Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi

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Star Wars: Episode VI
Return of the Jedi
Attribution information

Richard Marquand

Music by

John Williams

Production information

20th Century Fox

Run time
  • 132 min. (Theatrical)
  • 134 min. (Special Edition)
  • 135 min. (DVD and Blu-ray)




Chronological information

4 years after Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope; 1 year after Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back[1]

Preceded by

Episode V The Empire Strikes Back

Followed by

Episode VII The Force Awakens

"I am a Jedi, like my father before me."
Luke Skywalker — Gnome-speakernotesListen (file info)[src]

Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi is a 1983 science fiction film directed by Richard Marquand and written by Lawrence Kasdan and George Lucas. It is the third film to be released in the Star Wars saga, and the sixth in terms of internal chronology.

The film is set one year after the Empire's invasion of Cloud City, when Luke Skywalker and friends travel to Tatooine to rescue their friend Han Solo from the vile Jabba the Hutt. The Empire prepares to crush the Rebellion with a more powerful Death Star, while the Rebel fleet mounts a massive attack on the space station. Luke Skywalker confronts his father, Darth Vader, in a final climactic duel before the evil Emperor.

The film debuted on May 25, 1983, and was released on VHS and LaserDisc in this form multiple times during the 1980s and 90s. The film was re-released with changes in 1997, and this version was later released on VHS and Laserdisc as well. The special edition arrived on DVD in 2004, but with further updates and changes to the 1997 versions. The original, unaltered version of the film was released as part of a new DVD set in September 2006. The film was re-released in the Blu-ray format in September of 2011.

Opening crawl

Episode VI
Luke Skywalker has returned to
his home planet of Tatooine in
an attempt to rescue his
friend Han Solo from the
clutches of the vile gangster
Jabba the Hutt.

Little does Luke know that the
GALACTIC EMPIRE has secretly
begun construction on a new
armored space station even
more powerful than the first
dreaded Death Star.

When completed, this ultimate
weapon will spell certain doom
for the small band of rebels
struggling to restore freedom
to the galaxy...



In the Star Wars Legends Novel, Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire reveals that construction has begun on a new Death Star, more powerful than the previous one. At the suggestion of Prince Xizor, Emperor Palpatine allowed the plans to this new station to "fall" into Rebel hands, at a deceptive price. The Bothan spies discovered that the plans were to be sent in a small computer onboard a fertilizer freighter, the Suprosa. They mounted an attack which proved successful, albeit at the cost of the lives of several Bothans, allowing the plans to find their way to the Alliance, ready to be decoded.

Meanwhile Luke, Leia, Lando and Chewie had already failed one attempt to rescue Han from Boba Fett. Leia takes the disguise of the Ubese bounty hunter Boushh, and Chewbacca is disguised as Snoova. On Tatooine, Boba Fett was successful in delivering Han Solo to Jabba. Luke, along with with Lando, Leia, Chewbacca and the two droids, prepare one final plan to rescue Han.


The story begins a year after the events of The Empire Strikes Back.

A Trip to the Death Star

Moff Jerjerrod Greets Vader

Moff Jerjerrod greets Darth Vader aboard the newly-rebuilt Death Star.

Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Sith, lands in the docking bay of the second uncompleted Death Star, which the Empire is creating, and is more powerful than the first. He is greeted by Moff Jerjerrod, but demands construction be put back on schedule in order to complete the Death Star on time. Jerjerrod argues that they need more men, but quickly agrees to double their efforts when he learns that Emperor Sheev Palpatine is coming.

Rescue at Jabba's Palace

Meanwhile, 23-year-old Luke Skywalker and his company have arrived on Tatooine in an attempt to rescue Han Solo from Jabba the Hutt's desert palace.

Jabba's dais

Jabba the Hutt reclines with his slave girl Oola.

First the droids, R2-D2 and C-3PO, arrive with a holographic message from Skywalker pleading Jabba to release Solo, but they end up being processed as slave-laborers.

That evening, the Max Rebo Band (led by Sy Snootles) entertains the Hutt's guests. Jabba, engaged by the graceful gyrations of his collared slave girl Oola, starts tugging on her chain and commanding her to come to him on his throne, pointing at his belly. Oola fearfully resists him, and in annoyance, Jabba pushes a hidden button on his throne, and Oola is dropped through a hidden trapdoor at the foot of his throne, into the pit of the Rancor monster, which immediately devours her.

Later, Princess Leia Organa (in the guise of bounty hunter Boushh) arrives with Chewbacca as her "prisoner" to collect part of the bounty Jabba himself sought after years earlier when he put a price on Solo's head. After much bargaining (including Leia threatening Jabba with a thermal detonator), Jabba settles on a deal, and has Chewbacca imprisoned.

That night, Leia releases Han Solo from his carbonite coffin, and after revealing her identity to him, she kisses him. As they prepare to escape, they are caught by Jabba and his minions. Ignoring Solo's pleas, Jabba has the captain thrown in prison with Chewbacca. Although Lando Calrissian (disguised as one of Jabba's prison guards) tries to sneak off with Leia, Jabba stops them and orders a Gamorrean guard to bring Leia to him.

Seeing her capture as an opportunity to turn the tables, Leia warns him that her powerful friends will make him regret his actions. The guard shoves Leia up against Jabba, face-to-face, and the Hutt crassly dismissing her threat as he pulls her closer and licks her face, much to her (and C-3PO's) disgust and the humor of his pet lizard-monkey, Salacious Crumb. Jabba then tells Leia that her company will be enjoyable for him, then has her stripped of her weapons and clothes in front of him before being forced into a revealing slave girl outfit. To Leia's further humiliation, Jabba has her collared and chained to his throne, with the intent of entertaining him as his personal slave girl, as a replacement for Oola.

Luke the hutt

Luke Skywalker meets with Jabba the Hutt on Tatooine, who flaunts his power by exploiting Princess Leia as his slave.

A couple of days later, Luke arrives at the palace. Jabba, and most of his minions are asleep, but are awoken by Bib Fortuna (who, in trying to intervene the Jedi's entrance, is Force-tricked into welcoming him). Leia, now accustomed to Jabba's ways, remains silent beside the Hutt, despite her rising hope at seeing Luke. Luke demands that Jabba to release Solo and his other friends, but Jabba refuses the young Jedi's offer, occasionally yanking Leia's chain to flaunt his power over her as he indicates that Luke will die. Luke uses the Force to pull a nearby blaster and attempts to shoot Jabba, but the Hutt activates the trapdoor, dropping the Jedi and an unfortunate guard into the Rancor pit.

After a huge battle with the Rancor (which manages to devour the fallen guard), Luke ultimately kills the monster by crushing it under the gate of its compound, piercing its neck with the spikes at the bottom of the gate. He is then recaptured and brought up by Jabba's minions. Jabba, furious, chokes Leia until she falls back on his belly, and orders the prisoners to be brought before him. Luke, Solo and Chewbacca are brought before Jabba, exchanging relief at each other's safety as Leia struggles with Jabba to sit upright before him.

Using C-3PO as a translator, Jabba sentences Luke and his friends to be taken to the Dune Sea for termination (over a course of a thousand years) by the man-eating Sarlacc at the Great Pit of Carkoon. Luke warns Jabba that he's made his last mistake, at which the Hutt laughs in amusement. In her state of apprehension, Leia doesn't resist Jabba as he pulls her chain and forces her to fall back onto his belly, and as Jabba rubs her shoulder, an unspoken implication of his ultimate plans for her, Leia watches helplessly as her friends are taken away.

En route, R2-D2 is tasked with serving drinks to Jabba's guests, and the Max Rebo band plays music in the background. Jabba allows Leia to climb off his throne and watch her friends from a window; after a while, he gives a tug on her chain, playfully commanding her to come to him. Leia glares back at him, but as the chain is slack, she returns to watching, and Jabba chuckles. Bib Fortuna, seeing this, joins him on his throne.

Outside, Luke and his companions (with Lando, still in disguise) are being taken to the Pit of Carkoon on one of the land skiffs accompanying the Sail Barge. Solo, still half-blinded from the side-effects of carbonization, is sure that they are all going to die, and Luke tries to reassure him of their ultimate safety, but Solo is not easily convinced.

Jabba, no longer amused by Leia's defiance, pulls on her chain again, this time with much more force, choking her and tugging her back from the window. Without further resistance, Leia runs to his throne, jumps atop it, and rising before the Hutt, she presses her exposed body closely against his belly. As an added measure, Bib Fortuna presses his his hand to Leia's back, shoving her more firmly into the Hutt's loathsome embrace in a display of discipline. The vocal disgust Leia once harbored for Jabba now reduced to a submissive silence, she catches her breath as the Hutt offers his goblet of wine to her while drunkenly assuring her that she'll soon learn to appreciate him. With guarded anticipation, Leia glares at him, then down at his mouth where it moves directly before her face.

Elsewhere in the Sail Barge, C-3PO literally runs into R2-D2 and knocking over the shorter droid's drink tray. C-3PO laments their friends' imminent deaths, but R2-D2 shows a kind of confidence, which C-3PO doesn't see any reason for.


Jabba allows Leia to leave his side only so that she may witness the execution of her friends.

When the vehicles ultimately reach the Pit, Jabba moves his throne closer to the windows and allows Leia to step away from him as they and the rest of the audience watch from inside the Sail Barge. Jabba (via C-3PO) announces their deaths, but that he is willing to now listen to their pleas. Solo calls Jabba names and tells him that he'll not get any pleasure from their deaths, much to the Hutt's amusement, and Luke offers a final chance for Jabba to free him and his friends or die. Jabba laughs off this last threat and orders for the execution to commence.

Luke gets ushered off of a plank and into the Sarlaac, only to Force-flip up through the air and onto the skiff. Meanwhile, R2-D2 launches Luke's recently-built lightsaber from a hidden panel in his housing, and Luke catches it and begins to kill his captors. As Jabba furiously orders his bustling guards and minions to intervene, C-3PO gets knocked over. Leia looks around, ready to use her false submission to the Hutt to her advantage.

Boba Fett uses his jetpack to fly off of the Barge and land on the skiff as Luke is in the act of freeing Solo and Chewbacca. Luke uses his lightsaber to cut Fett's blaster in half, and Chewbacca pushes the bounty hunter onto the deck. Luke then jumps onto another of the accompanying skiffs to fight off the guards and minions there.

While fighting a guard, Lando accidentally falls off the side of the skiff, and although he manages to hold onto a wire, one of the Sarlaac's tentacles begins to pull him to his death, and Solo and Chewbacca have to carefully rescue him. Solo accidentally activates Boba Fett's backpack when he turns around and smashes the butt of an axe against it. Fett subsequently flies out of control from the skiff, crashing against the hull of the Barge before falling int the Sarlacc's open mouth, making it belch.


Leia prepares to strangle Jabba with the very chain he'd used to enslave her.

Aboard the Sail Barge, Leia smashes the controls for the Sail Barge's interior lights, throwing it into darkness, and jumps over Jabba's tail. Grabbing the slack of the very chain with which Jabba had enslaved her, she throws its length around Jabba's huge neck, braces her legs against his back, and leans back hard while pulling the chain, slowly but forcefully strangling him to death. Leia jumps off of the throne and has R2-D2 to help break her chain, then heads for the stairs to the top surface of the Sail Barge. Meanwhile, Salacious Crumb attacks the fallen C-3PO, and R2-D2 uses the same device he'd freed Leia with to chase the lizard-monkey away. Reaching the surface, the droids jump off the edge of the Sail Barge and land in the Tatooinian sand.

Luke and Leia defeat the remaining guards on the Sail Barge, then Luke has Leia point the guns toward the heart of the vehicle. They prepare to swing from a loose cable on the Barge's sails, and Luke discharges the guns, beginning to destroy the Barge. They swing to their rescue on the land skiff with Solo, Lando, and Chewbacca, then use magnets to pick up the two droids from the sand. They all drive off just as the Sail Barge explodes.

Later, all of the crew (except for Luke and R2) depart Tatooine for the rendezvous point near Sullust (mentioned in The Empire Strikes Back) where the Rebel Alliance is assembling, while Luke and R2-D2 (in their X-wing) head for Dagobah to fulfill a promise to Yoda made some time earlier.

The Emperor Arrives

On the Death Star, Emperor Palpatine arrives and praises Lord Vader on his efforts in the construction of the Death Star. He also senses that Vader craves for the continuation of his search for his son, Luke. The old Sith Lord assured his apprentice that Luke would seek Vader out and that only together would the sith be able to turn Luke to the dark side of the force and that everything was proceeding as Palpatine had foreseen.

Return to Dagobah

Yoda's death

Yoda's death.

Luke and Artoo arrive on Dagobah to find a terminally-ill Yoda. Luke has returned to complete his Jedi training, but Yoda declares no further training is required. All that remains for Luke is to confront Vader. Yoda then reveals that Vader is indeed his father. The 900-year-old Jedi Master gives one last mention of wisdom to the young Jedi before he dies (and disappears the way Ben Kenobi did in A New Hope, thereby becoming one with the force).

As Luke approaches his X-wing, the spirit form of Obi-Wan confirms that Vader was once Anakin Skywalker, a former Jedi Knight who turned to the dark side of the Force. Kenobi also reveals that Luke has a twin sister, hidden from Luke at birth as protection from the Emperor. Luke senses that his sister is actually Princess Leia. Kenobi warns Luke to bury his feelings, for they could in time "serve the Emperor".

The mission begins

At the rendezvous point near Sullust, the Rebel Alliance gathers to reveal plans to attack the Death Star. As part of the plans, Luke, Leia, Solo, Chewbacca, C-3PO, R2-D2, and a strike team must penetrate the shield generator on the forest moon of Endor in order to deactivate the shield if the Rebel fleet is to attack the Death Star. However, Vader knows this because he could sense that his son was with them and allows them to land on the planet. Luke senses his father as well and begins to believe that he would endanger the mission by coming.

The strike team lands on Endor only to be discovered by Imperial scout troopers. A speeder bike chase ensues, only for Leia to be thrown off her speeder and knocked unconscious. Luke and Han discover Leia's helmet, then they, with Chewbacca and the droids, try to find her. Leia is awakened by one of Endor's forest creatures, an Ewok named Wicket W. Warrick. Suddenly, another scout trooper discovers Leia, but Wicket does away with the trooper before rescuing Leia.

Luke, Han, Chewbacca, and the droids, meanwhile, fall into a booby trap set by the Ewoks. Artoo cuts open the net setting them free, but the Ewok tribe discovers Threepio and proclaims him to be their god. The droid's Human and Wookiee friends are taken prisoner, and the Ewoks proclaim Han to be the main course in a banquet in Threepio's honor. Discovered by Leia, Luke then uses the Force to levitate Threepio to show off his "great magic." Convinced of the Rebels' good intentions, the Ewoks set them free and later that evening makes them "part of the tribe," thereby the Ewoks agree to join the fight against the Empire. But Luke decides the time has come to leave Endor and face Darth Vader. Leia follows Luke out of the tribal gathering before she is revealed the truth that Vader is Luke's father and Leia is his sister. Leia is utterly speechless and shocked, but is comforted by Solo.

Meeting the Emperor

Vader arrives in his shuttle to a docking bay, and Luke, having already surrendered to the Empire, talks with Vader in an attempt to bring the Sith Lord out of the dark side of the Force, but to no avail. The Empire takes Luke into custody for transportation to the Death Star. The next day, the Rebels attempt to locate the shield generator, and the Rebel fleet enters hyperspace from Sullust to prepare for the final attack. Luke and Vader finally enter the Death Star and confront the Emperor, who looks forward to completing Luke's training and believes that while Vader would never turn from the dark side, neither would Luke. He also reveals that it was he who coordinated the Rebels finding the secret plans and locating the shield generator so that the Alliance can fall into a trap of Palpatine's devising.

The Battle of Endor begins

Battle of Endor

The Battle of Endor.

The Rebels enter the heart of the shield generator, only to be taken prisoner by the Imperial forces. The fleet emerges from hyperspace for the battle, but discovers the shield is still up. As they contemplate their options, the Imperial fleet, which they were led to believe was away, appears and an intense battle begins. Han and the strike team are led out of the bunker by the stormtroopers, but the droids and the Ewoks have already orchestrated the attack on the Empire, and another intense battle commences with the Rebels and Ewoks on one side, the Empire on another. Palpatine shows to Luke the full power of the Death Star, and the station, now fully operational, destroys one of the Alliance's ships. Meanwhile, on Endor, the battle continues, with casualties (Rebel, stormtrooper, and Ewok) already mounting. Eventually, Han, Leia, and Chewbacca gain access to the bunker.

Duel between Father and Son

Return of the jedi 4

Father and son battle each other on the second Death Star.

Back on the Death Star, Luke, with the encouragement of Palpatine, lashes out at him with his lightsaber, only to be deflected by Vader, and the final duel between father and son begins. As Luke climbs onto a balcony, Vader throws his lightsaber at his son. It misses Luke and knocks the balcony down, taking Luke with it. Vader stalks for a hidden Luke to let down his guard, while quietly sensing within his son's mind that Luke has a sister. Vader threatens to turn her to the dark side if Luke will not, but Luke responds viciously in intense saber fighting of Shien, up to the point where Luke strikes off Vader's right mechanical hand (just as Vader cut off Luke's in The Empire Strikes Back). Palpatine encourages Luke to kill his father so the young Jedi can take Vader's place at his side. But Luke controls his anger and throws aside his lightsaber. He declares himself to be a Jedi Knight as his father Anakin was before he turned over to the dark side and turned into Darth Vader.

Destroying the Emperor

Han, Leia, and Chewbacca escape from the bunker, just in time for its destruction, thus bringing down the shield. The Alliance is now free to attack the half-completed Death Star. On the Death Star, an enraged Palpatine declares that if Luke will not turn to the dark side, he will be destroyed, and uses Force lightning against the young Jedi. He slowly increases the intensity of the lightning, slowly torturing Luke. Luke calls out to his father to help him. But as the Emperor prepares to deliver the killing bolts, Vader appears. He looks at Luke and then the Emperor, confused whether to save his son or to continue serving his Master (just like when Vader had to choose between Palpatine or the Jedi Order in Revenge of the Sith).

Vader makes his decision - he cannot let one of the two last remaining links to his deceased wife, Padmé Amidala, die, so he lifts the Emperor into the air and throws him into the Death Star's power core/ reactor shaft. The Emperor disappears into the abyss, screaming, and then he is gone. There is a explosion but during the process of killing Palpatine, his lightning enters Vader's organic remains, striking Vader's life support system and his respirator (Vader's mechanical lungs), mortally wounding him. The Millennium Falcon and its remaining Rebel fighters enter the bowels of the Death Star, and some fighters engage in a point-blank attack on the Super Star Destroyer, causing the Imperial flagship's destruction.

Final moments


Anakin Skywalker's last moments.

Back on the Death Star, in the middle of an evacuation, Luke has carried his father's ravaged body to the foot of the former Vader's shuttle. Vader stops Luke and asks him to remove his mask so that he can look upon the face of his son, just for once, with his "own eyes." Luke removes the mask and sees the face of his father, Anakin Skywalker. Anakin's face is revealed to be pale white (from not seeing natural sunlight in 23 years), and his head remaining with some scars after healing for 23 years from his duel with Obi-Wan Kenobi (as depicted in Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith). Anakin tells Luke that his son was right - he did have good left in him, and asks him to tell his sister the same. With that, Anakin Skywalker, the redeemed Jedi Knight, dies.

The Millennium Falcon and its strike force (in the last Rebel fighter inside) reach the Death Star's main reactor and fire concussion missiles and proton torpedoes at it, causing it to collapse. Luke escapes the Death Star with his father's body and flies out through the flames, and so do Wedge Antilles and the Millennium Falcon before the Death Star explodes.

Seeing the destruction from above, Han senses Leia's love for Luke. He offers to step aside when Luke arrives, but she tells Han that Luke is her brother. After a moment of shock and/or surprise, Han and Leia engage in a passionate kiss.

The galaxy celebrates


Anakin Skywalker's cremation.

That evening, Luke sets a funeral pyre ablaze to burn the body of his father, still encased in the armor of Darth Vader. His father's organic body had become one with the Force. Luke Skywalker as written was believed to have only burnt the armor of his father, along with his cybernetics. Through the midst of the rising flames and fireworks, Rebel fighters streak across the sky in celebration of one of the greatest Rebel victories in the Galactic Civil War. The planets, Bespin, Tatooine,

Tatooine celebrates

Naboo, and Coruscant also celebrated. Luke is reunited with his companions Han, Lando, the droids, Chewbacca, the surviving Rebel fleet, the Ewoks, and his sister Leia. Luke then catches sight of the spirit figures of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda, and a redeemed Anakin Skywalker. Luke is pleased - not only is he now and forever a Jedi, but his father is once again on the light side of the Force. Leia takes Luke by the hand and they rejoin their friends and colleagues as the spirits of Obi-Wan, Yoda, and Anakin continue to look on with pride.

Aftermath in Star Wars Legends

In the absence of canon material, the story after the Battle of Endor was continued into an offshoot, Expanded Universe, part of what is now known today as Star Wars Legends. The Thrawn Trilogy and The Truce at Bakura were the first novels to explore events in the Expanded Universe.

The destruction of the second Death Star, the loss of Darth Vader and the Emperor, and the defeat of the Imperial fleet represented a major turning point in the war, however. But immediately following the Rebel's victory, Luke Skywalker and his friends went off to defend the people of Bakura from the deadly incursions of the Ssi-ruuk invaders threatening to turn their citizens into a slave army. They were but the first, as the post-Return of the Jedi Marvel Star Wars series soon revealed that following a brief respite, the Nagai were to invade, followed on their heels by the Tof invasion. Their final defeat marked the start of the New Republic and the end of outside alien invasions until 25 ABY when the Yuuzhan Vong struck. In the interim, however, there was plenty of Imperial mopping up to do and lots of adventures.

Within five years, well over half of what was Imperial space was under the control of the New Republic. The war continued for another 15 years. The New Republic would be challenged by Imperial commanders, such as Ysanne Isard, Grand Admiral Thrawn, Admiral Daala, and Admiral Pellaeon. The New Republic would even be challenged by the Reborn Emperor—the spirit of Palpatine in a new clone body. But the New Republic would weather all these storms.

Fifteen years after the Battle of Endor Admiral Pellaeon and the other Imperial leaders realized that further military conflict with the New Republic would be fruitless. The remnants of the Imperial forces signed a peace treaty with the New Republic. The decades-long Galactic Civil War was finally over.

Also, after Jabba's death, Luke was held in high respect for deleting all the debts the Hutt posted on his unfortunate undertakers. Zorba the Hutt, Jabba's father, was furious when he heard of his son's demise. He took over Cloud City, and in the long run, posted bounties on whomever was responsible for Jabba's death, primarily Luke Skywalker and his sister, Leia Organa.


By type 
Cast Crew




By type 
Characters Creatures Droid models Events Locations
Organizations and titles Sentient species Vehicles and vessels Weapons and technology Miscellanea


Canon characters

Legends characters

Unidentified Characters


Canon creatures

Legends creatures

Droid models

Canon droids

Legends droids


Canon events

Legends events


Canon locations

Legends locations

Organizations and titles

Canon organizations and titles

Legends organizations and titles

Sentient species

Canon species

Legends species

Vehicles and vessels

Canon vehicles

Legends vehicles

Weapons and technology

Canon technology

Legends technology


Canon miscellanea

Legends miscellanea


Apparel & accessories




Behind the scenes


Blue Harvest
"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 G. Kazanjian, producer[src]

For several reasons, the working title of the project was Blue Harvest and dubbed "Horror Beyond Imagination" to engender no interest whatsoever in order to disguise what the production crew was really filming from fans and the prying eyes of the press. George Lucas had severed all his remaining ties to the Hollywood system out of a feeling of persecution after the success of The Empire Strikes Back and had become a truly independent filmmaker. Lucasfilm is a non-union company, and despite George Lucas's stature and clout, that, says Howard Kazanjian in Empire of Dreams, made acquiring shooting locations more difficult and more expensive, even though A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back were mammoth hits.

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.[source?]

The film's director was the late Richard Marquand, who passed away in 1987 of a heart ailment, but reports have suggested that George Lucas was still heavily involved in the shooting of Return of the Jedi and likely directed some of the second unit work personally when shooting threatened to go over schedule. Lucas admits in the documentary Empire of Dreams that he had to often be on the set due to Marquand's relative inexperience with special effects, but comments by The Empire Strikes Back director Irvin Kershner on that film's DVD audio commentary track suggests that Lucas, who acted more as an advisor on The Empire Strikes Back, had a similar role on the production of Return of the Jedi. Moreover, George Lucas, according to Kershner, called The Empire Strikes Back Kershner's movie, not his.

Some have noted the differences between Richard Marquand's direction style and Lucas's direction style and say that they're dissimilar. The screenplay was written by Lawrence Kasdan and Lucas (with uncredited contributions by David Webb Peoples), based on Lucas's story. Howard G. Kazanjian served as producer.


Original movie poster

The documentary Empire of Dreams states that George Lucas initially intended to call the film Return of the Jedi, but then changed it to Revenge of the Jedi when he was told by Lawrence Kasdan that "Return" was a weak title. Only a few weeks before the film's release did Lucas change the title back to Return of the Jedi. In interviews, Lucas said that the reason for the change is that a Jedi wouldn't seek revenge. There are many though who speculate that George Lucas had planned to call the film Return of the Jedi all along, and only used "Revenge" as a means to throw off merchandise counterfeiters. It has also been claimed that the reason for the change was because the working title of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan was The Vengeance of Khan, and that the title was changed because of its similarity to Revenge of the Jedi. In the novel William Shatner's Star Trek Movie Memories, director Nicholas Meyer confirmed that he didn't believe that 20th Century Fox would allow Paramount to change his film's title from "The Undiscovered Country" to "The Vengeance of Khan" because of the making of Revenge of the Jedi. Nevertheless, all of this potential controversy was erased when Star Trek II was retitled "The Wrath of Khan" and Revenge of the Jedi finally became Return of the Jedi. In any event, the working title was partially reused for Episode III Revenge of the Sith.

Filming took place from January 11 to May 20, 1982 in Redwood National Park forests in California, the Yuma desert in Arizona, and at the Elstree Studios, United Kingdom.

With a massive worldwide marketing campaign, Star Wars series artist Drew Struzan created the iconic and distinctive images for the movie posters and other advertising. In the film's release poster, Luke Skywalker is depicted holding a blue lightsaber—a lightsaber color that does not appear in the film. His new lightsaber is green—although it is blue in one trailer, suggesting the decision to make it green was taken late in production. In fact, the decision was made to make Luke's blade contrast with the blue sky of Tatooine and make it more visible during the skirmish at Carkoon.[source?]

A serious wardrobe problem was present in the film in that all Imperial characters, regardless of rank, are shown wearing identical rank insignia, being that of an Imperial Navy Commander. This was not recognized by the production staff until halfway through the film's shooting and the error remained uncorrected in the final version of the film.

Prior to production of the film, Mark Hamill speculated that Luke would end up turning to the Dark Side midway through the film, with the main conflict being whether Luke can return to the light side or not. A similar conflict would emerge in the comic serial Dark Empire.

Major musical themes:

Critical reaction

While critical reception of the film was generally positive, Return of the Jedi is considered by some critics and many fans as the weakest film of the original trilogy. Some indication of public opinion can be gleaned by its relatively modest 106th place ranking in the Internet Movie Database's Top 250 films list. As a comparison, A New Hope is ranked at #14, and The Empire Strikes Back is ranked #11, as of November 14, 2010.

Revenge of the jedi poster

Revenge of the Jedi poster

While the entire Jabba the Hutt sequence and the action set pieces, particularly 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 the Stormtroopers remains a bone of contention. A large number of fans believe George Lucas pushed the "cutesy" factor with the Ewoks, especially with the belief that he did it to make it more marketable to children; and some of the production staff, such as Harrison Ford, felt awkward throughout the filming process about the Ewoks. However, other reasons were cited, such as the Wookiees, which were planned for that instance, being vetoed by Lucas due to the prior films showing that they were quite capable with technology via Chewbacca. In addition, fans seem to be rather divided on the premise that an extremely primitive race of small creatures could, albeit with minimal aid, defeat an armed ground force comprising the Empire's best troops. Some fans call it ludicrous, while others credit the Ewoks' bravery, ingenuity, and determination, and draw comparisons between modern warfare in which familiarity with the terrain and guerrilla tactics can results in the defeat of a numerically and technologically superior force. In the commentary for the 2004 DVD release, Lucas explained that the Ewoks were an allegory for a technologically primitive force overcoming a powerful Empire, and compared it to examples like the Vietnam War, Atilla the Hun and the Roman Empire, and the American Revolutionary War. The Making of Star Wars: The Definitive Story Behind the Original Film reveals that the idea emerged and evolved from Lucas's interest in the Vietnam War in making Apocalypse Now, in which specifically the primitive Vietcong overcame the United States. This has been criticised by some, such as conservative commentator Bill Whittle, in the webseries Afterburner episode "Han Shot First," for its perceived offensive connotations and morally ambiguous implications. However, in the contemporary documentary From Star Wars to Jedi: The Making of a Saga, Lucas states that the Vietnam War was merely the inspiration from which the subplot evolved, rather than a political thesis.[11]

However, contemporary critics seem to have been largely complimentary. In 1983, the late Roger Ebert gave the film a four-star rating, and Gary Arnold of the Washington Post described Return of the Jedi as "a triumph." Some fans and critics have found the film to be just as weak as the prequel films or just in comparison to the first two episodes.[12]

In Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones and Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith, Anakin Skywalker is played by Hayden Christensen. However, in the original and Special Edition version of Return of the Jedi, a much older actor named Sebastian Shaw played both the dying Anakin Skywalker and his Force spirit. In the DVD release, Anakin's ghost has become a young man, played by Hayden Christensen, and this is considered the canon version of the ghost.

Lucas explains in the DVD commentary that Anakin has learned to control his life force beyond death, just as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda had before him. (This is very briefly explained in Revenge of the Sith). So rather than appear as the older man who was Darth Vader, Anakin is able to return to the young man he once was before turning to the dark side.

The basic controversy arises from critics of Lucas's ongoing changes to all of the Star Wars films. On one hand, the redemption of Luke's father as an older man suggests that this is the image that should represent him after death. On the other, the older man was arguably never Anakin Skywalker until his final moments, and the vision of Hayden Christensen brings the story full circle - Darth Vader defeated, Anakin Skywalker at rest. Many fans argue that the insertion of Christensen is disrespectful toward Shaw.


As with the other two films of his original trilogy, Lucas issued a Special Edition of Return of the Jedi in 1997, making a number of cosmetic changes and additions, including replacing a piece of music from the closing scene.

On September 21, 2004 the three original movies were finally released on DVD. There have a few further minor changes to the film on this release—such as sound effects and improvements to the visual quality of the film.

During the sequence when the Emperor's defeat at Endor is announced to the galaxy, an additional scene showing the celebrations on Theed, Naboo was shown. A Gungan can be heard yelling "Wesa free" in this scene.

In the scene showing the people of Coruscant celebrating, the Senate Building and the Jedi Temple have been added in the background.

Sebastian Shaw played Anakin in the hangar bay and in the final celebration scene in the original film. In the DVD release, Shaw continued to be Anakin in the hangar bay scene. Look closely and you will see that Shaw's bushy eyebrows have now been digitally removed. However, during the final celebration, Shaw was replaced by Hayden Christensen. In this release Anakin appeared as he did in Episode III. Instead of simply reshooting the Force ghost of Anakin with Hayden, test footage of Hayden's head was digitally grafted to the body of Sebastian Shaw playing the role.

On September 12, 2006, Lucasfilm Ltd. released a two-disc set consisting of the 2004 Special Edition and the unaltered original theatrical version. This release lasted until December 31, 2006.

With the release of the third episode that depicts how and why Anakin Skywalker turned to the dark side of the Force, George Lucas once again altered Return of the Jedi to strengthen the relationship between the original trilogy to the prequel trilogy.

The film was re-released in the Blu-ray format in September of 2011.[13]

Deleted scenes


The novelization of Return of the Jedi was written by James Kahn. While it contains many scenes that were deleted from the final cut, with the release of Episode III, Kahn's assertion that Anakin Skywalker's memories of "lava crawling up his back" have proved to be in error. In the novelization of Return of the Jedi, Obi-Wan Kenobi recounts to Luke Skywalker that he and Anakin Skywalker had battled and that his father "fell into a molten pit."

The novelization also erroneously refers to Owen Lars as Obi-Wan Kenobi's brother. Owen Lars is, in fact, Anakin Skywalker's step brother.

Ironically, Joel and Nash Edgerton, Owen's portratyer and Ewan McGregor's Obi-Wan stunt double in the prequel trilogy, are brothers in real life.

At the beginning of the confrontation in Palpatine's throne room, the Emperor reads Luke's mind and discovers that Yoda completed Luke's Jedi training, and that Yoda is now dead. However, he gives no sign of recognition on hearing Yoda's name.

Radio drama

While the first two Star Wars movies were adapted for radio in the early 1980s, it was not until 1996 that a radio version of Return of the Jedi was heard. The adaptation was written by Brian Daley and was produced for and broadcast on National Public Radio. See Star Wars (radio) for details.


The film was adapted into comics form by Marvel Comics. Unlike the earlier film adaptations, it was not released as part of the ongoing Star Wars series, but as a four-part (1 2 3 4) mini-series of its own. The adaptation was scripted by Archie Goodwin and illustrated by Al Williamson.

A manga adaptation illustrated by Shin-Ichi Hiromoto was released in Japan in 1998 and in the United States in 1999.


In 2007, in honor of Star Wars 30th anniversary, Hasbro Inc. released a series of commemorative tins. The Return of the Jedi tin contained Darth Vader, a scout trooper, a rebel trooper, and Princess Leia. The tin was number six of six.


Notes and references

  1. Twitter favicon @HolocronKeeper (Leland Chee) on Twitter. “0 10 10-13 13 27 32 35 36” (screenshot)—The tweet in question refers to the number of in-universe years between the canon films and television shows. Using simple math, it can be deduced when Return of the Jedi takes place on the timeline.
  2. 2.000 2.001 2.002 2.003 2.004 2.005 2.006 2.007 2.008 2.009 2.010 2.011 2.012 2.013 2.014 2.015 2.016 2.017 2.018 2.019 2.020 2.021 2.022 2.023 2.024 2.025 2.026 2.027 2.028 2.029 2.030 2.031 2.032 2.033 2.034 2.035 2.036 2.037 2.038 2.039 2.040 2.041 2.042 2.043 2.044 2.045 2.046 2.047 2.048 2.049 2.050 2.051 2.052 2.053 2.054 2.055 2.056 2.057 2.058 2.059 2.060 2.061 2.062 2.063 2.064 2.065 2.066 2.067 2.068 2.069 2.070 2.071 2.072 2.073 2.074 2.075 2.076 2.077 2.078 2.079 2.080 2.081 2.082 2.083 2.084 2.085 2.086 2.087 2.088 2.089 2.090 2.091 2.092 2.093 2.094 2.095 2.096 2.097 2.098 2.099 2.100 2.101 2.102 2.103 2.104 2.105 2.106 2.107 2.108 2.109 2.110 2.111 2.112 2.113 2.114 2.115 2.116 2.117 2.118 2.119 2.120 2.121 2.122 2.123 2.124 2.125 2.126 2.127 2.128 2.129 2.130 2.131 2.132 2.133 2.134 2.135 2.136 2.137 2.138 2.139 2.140 2.141 2.142 2.143 2.144 2.145 2.146 2.147 2.148 2.149 2.150 2.151 2.152 2.153 2.154 2.155 2.156 2.157 2.158 2.159 2.160 2.161 2.162 2.163 2.164 2.165 2.166 2.167 2.168 2.169 2.170 2.171 2.172 2.173 2.174 2.175 2.176 2.177 2.178 SWicon Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi on (content now obsolete; backup link on
  3. Erik Bauersfeld a force in 'Star Wars' cosmos. SFGate. Retrieved on June 5, 2013.
  4. SWInsider "In the Star Wars Universe"—Star Wars Insider 47
  5. Hilton McRae. Aveleyman. Archived from the original on April 29, 2013. Retrieved on November 14, 2013.
  6. My Hilton McRae Star Wars Autograph. SW Autograph Collecting. Archived from the original on November 14, 2013. Retrieved on November 14, 2013.
  7. SWInsider "Watts the Story"—Star Wars Insider 101
  8. SWicon Biography: Nelson Hall on (content now obsolete; backup link on
  9. Williams, Robert. Star Wars - Archived from the original on December 3, 2011. Retrieved on January 4, 2013.
  10. SWInsider "Ask Lobot"—Star Wars Insider 125
  11. Afterburner with Bill Whittle at PJTV, 6:07
  13. Bring the Complete Collection Home: Star Wars: The Complete Saga on Blu-Ray (2011). Retrieved on July 8, 2011.

See also

External links

Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi
A Storybook · Choose Your Own Star Wars Adventure · Junior novelization
Mighty Chronicles · Novel · Random House · Storybook · Escape from Jabba's Palace
Comic adaption: 1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · (TPB) · Marvel Illustrated Version
PhotoComic · Infinities: 1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · Manga: 1 · 2 · 3 · 4
Classic Star Wars: Return of the Jedi: 1 · 2 · Trade paperback
Special Edition · Annual 1983 · Marvel Super Special 27: Return of the Jedi
Video games
1982 video game · Super Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
Activity books
Classic Star Wars book-and-tape · 1983 Coloring Book · 1984 Coloring Book · Ultimate Sticker Book
Behind the scenes
Annotated Screenplays · Illustrated Screenplay · The Art of · The Making of
Portfolio · Sketchbook · Star Wars: Behind the Magic
Guide and reference books
Galaxy Guide 5: Return of the Jedi (Second Edition)
The Complete Star Wars Trilogy Scrapbook · The Movie Trilogy Sourcebook
Star Wars Trilogy Sourcebook, Special Edition · Super Star Wars Return of the Jedi: Official Players Guide
Other material and merchandise
Radio drama (NPR Dramatization) · Soundtrack · Toy line · Trading card game · Who's Who
Star Wars Customizable Card Game: Jabba's Palace Limited · Enhanced Jabba's Palace
Jabba's Palace Sealed Deck · Endor Limited · Death Star II Limited · Special Edition Limited

Return of the Jedi Official Poster Monthly: 1 · 2 · 3 · 4

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