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Blue Harvest was a fake working title used to hide the 1982 production of Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, the third installment of the Star Wars film series. The supposed film was alleged to be an upcoming horror film with the tag line "Horror Beyond Imagination".
Usage during principal filming
The title was used in all areas where deemed necessary. The Blue Harvest ruse, credited to producer Howard Kazanjian, was very thorough; the fictitious film's logo was emblazoned on a wide range of film production items including shirts, caps, coats, buttons, signs, invoices, and stationery. The Blue Harvest façade did give a bit of a wink and nod to its true purpose, however, as the supposed film's logo (intentionally or unintentionally) used the distinctive Star Wars logo typeface.
In particular, the ruse was employed during location filming in Yuma, Arizona. The filming took place in the dunes over the Thanksgiving holiday, with a reported crowd of 35,000 dune buggy enthusiasts. Despite erecting a chain link fence, employing a huge security force, and dodging myriad press inquiries, approximately sixty fans saw through the ruse in the end and refused to leave until they had obtained a few autographs and photos.
|“||When shooting Jedi in the United States we called the film Blue Harvest. Camera slates, invoices, hotel reservations, call sheets, production reports, and crew hats and T-shirts all read Blue Harvest. So when a visitor would ask, 'what are you shooting' and we said Blue Harvest, they went on their way. Can you imagine what would have happened if we had said, 'We're shooting the next film in the Star Wars trilogy'?||”|
While filming The Empire Strikes Back, Lucas found that services would increase their charges based on the speculated high budget. The false title prevented this from occurring during filming of Return of the Jedi.
The Blue Harvest front not only was used during the principal photography for Return of the Jedi, but was also adopted in other areas such as a retro T-shirt that was made by ILM in the 1990s, a cardboard mailer tube to disguise the shipments of Revenge of the Jedi (the working title for the film) posters, an episode of the 1985–1987 Star Wars animated series Star Wars: Ewoks, and even a popular Star Wars fanzine. The name Blue Harvest is widely known by Star Wars fans today.
In popular culture
"Blue Harvest" was the title for the season 1, episode 12 of the animated series Ewoks.
Around 1997, the web site www.blueharvest.com began redirecting web browsers to www.starwars.com.
- "Return' Receipt", Entertainment Weekly, May 21, 1999.
- Object of the Week, The Wall Street Journal, May 14, 1999.
- Pfeiffer, Lee; Lewis, Michael D. The Films Of Harrison Ford. Citadel Press. p. 132. ISBN 0-8065-2364-6.
- Classic Moments: "Blue Harvest Letdown" - Star Wars.com, July 03, 2000.
- Bloom, Jim, Production Supervisor; Ch. 9, bonus material disc of the 2004 Star Wars Trilogy DVD box set.
- Fry, Jason; "Star Wars Fans Search Cyberspace for Movie Clues"; The Wall Street Journal, December 23, 1997.