit shooting forest backgrounds from June 15–17, 1982 for the speeder chase near the middle of the film.[15] Steadicam inventor Garrett Brown personally operated these shots as he walked through a disguised path inside the forest shooting at one frame per second. By walking at about 5 mph (8 km/h) and projecting the footage at 24 frame/s, the motion seen in the film appears as if it were moving at around 100 mph (160 km/h).[2]

Music

John Williams composed and conducted the film’s musical score with performances by the London Symphony Orchestra. Orchestration credits also include Thomas Newman. The initial release of the film’s soundtrack was on the RSO Records label in the United States. Sony Classical Records acquired the rights to the classic trilogy scores in 2004 after gaining the rights to release the second trilogy soundtracks (The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones). In the same year, Sony Classical re-pressed the 1997 RCA Victor release of Return of the Jedi along with the other two films in the trilogy. The set was released with the new artwork mirroring the first DVD release of the film. Despite the Sony digital re-mastering, which minimally improved the sound heard only on high-end stereos, this 2004 release is essentially the same as the 1997 RCA Victor release.[16]

Post-production

The infamous teaser poster titled Revenge of the Jedi by Drew Struzan

Meanwhile, special effects work at ILM quickly stretched the company to its operational limits. While the R&D work and experience gained from the previous two films in the trilogy allowed for increased efficiency, this was offset by the desire to have the closing film raise the bar set by each of these films.[14] A compounding factor was the intention of several departments of ILM to either take on other film work or decrease staff during slow cycles. Instead, as soon as production began, the entire company found it necessary to remain running 20 hours a day on six day weeks in order to meet their goals by April 1, 1983. Of about 900 special effects shots,[13] all VistaVision optical effects remained in-house, since ILM was the only company capable of using the format, while about 400 4-perf opticals were subcontracted to outside effects houses.[17] Progress on the opticals was severely retarded for a time due to ILM rejecting about 100,000 feet (30,000 m) of film when the film perforations failed image registration and steadiness tests.[13]

The original teaser trailer for the film carried the name Revenge of the Jedi,[18] and a teaser poster created by Drew Struzan containing this title has since become a rare collector’s item. Of note are the lightsaber colors on the teaser poster: Luke is seen wielding a red lightsaber while Vader wields a blue one.[19] However, a few weeks before the film’s premiere, Lucas changed the title, saying “revenge” could not be used, as it is not a Jedi concept.[2] The 2005 prequel trilogy film Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith later alluded to the dismissed title of Revenge of the Jedi.[20]

Releases

Return of the Jedi’s theatrical release took place on May 25, 1983. It was originally slated to be May 27, but was subsequently changed to coincide with the date of the 1977 release of Star Wars: A New Hope.[14] With a massive worldwide marketing campaign, illustrator Tim Reamer created the iconic and distinctive image for the movie poster and other advertising. At the time of its release, the film was advertised on posters and merchandise as simply Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, despite its on-screen “Episode VI” distinction. The original film was later re-released to theaters in 1985.

In 1997, for the 20th Anniversary of the release of Star Wars (retitled Star Wars: A New Hope), Lucas released The Star Wars Trilogy: Special Edition. Along with the two other films in the original trilogy, Return of the Jedi was re-released on March 14, 1997 with a number of changes and additions, which included the insertion of several alien band members in Jabba’s throne room, the replacement of music at the closing scene, and a montage of different alien worlds celebrating the fall of the Empire.[21] According to Lucas, Return of the Jedi required fewer changes than the previous two films because it is more emotionally driven than the others.[7] The changes have caused controversy among the fans as some believe that they detract from the films.[22]

Reception

Although a critical and commercial hit, grossing more than $475 million worldwide,[23] Return of the Jedi has, in the decades that followed, been considered by many critics and fans to be a slightly lesser achievement than its predecessors.[24][25][26] At Rotten Tomatoes, Return of the Jedi’s 78% approval rating is surpassed by The Empire Strikes Back (97%), A New Hope (94%), and the final film of the prequel trilogy, Revenge of the Sith (80%).[24]

Contemporary critics were largely complimentary. In 1983, movie critic Roger Ebert gave the film four stars out of four,[27] and James Kendrick of Q Network Film Desk described Return of the Jedi as “a magnificent experience.”[28] The film was also featured on the May 23, 1983 TIME magazine cover issue (where it was labeled “Star Wars III”),[29] with the reviewer Gerald Clarke saying that while it was not as exciting as the first Star Wars film, it was “better and more satisfying” than The Empire Strikes Back, now considered by many as the best of the original trilogy.[30] Vincent Canby, who enjoyed the first film and despised the second, felt that Return of the Jedi was the worst of all three.[31] According to Rotten Tomatoes, Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune was somewhat critical of the film, stating that it “Lack[s] the humanity and richly drawn characters that brighten Star Wars.”[24] However, Siskel later gave Return of the Jedi thumbs up on the television show Siskel & Ebert during the release of The Star Wars Trilogy: Special Edition, saying: “This is my least favorite of the three episodes. That doesn’t make it bad, the others are just a lot better.” Siskel went on to praise the opening sequence at the Sarlaac pit and the chase sequence involving speeder bikes, but he states his dislike for the closing scenes involving the Ewoks.[32] The New York Post’s Rex Reed negatively reviewed the film, stating “Let’s not pretend we’re watching art!”[24]

At the 56th Academy Awards in 1984, Richard Edlund, Dennis Muren, Ken Ralston, and Phil Tippett received the “Special Achievement Award for Visual Effects.” Norman Reynolds, Fred Hole, James L. Schoppe, and Michael Ford were nominated for “Best Art Direction/Set Decoration”. Ben Burtt received a nomination for “Best Sound Effects Editing”. John Williams received the nomination for “Best Music, Original Score”. Burtt, Gary Summers, Randy Thom, and Tony Dawe all received the nominations for “Best Sound”. At the 1984 BAFTA Awards, Edlund, Muren, Ralston, and Kit West won for “Best Special Visual Effects”. Tippett and Stuart Freeborn were also nominated for “Best Makeup”. Reynolds received a nomination for “Best Production Design/Art Direction”. Burtt, Dawe, and Summers also received nominations for “Best Sound”. Williams was also nominated “Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television Special”. The film also won for “Best Dramatic Presentation” at the 1984 Hugo Awards.[33]

While the action set pieces—particularly the sarlacc battle sequence, the speeder bike chase on the Endor moon, the space battle between Rebel and Imperial pilots, and Luke Skywalker’s duel against Darth Vader—are well-regarded, the ground battle between the Ewoks and Imperial stormtroopers remains a bone of contention.[34] Fans are also divided on the likelihood of Ewoks (being an extremely primitive race of small creatures armed with sticks and rocks) defeating an armed ground force comprising the Empire’s “best troops”. Lucas has defended the scenario, saying that the Ewoks’ purpose was to distract the Imperial troops and that the Ewoks did not really win.[7]

Home video

The original theatrical version of Return of the Jedi was released on VHS and Laserdisc several times between 1986 and 1995,[35] followed by releases of the Special Edition in the same formats between 1997 and 2000. Some of these releases contained featurettes; some were individual releases of just this film, while others were boxed sets of all three original films.

Original scene with Sebastian Shaw as Anakin Skywalker (above), retouched version with Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker (below)

On September 21, 2004, the Special Editions of all three original films were released in a boxed set on DVD (along with a bonus disc). It was digitally restored and remastered, with additional changes made by George Lucas. The DVD also featured English subtitles, Dolby Digital 5.1 EX surround sound, and commentaries by George Lucas, Ben Burtt, Dennis Muren, and Carrie Fisher. The bonus disc included documentaries including Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy and several featurettes including “The Characters of Star Wars”, “The Birth of the Lightsaber”, and “The Legacy of Star Wars”. Also included were teasers, trailers, TV spots, still galleries, and a demo for Star Wars: Battlefront.

With the release of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, which depicts how and why Anakin Skywalker turned to the dark side of the Force, Lucas once again altered Return of the Jedi to strengthen the relationship between the original trilogy and the prequel trilogy. The original and Special Edition versions of Return of the Jedi featured British theatre actor Sebastian Shaw playing both the dying Anakin Skywalker and his ghost. In the DVD release, Shaw’s portrayal of Anakin’s ghost is replaced by Hayden Christensen, who portrayed Anakin in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. The change drew further fan criticism directed toward Lucas (as well as a lampoon in an episode of Family Guy.[21])

All three films in the original Star Wars trilogy have since been released, individually, on DVD. These versions were originally slated to only be available from September 12, 2006 to December 31, 2006, although they remained in print and were packaged with the 2004 versions again in a new set on November 4, 2008.[36] Although the 2004 versions in these sets each feature an audio commentary, no other extra special features were included to commemorate the original cuts.

A Blu-ray Disc version of the Star Wars saga has been announced for release in 2011 during Star Wars Celebration V. A deleted scene from Return of the Jedi was confirmed to be included for the Blu-ray version, in which Darth Vader communicates with Luke via the Force while he is assembling his new lightsaber just before he infiltrates Jabba’s palace.[37] On January 6, 2011, the release was announced for September 2011 in three different editions.[38]

3D re-release

On September 28, 2010, it was announced that all six films in the series will be stereo converted to 3D. The films will re-release in chronological order beginning with The Phantom Menace in early 2012. Return of the Jedi is scheduled to re-release in 3D in 2017 and will coincide with the 40th anniversary of the franchise.[39]

Marketing

Novelization

The novelization of Return of the Jedi was written by James Kahn and was released on May 12, 1983, thirteen days before the film’s release.[40] It contains many scenes that were deleted from the final cut as well as certain assertions which have since been superseded by the prequel trilogy. For example, Kahn writes that Owen Lars is the brother of Obi-Wan Kenobi, while in Attack of the Clones he is instead shown to be the stepbrother of Anakin Skywalker. When Leia is captured by Jabba, instead of him saying “I’m sure” to her warning of her powerful friends, he says, “I’m sure, but in the meantime, I shall thoroughly enjoy the pleasure of your company.” Additionally, instead of simply licking his lips as seen in the movie, he is described as planting “a beastly kiss squarely on the Princess’s lips.” Later, the Force spirit of Obi-Wan reveals that he was able to hide Luke and Leia from Anakin because he did not know that his wife was pregnant when he “left,” presumably when he became Vader. A facet of the story which was made more clear in the novel was the confusion which overtook the Imperial forces upon the death of Palpatine, who ceased to be the guiding will animating the Empire. It also further supports the events depicted in all post-Return of the Jedi fiction.

Radio drama

Main article: Star Wars (radio)

A radio drama adaptation of the film was written by Brian Daley with additional material contributed by John Whitman and was produced for and broadcast on National Public Radio in 1996. It was based on characters and situations created by George Lucas and on the screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan and George Lucas. The first two Star Wars films were similarly adapted for National Public Radio in the early 1980s, but it was not until 1996 that a radio version of Return of the Jedi was heard. Anthony Daniels returned as C-3PO, but Mark Hamill and Billy Dee Williams did not reprise their roles as they had for the first two radio dramas. They were replaced by newcomer Joshua Fardon as Luke Skywalker and character actor Arye Gross as Lando Calrissian. John Lithgow voiced Yoda, whose voice actor in the films has always been Frank Oz. Bernard Behrens returned as Obi-Wan Kenobi and the late Brock Peters reprised his role as Darth Vader. Veteran character actor Ed Begley, Jr. played Boba Fett. Edward Asner also guest-starred speaking only in grunts as the voice of Jabba the Hutt. The radio drama had a running time of three hours.[41]

Principal production of the show was completed on February 11, 1996. Only hours after celebrating its completion with the cast and crew of the show, Daley died of pancreatic cancer. The show is dedicated to his memory.

The cast and crew recorded a get-well message for Daley, but the author never got the chance to hear it. The message is included as part of the Star Wars Trilogy collector’s edition box set.

See also

References

Citations

  1. ^ “Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi”. Lucasfilm. http://www.starwars.com/movies/episode-vi/. Retrieved March 4, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy Star Wars Trilogy Box Set DVD documentary, [2004]
  3. ^ “George Lucas Biography”. Net Glimpse. 2007. http://www.netglimse.com/celebs/pages/george_lucas/index.shtml. Retrieved May 29, 2007. 
  4. ^ “David Lynch: Weird at Heart”. Belfast Telegraph. 2007. http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/entertainment/film-tv/news/article2298474.ece. Retrieved March 5, 2007. 
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ Dale Pollock (1999). Skywalking: The Life and Films of George Lucas. Da Capo. ISBN 0573606064
  7. ^ a b c d Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi DVD commentary featuring George Lucas, Ben Burtt, Dennis Muren and Carrie Fisher. Fox Home Entertainment, 2004
  8. ^ a b c Marcus Hearn (2005). “Cliffhanging”. The Cinema of George Lucas. New York City: Harry N. Abrams Inc. pp. 140–1. ISBN 0-8109-4968-7
  9. ^ a b c Richard Patterson (June 1983). “Return of the Jedi: Production and Direction, p. 3”. American Cinematographer. http://www.theasc.com/magazine/starwars/articles/jedi/pdir/pg3.htm. Retrieved August 19, 2007. 
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Bibliography

Arnold, Alan. Once Upon a Galaxy: A Journal of Making the Empire Strikes Back. Sphere Books, London. 1980. ISBN 978-0-345-29075-5

External links

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film
1983
Succeeded by
The Terminator