- "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'?""
- ―Howard Kazanjian, producer
Blue Harvest was the title of a fictitious film used to ensure secrecy and disguise the actual 1981–1983 production of the third installment of the Star Wars film series, Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. The supposed film was alleged to be an upcoming horror film with the tag line "Horror Beyond Imagination."
The title was used in all areas where it seemed necessary. The Blue Harvest ruse, credited to producer Howard Kazanjian, was very thorough, emblazoning the fictitious film's logo on a wide range of film production items including shirts, caps, coats, buttons, signs, invoices and stationery. The Blue Harvest facade did give a bit of a wink and nod to its true purpose however, as the supposed film's logo (intentionally or unintentionally) utilized the distinctive Star Wars logo lettering style. In particular the ruse was employed during location filming in Yuma, Arizona. The filming took place in the dunes over the Thanksgiving holiday, where there was a reported crowd of 35,000 dune buggy enthusiasts. After erecting a chain link fence, employing a huge security force, and dodging a myriad of press inquiries, in the end approximately sixty fans saw through the ruse and refused to leave until they obtained a few autographs and photos. The Blue Harvest front was not only 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 original 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. It is also the name of the website BlueHarvest.net.
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 for Jedi. Blue Harvest is also mentioned in the computer game Deus Ex. On Paul's computer in New York there is an e-mail about video rentals; Blue Harvest is one of the films. And as an in-joke for the cast and crew, the final chapter of the popular Pink Five fanfilm trilogy, entitled Return of Pink Five, was filmed under a similar cover title. All production paperwork, equipment rental contracts, and even crew t-shirts identified the film's title as Pink Harvest. As somewhat of a joke, the working title for the Simpsons Movie was Yellow Harvest. This is, of course, a reference to the yellow skin color of the Simpsons themselves. Blue Harvest was scheduled to make a canonical appearance in the short story Love Is a Warm Blaster, as type of nerve toxin. However, this was never officially released, due to the cancellation of Star Wars Adventure Journal. Blue Harvest was the name of the 2007 hour-long parody done by Family Guy. The Parody was of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope as opposed to Return of the Jedi.
Starting in November 2007, the online radio drama podcasting company Pendant Productions produced it's own Star Wars: Blue Harvest as a Fan-run show focusing on the Starkiller family and is set in the Expanded Universe of the Star Wars Canon. Blue Harvest is first mentioned in a Prophecy to Deak Starkiller in a Cave on the Boddhi System. In the third season of the show, the Blue Harvest is actually revealed as a project to corrupt the Living Force of beings using liquid darkside technology and the Kaiburr Crystal.