Return of the Jedi
|Return of the Jedi|
Theatrical release poster
(art by Kazuhiko Sano)
|Directed by||Richard Marquand|
|Produced by||Howard Kazanjian|
|Story by||George Lucas|
|Music by||John Williams|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox1|
|Box office||$572.7 million|
Return of the Jedi (also known as Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi) is a 1983 American epic space opera film directed by Richard Marquand. The screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan and George Lucas was from a story by Lucas, who was also the executive producer. It was the third film released in the Star Wars saga and the first film to use THX technology. The film is set one year after The Empire Strikes Back and was produced by Howard Kazanjian for 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 once and for all. 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's hold over the galaxy. 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 begin a few weeks early to allow Industrial Light & Magic more time to work on the film's effects in post-production. Filming took place in England, California, and Arizona from January to March 1982 . 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 $572 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: The Force Awakens, was announced on October 30, 2012, and it is set for release on December 18, 2015.
- 1 Plot
- 2 Cast and characters
- 3 Production
- 4 Release
- 5 Reception
- 6 Marketing
- 7 See also
- 8 Footnotes
- 9 Citations
- 10 External links
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 with Chewbacca as her prisoner. 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, he is captured. After Luke survives his battle with Jabba's Rancor, Jabba sentences him and Han to death by feeding them to the Sarlacc. Luke frees himself and battles Jabba's guards. During the chaos, Boba Fett, who has remained at Jabba's palace since delivering Han, attempts to attack Luke but Han inadvertently knocks him into the Sarlacc pit. Meanwhile, Leia strangles Jabba to death, and Luke destroys Jabba's sail barge as the group escape. While the others rendezvous with the Rebel Alliance, Luke returns to Dagobah where he finds that Yoda is dying. Before he dies, Yoda confirms that Darth Vader, once known as Anakin Skywalker, is Luke's father and there is "another Skywalker". The spirit of Obi-Wan Kenobi confirms that this other Skywalker is Luke's twin sister, Leia. Obi-Wan 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 Emperor Palpatine himself. As the station is protected by an energy shield, Han leads a strike team to destroy the shield generator on the forest moon of Endor, which would allow a squadron of starfighters to destroy the Death Star. The strike team, accompanied by Luke and Leia, travels to Endor in a stolen Imperial shuttle. On Endor, Luke and his companions encounter a tribe of Ewoks and, after an initial conflict, gain their help. Later, Luke tells Leia that she is his sister, Vader is their father, and that he must go and 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 the Emperor, intent on turning him to the dark side. The Emperor reveals that the Death Star is actually fully operational and the Rebel fleet will fall into a trap. On Endor, Han's strike team is captured by Imperial forces, but a surprise counterattack by the Ewoks allows the Rebels to battle the Imperials. 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. The Emperor 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 senses 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. The Emperor entreats Luke to kill Vader and take his place, but Luke refuses, declaring himself a Jedi. On Endor, the strike team defeats the Imperial forces and destroys the shield generator, allowing the Rebel fleet to launch their assault on the Death Star. At the same time, a furious Palpatine tortures Luke with Force lightning. Unwilling to let his son die, Vader kills the Emperor, but is himself mortally wounded in the process. He asks Luke to help remove his mask before dying in Luke's arms.
As the battle between the Imperial and Alliance fleets continues, Lando leads a group of Rebel ships into the Death Star's core and destroys the main reactor. As Luke escapes on a shuttle with his father's body, the Falcon flies out of the Death Star's superstructure as the station explodes. On Endor, Leia reveals to Han that Luke is her brother, and they kiss. Luke returns to Endor and cremates his father's body on a funeral pyre. As the Rebels celebrate their victory over the Empire, Luke smiles as he sees the spirits of Obi-Wan, Yoda, and the redeemed Anakin watching over them.
Cast and characters
- A rebel commander who, after a year since his encounter with Darth Vader in Cloud City, has nearly completed his Jedi training.
- A smuggler captain who, after being frozen in carbonite by Darth Vader in Cloud City and taken to Jabba the Hutt, is freed by Princess Leia, who helps him escape after Luke arrives at Jabba's palace. He is later named a general in the Rebel Alliance and is tasked with leading an attack on the Imperial shield fortress on Endor.
- A princess of Alderaan and rebel leader who is later revealed to be Luke's twin sister.
- The former Baron Administrator of Cloud City, who joins the Rebel Alliance after his city is attacked by the Galactic Empire. He pilots the Millennium Falcon, Han's ship, to lead an attack on the Death Star.
- Luke's protocol droid for human–non-human communication and translations, who is instrumental in establishing friendly relations between the rebels and the Ewoks on Endor, who mistakenly believe him to be a god.
- Luke's Jedi father, who was seduced by the dark side of the Force and has been relentlessly continuing his search for Luke, but 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; primarily those involving lightsaber combat.
- Luke's blue-and-white astromech droid (Baker also portrayed Paploo, an ewok).
- Han's wookiee co-pilot.
- Luke's self-exiled Jedi master who, after living for 900 years, finally prepares to become one with the Force and tells Luke that Vader is truly his father.
- The supreme ruler of the Galactic Empire and Vader's Sith master, who now plans to destroy the Alliance with the new Death Star and turn Luke to the dark side of the Force.
- Vader's self-exiled Jedi master who, after being struck down by Vader in A New Hope, continues to offer guidance to Luke as a Jedi spirit and tells Luke the truth about Leia being his sister.
- Sebastian Shaw as Anakin Skywalker (Shaw was partly replaced by Hayden Christensen in the 2004 DVD release of the film)
- the leader of Rogue Squadron, who prepares to aid (now General) Lando Calrissian in the fighter attack on the Death Star.
- Commander overseeing the construction of the Second Death Star
- One of the few officers under Vader's command to survive his wrath, who commands the Imperial Fleet at Endor from the Executor.
- An Ewok who leads Leia and eventually her friends to the ewok tribe. Kenny Baker was originally cast as 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.
- A Mandalorian bounty hunter who, after capturing and delivering Han to Jabba the Hutt, stays at the crime lord's palace and engages in the battle above the Sarlacc.
- A co-founder and leader of the Rebel Alliance. She explains the mission of destroying the Death Star to the Alliance.
- An evil crimelord, who is holding Leia and Han hostage. Jabba was operated by puppeteers David Barclay, Mike Edmonds and Toby Philpott
- Jabba's majordomo.
- Femi Taylor as Oola
- The unfortunate slave dancer in Jabba's palace, who is fed to the Rancor after attempting to break free.
- A large, buxom slave dancer in Jabba's palace.
- Peter Burroughs, Debbie Lee Carrington, Tony Cox, Mike Edmonds, Jack Purvis, Jane Busby, Kiran Shah and Felix Silla as ewoks
- Paul Brooke as Malakili (uncredited)
- The Rancor's sobbing keeper
To portray the numerous alien species featured in the film a multitude of puppeteers, voice actors, and stunt performers were employed. They included:
- Timothy M. Rose as Admiral Ackbar, Sy Snootles and Salacious Crumb
- Mike Quinn as Nien Nunb, baby Ewok, and Wol Cabasshite. He also assisted in operating Sy Snootles, Admiral Ackbar, Ree-Yees and Yoda
- Simon Williamson as Max Rebo, Gamorrean Guard and a Mon Calamari. He also assisted in operating Nien Nunb
- Deep Roy as Droopy McCool (also played an Ewok and was a stand in for Yoda and R2D2)
- Ailsa Berk as Amanaman
- Hugh Spight as Gamorrean Guard, Elom and a Mon Calamari
- Gerald Home as Tessek and Mon Calamari officer
- Richard Bonehill (uncredited) as Ree Yees, Mosep Binneed and a Mon Calamari. He also assisted in operating Nien Nunb and performed sunts
- Phil Herbert as Hermi Odle
- Mime artist duo Tik and Tok (Tim Dry and Sean Crawford) as Whiphid and Yak-Face
- Phil Tippett as the Rancor
Additional voices were provided by; Annie Arbogast (Sy Snootles), Erik Bauersfeld (Ackbar/Bib Fortuna - uncredited), Ben Burtt (Droid/R2D2), Denny Delk (Ewoks - uncredited), Ernie Fosselius (Malakili/Giran - uncredited), Richard Marquand (EV-9D9), Kipsang Rotich (Nien Nunb - uncredited) and Pat Welsh (Boushh - uncredited)
As with the previous film, Lucas personally financed Return of the Jedi. 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. David Cronenberg was also offered the chance to direct the film, but he declined the offer to make Videodrome and The Dead Zone. Lucas eventually chose Richard Marquand. Lucas may have directed some 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. More American Graffiti, Raiders of the Lost Ark). Lucas did operate a B camera on the set a few times. Lucas himself has admitted to being on the set frequently due to Marquand's relative inexperience with special effects. Lucas praised Marquand as a "very nice person who worked well with actors". 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!"
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. The screenplay itself was not finished 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.
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. 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 reject 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, according to Kurtz, Lucas opted for a happier ending to encourage higher merchandise sales.
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. 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. Many ideas from the original script were left out or changed. For instance, the Ewoks were going to be Wookiees, 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.
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. Working on a budget of $32.5 million, Lucas was determined to avoid going over budget as had happened 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. 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. 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.
The first stage of production started with 78 days at Elstree Studios in England, 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. (This was the only major sequence cut from the film during editing.) 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. In April, the crew moved to the Yuma Desert in Arizona for two weeks of Tatooine exteriors. 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. 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. 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).
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.
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. 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, 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. 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.
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. 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. According to Lucas, Return of the Jedi required fewer changes than the previous two films because it is more emotionally driven than the others. The changes have caused controversy among the fans as some believe that they detract from the films.
The original teaser trailer for the film carried the name Revenge of the Jedi. 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, 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.
The original theatrical version of Return of the Jedi was released on VHS and Laserdisc several times between 1986 and 1995, 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. 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. On January 6, 2011, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment announced the Blu-ray release 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.
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: The Force Awakens, which will be released to theaters on December 18, 2015.
On April 7, 2015, the Walt Disney Studios, 20th Century Fox, and Lucasfilm jointly announced the digital releases of the six released Star Wars films. As Lucasfilm had retained digital distribution rights to all Episodes sans IV, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment released Return of the Jedi for digital download on April 10, 2015.
Although a critical and commercial hit, grossing more than $572 million worldwide, Return of the Jedi has, in the decades that followed, been considered by many critics and fans to be a lesser achievement than its predecessors. At Rotten Tomatoes, Return of the Jedi's 79% 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%). On Metacritic, the film received a score of 52% based on 14 reviews from mainstream critics, and The Empire Strikes Back received a score of 78% based on 15 reviews.
Contemporary critics were largely complimentary. In 1983, movie critic Roger Ebert gave the film four stars out of four, and James Kendrick of Q Network Film Desk described Return of the Jedi as "a magnificent experience." The film was also featured on the May 23, 1983 TIME magazine cover issue (where it was labeled "Star Wars III"), 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. Vincent Canby, who enjoyed the first film and despised the second, felt that Return of the Jedi was the worst of all three. 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."
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."[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. The New York Post's Rex Reed gave the film a negative review, stating "Let's not pretend we're watching art!" 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. 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. His inspiration for the Ewok's victory came from the Vietnam War, where the indigenous Vietcong forces prevailed against the technologically superior United States. 
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", the older award for science fiction and fantasy in film, at the 1984 Hugo Awards.
American Film Institute Lists
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. 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.
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.
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
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 and as a four-issue limited series. It was later reprinted in a mass market paperback.
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.
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The adaptation of Return of the Jedi was published in Marvel Super Special #27 and in a separate miniseries, once again penciled by Al Williamson and inked by Carlos Garzon.
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|Awards and achievements|
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
|Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film