Return of the Jedi

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Return of the Jedi
ReturnOfTheJediPoster1983.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Richard Marquand
Produced by Howard Kazanjian
Screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan
George Lucas
Story by George Lucas
Starring Mark Hamill
Harrison Ford
Carrie Fisher
Billy Dee Williams
Anthony Daniels
David Prowse
Kenny Baker
Peter Mayhew
Frank Oz
Music by John Williams
Cinematography Alan Hume
Edited by Sean Barton
Marcia Lucas
Duwayne Dunham
Production
company
Distributed by 20th Century Fox1
Release dates
  • May 25, 1983 (1983-05-25)
Running time 132 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $32.5 million[1]
Box office $475.1 million

Return of the Jedi (later released as Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi)[2] is a 1983 American epic space opera film directed by Richard Marquand and written by George Lucas and Lawrence Kasdan, with Lucas as executive producer. It is the third film released in the Star Wars franchise and the first film to use THX technology. The film is set one year after The Empire Strikes Back[3] and was produced by Howard Kazanjian and Lucasfilm Ltd. The film stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, David Prowse, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew and Frank Oz.

The evil Galactic Empire, under the direction of the ruthless Emperor Palpatine, is constructing a second Death Star in order to crush the Rebel Alliance. Since 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 once and for all. Meanwhile, Luke Skywalker, the Rebel leader and Jedi Apprentice, struggles to bring Darth Vader, who is his father Anakin and himself a fallen Jedi, back from the Dark Side of the Force.

David Lynch and David Cronenberg were considered to direct the project before Marquand signed on as director. The production team relied on Lucas' storyboards during pre-production. While writing the shooting script, Lucas, Kasdan, Marquand, and producer Howard Kazanjian spent two weeks in conference discussing ideas to construct it. Kazanjian's schedule pushed shooting to a few weeks earlier to allow Industrial Light & Magic to work on the film's effects in post-production. Filming took place in England, California, and Arizona from January to March 1982 (1982-03), with Lucas handling second unit work. Strict secrecy surrounded the production and the film used the working title Blue Harvest to prevent price gouging.

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. Star Wars continued with Episode I: The Phantom Menace as part of the film series' prequel trilogy. A sequel, Star Wars Episode VII, was announced on October 30, 2012 and it is set for release on December 18, 2015.[4]

Plot[edit]

Luke Skywalker initiates a plan to rescue 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 presenting Chewie as her prisoner, and Lando is already there disguised as a guard. Leia releases Han from his carbonite prison, but she is captured and enslaved. Luke arrives soon afterward but after a tense standoff in the palace is captured. After Luke survives a battle with Jabba's Rancor, Jabba sentences Luke and Han to death by being fed to the sarlacc. Luke frees himself during the execution and a large battle ensues, Boba Fett, who has been working for Jabba since delivering Han Solo, tries to intervene but during the fight, his Jet Pack is accidentally struck by a blind Solo, sending him flying into the Sarlaac pit. Leia then strangles Jabba to death, and Luke destroys Jabba's sail barge as the group escape. While Han and Leia rendezvous with the Rebel Alliance, Luke returns to Dagobah where he finds that Yoda is dying. With his last breaths, Yoda confirms that the evil Darth Vader, once known as Anakin Skywalker, is Luke's father; he also mentions "another Skywalker". The spirit of Obi-Wan Kenobi confirms Luke's insight that the "other" Yoda spoke of is Luke's twin sister, Leia. Obi-Wan then tells Luke that he must fight Vader again to defeat the Empire.

The Rebel Alliance learns that the Empire has been constructing a new Death Star under the supervision of Vader and his master, Emperor Palpatine. In a plan to destroy the new weapon, Han leads 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 infrastructure and destroy the station from within. The strike team, with Luke in tow, travels to Endor in an Imperial shuttle; sensing Vader's presence, Luke fears he is endangering the mission. On Endor, Luke and his companions encounter a tribe of Ewoks and, after an initial conflict, form a partnership with them. Later, Luke confesses to Leia that she is his sister, Vader is their father, and that he is leaving to confront him. Surrendering to Imperial troops, Luke is brought to Vader and unsuccessfully tries to convince him to turn from the dark side of the Force.

Vader takes Luke to the Death Star to meet Palpatine, intent on turning his son to the dark side. Palpatine reveals that the Death Star is fully operational and set to destroy the Rebellion. On Endor, Han's strike team is captured by Imperial forces, but a surprise counterattack by the Ewoks allows the Rebels to launch an attack. Meanwhile, Lando, piloting the Millennium Falcon, leads the Rebel fleet to the Death Star, only to find that the station's shield is still active and the Imperial fleet is waiting for them. Palpatine tempts Luke to give in to his anger and join the dark side of the Force, and Luke engages Vader in a lightsaber duel. Vader discovers that Luke has a sister, and threatens to turn her to the dark side. Enraged, Luke attacks Vader and severs his father's right hand. Palpatine entreats Luke to kill Vader and take his place, but Luke refuses, declaring himself a Jedi. Furious, Palpatine tortures Luke with Force lightning. Unwilling to let his son die, Vader accepts Luke's fate and throws Palpatine down an abyssal chute to his death, therefore fulfilling the prophecy that he would be the one to destroy the Sith and bring balance to the force, but is mortally electrocuted in the process. At his father's request, Luke removes Vader's mask to see his scarred visage, allowing him to look on his son with his own eyes before dying in Luke's arms.

On Endor, the strike team defeats the Imperial forces and destroys the shield generator base, allowing the Rebel fleet to launch a final assault on the Death Star. Lando leads the remaining ships into the station's core and destroys the main reactor. Luke escapes on an Imperial shuttle with his father's body, while Lando escapes in the Falcon moments before the Death Star explodes. On Endor, Leia reveals to Han that Luke is her brother, and they share a kiss. Luke returns to Endor and cremates his father's armor on a funeral pyre. As the Rebels celebrate the end of the Empire, Luke sees the spirits of Obi-Wan, Yoda, and Anakin watching over them.

Cast[edit]

  • Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker: In the year since his encounter with Darth Vader in Cloud City, Luke has nearly completed his Jedi training.
  • 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. Han became a Rebel General and lead an attack at the bunker in Endor.
  • Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia Organa: A 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 Empire, Lando joined the Rebel Alliance, and aided Luke in his search for Han Solo. He would later use the Millennium Falcon, Han Solo's ship, to lead an attack on the Death Star.
  • Anthony Daniels as C-3PO: Luke Skywalker's protocol droid for human-cyborg relations, 3PO 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. Baker also portrayed Paploo, an Ewok.
  • Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca: Han Solo's Wookiee co-pilot and best friend.
  • David Prowse as Darth Vader: Luke's father, Anakin, was a Jedi Knight before being seduced by the dark side of the Force and becoming 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. Vader was portrayed by Prowse's stunt double, Bob Anderson in many of his scenes primary those involving lightsaber combat. James Earl Jones provided the voice of Vader.
  • Sebastian Shaw as Anakin Skywalker: Shaw was partly replaced by Hayden Christensen in the 2004 DVD release of the film.
  • Ian McDiarmid as Emperor Palpatine: Simply known as "The Emperor", Palpatine is the supreme ruler of the Galactic Empire and Vader's Sith master. He now plans to destroy the Alliance with the new Death Star and turn Luke Skywalker to the dark side of the Force.
  • Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan "Ben" Kenobi: Struck down by Vader in A New Hope, Obi-Wan continues to offer guidance to Luke as a Jedi spirit and told Luke the truth about Leia being his sister.
  • Frank Oz as Yoda. After living for 900 years, Yoda finally prepares to become one with the Force and told Luke that Vader is truly his father.

To portray the numerous alien species featured in the film a multitude of puppeteers, voice actors, and stunt performers were employed. They included:

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

As with the previous film, Lucas personally funded Return of the Jedi.[5] Lucas approached David Lynch, who had been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director for The Elephant Man in 1980, to helm Return of the Jedi, but Lynch declined in order to direct Dune.[6] David Cronenberg was also offered the chance to direct the film, but he declined the offer to make Videodrome and The Dead Zone.[7] Lucas eventually chose 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).[8] Lucas himself has admitted to being on the set frequently due to Marquand's relative inexperience with special effects.[5] Lucas praised Marquand as a "very nice person who worked well with actors".[9] 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!"[10]

Luke Skywalker unmasks his redeemed father.

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.[5] 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, which was unusual for a film. Instead, the production team relied on Lucas' 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.[11] 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 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.[5] 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.[11] 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.[9] Many ideas from the original script were left out or changed. For instance, the Ewoks were going to be Wookiees,[12] the Millennium Falcon would be used in the arrival at the forest moon of Endor, and Obi-Wan Kenobi would return to life from his spectral existence in the Force.[13]

Gary Kurtz, who produced Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back but was replaced as producer for Return of the Jedi, claimed in 2010 that the ongoing success with Star Wars merchandise and toys led George Lucas to reconsider the idea of killing off Han Solo in the middle part of the film during a raid on an Imperial base. Luke Skywalker was also to have walked off alone and exhausted like the hero in a Spaghetti Western, but Lucas opted for a happier ending to encourage higher merchandise sales.[14]

Filming[edit]

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.[15] Working on a budget of $32,500,000,[16] Lucas was determined to avoid going overbudget as with The Empire Strikes Back. Producer Howard Kazanjian estimated that using ILM (owned wholly by Lucasfilm) for special effects saved the production approximately $18 million.[16] 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.[5] 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 press, and also prevented price gouging by service providers.[5]

The first stage of production started with 78 days at Elstree Studios in England,[15] 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.[10] (This was the only major sequence cut from the film during editing.)[11] 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.[5] In April, the crew moved to the Yuma Desert in Arizona for two weeks of Tatooine exteriors.[10] 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.[15] 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.[17] Steadicam inventor Garrett Brown personally operated these shots as he walked through a disguised path inside the forest shooting at less than 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 appeared as if it were moving at around 120 mph (190 km/h).[5]

Music[edit]

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.[18]

Post-production[edit]

The 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.[16] 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,[15] 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.[19] 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.[15]

Title change[edit]

The original teaser trailer for the film carried the name Revenge of the Jedi.[20] In December 1982, Lucas decided that "Revenge" was not appropriate (as Jedi should not seek revenge) and returned to his original title. By that time thousands of "Revenge" teaser posters (with artwork by Drew Struzan) had been printed and distributed. Note that the poster changes the correct color of the light sabers; Luke is seen wielding a red lightsaber while Vader wields a blue one,[21] while in the movie Luke's saber is green and Vader's red. Lucasfilm stopped the shipping of the posters and sold the remaining stock of 6,800 posters to Star Wars fan club members for $9.50.[22] These posters now[when?] sell for $250 – $500 depending on condition. (Bootlegs of these posters exist and can be differentiated.)[23]

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, released in 2005 as part of the prequel trilogy, later alluded to the dismissed title of Jedi, Revenge of the Jedi.[24]

Releases[edit]

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 the original Star Wars film.[16] With a massive worldwide marketing campaign, illustrator Tim Reamer created the 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 Episode IV: 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 modification of the Sarlacc to include a beak, the replacement of music at the closing scene, and a montage of different alien worlds celebrating the fall of the Empire.[25] According to Lucas, Return of the Jedi required fewer changes than the previous two films because it is more emotionally driven than the others.[9] The changes have caused controversy among the fans as some believe that they detract from the films.[26]

Reception[edit]

Return of the Jedi showing at the University Theatre in Toronto, with the marquee stating "The Smash of 83"

Although a critical and commercial hit, grossing more than $475 million worldwide,[27] 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.[28][29][30] At Rotten Tomatoes, Return of the Jedi's 78% approval rating is surpassed by The Empire Strikes Back (96%), A New Hope (93%), and the final film of the prequel trilogy, Revenge of the Sith (80%).[28] On Metacritic, the film received a score of 52% based on 14 reviews from mainstream critics,[31] and The Empire Strikes Back received a score of 78% based on 15 reviews.[32]

Contemporary critics were largely complimentary. In 1983, movie critic Roger Ebert gave the film four stars out of four,[33] and James Kendrick of Q Network Film Desk described Return of the Jedi as "a magnificent experience."[34] The film was also featured on the May 23, 1983 TIME magazine cover issue (where it was labeled "Star Wars III"),[35] 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.[36] Vincent Canby, who enjoyed the first film and despised the second, felt that Return of the Jedi was the worst of all three.[37] ReelViews.net's James Berardinelli noted for the 1997 special edition re-release that "Although it was great fun re-watching Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back again on the big screen, Return of the Jedi doesn't generate the same sense of enjoyment. And, while Lucas worked diligently to re-invigorate each entry into the trilogy, Jedi needs more than the patches of improved sound, cleaned-up visuals, and a few new scenes. Still, despite the flaws, this is still Star Wars, and, as such, represents a couple of lightly-entertaining hours spent with characters we have gotten to know and love over the years. Return of the Jedi is easily the weakest of the series, but its position as the conclusion makes it a must-see for anyone who has enjoyed its predecessor."[38]

According to Rotten Tomatoes, Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune was somewhat critical of the film during the 1997 re-release, stating that it "Lack[s] the humanity and richly drawn characters that brighten Star Wars."[citation needed][28][not in citation given] 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 Sarlacc pit and the chase sequence involving speeder bikes, but he states his dislike for the closing scenes involving the Ewoks.[39] The New York Post's Rex Reed gave the film a negative review, stating "Let's not pretend we're watching art!"[citation needed][28] Writing in The New Yorker, Pauline Kael (who had praised The Empire Strikes Back after dismissing Star Wars) called it "an impersonal and rather junky piece of filmmaking."

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.[40] 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.[9]

Accolades[edit]

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".[41] 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", the older award for science fiction and fantasy in film, at the 1984 Hugo Awards.[42]

American Film Institute Lists

Home media[edit]

The original theatrical version of Return of the Jedi was released on VHS and Laserdisc several times between 1986 and 1995,[45] 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. 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 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 bolster the relationship between the original trilogy and the prequel trilogy. The original and 1997 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 2004 DVD and 2011 Blu-ray release, Shaw's portrayal of Anakin's ghost is replaced by Hayden Christensen, who portrayed Anakin in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. The change drew further fan criticism directed toward Lucas. All three films in the original unaltered Star Wars trilogy were later released, individually, on DVD on September 12, 2006. These versions were originally slated to only be available until December 31, 2006, although they remained in print until May 2011 and were packaged with the 2004 versions again in a new box set on November 4, 2008.[46] 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 (Special Edition versions only) was announced for release in 2011 during Star Wars Celebration V. Several deleted scenes from Return of the Jedi were included for the Blu-ray version, including a sandstorm sequence following the Battle at the Sarlacc Pit, a scene featuring Moff Jerjerrod and Death Star officers during the Battle of Endor, and a scene where Darth Vader communicates with Luke via the Force as Skywalker is assembling his new lightsaber before he infiltrates Jabba's palace.[47] On January 6, 2011, the release was announced for September 2011 in three different editions and the cover art was unveiled in May. Although selling well, the Blu-ray caused yet more criticism towards Lucas as the set featured further alterations and the original versions were not included.[48]

Although unconfirmed, it was reported on August 16, 2014 that Disney/Lucasfilm plan to release the unaltered original trilogy on Blu-ray in 2015 prior to the release of Star Wars Episode VII, which will be released to theaters on December 18, 2015.[49]

Marketing[edit]

Novelization[edit]

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.[50] 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. This is partly contradicted by Revenge of the Sith, in which Anakin is unaware his wife was expecting twins and believes their child died with her. 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[edit]

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 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.[51]

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.

Comic book adaptation[edit]

Main article: Star Wars (comics)

Marvel Comics published a comic book adaptation of the film by writer Archie Goodwin and artists Al Williamson, Carlos Garzon, Tom Palmer, and Ron Frenz. The adaptation appeared in Marvel Super Special #27[52] and as a four-issue limited series.[53][54] It was later reprinted in a mass market paperback.[55]

Book-and-record set[edit]

Lucasfilm adapted the story for a children's book-and-record set. Released in 1983, the 24-page Star Wars: Return of the Jedi read-along book was accompanied by a 33⅓ rpm 7-inch gramophone record. Each page of the book contained a cropped frame from the film with an abridged and condensed version of the story. The record was produced by Buena Vista Records.

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Distribution rights will be transferred from 20th Century Fox to The Walt Disney Studios in May 2020.[56]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ Aubrey Solomon, Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History, Scarecrow Press, 1989 p260
  2. ^ "Star Wars films". Star Wars. Retrieved August 2, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi". Lucasfilm. Archived from the original on February 12, 2010. Retrieved March 4, 2010. 
  4. ^ Pomerantz, Dorothy (October 30, 2012). "Disney Planning New 'Star Wars' Movie With Lucasfilm Purchase". Forbes. Retrieved October 31, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy Star Wars Trilogy Box Set DVD documentary, [2004]
  6. ^ "David Lynch: Weird at Heart". Belfast Telegraph. 2007. Retrieved March 5, 2007. 
  7. ^ Shawn Adler (September 20, 2007). "Cronenberg's Aborted Job Offer: Star Wars: Return of the Jedi Director's Chair?". MTV Movies Blog
  8. ^ Dale Pollock (1999). Skywalking: The Life and Films of George Lucas. Da Capo. ISBN 0-573-60606-4. 
  9. ^ 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
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Bibliography[edit]

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[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film
1983
Succeeded by
The Terminator