After Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) and Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) rescue Han Solo (Harrison Ford) from Jabba the Hutt, the Rebel Alliance plans to destroy the second Death Star, currently under construction and overseen by The Emperor himself! With the death of Jedi Master Yoda, Luke must complete his training and confront his father, Darth Vader, thus becoming a true Jedi Knight!
After the phenomenal success of Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back, creator/producer George Lucas had to face some hard decisions with completing his saga. Since relinquishing his directorial duties to Irvin Kershner for Episode V and choosing not to bow down to Hollywood/20th Century Fox politics such as choosing to leave the Directors' Guild and Writers' Guild after having to pay fines for his independent, creative choices. Not to mention the fact that Lucas had put up the money for the production himself yet again. For the third installment of the Star Wars saga, Lucas originally wanted his friend and co-creator of Indiana Jones Steven Spielerg to direct, but eventually settled for relatively unknown Welsh director Richard Marquand.
By the end of Episode V, the popular character of Han Solo had been frozen in 'carbonite' and taken away to Jabba the Hutt by Boba Fett (Jeremy Bulloch). Harrison Ford, who had become equally popular as the character of Indiana Jones, did not originally want to return, but Lucas insisted.
While the third movie was originally titled Revenge of the Jedi, Lucas made a last minute decision to change it to Return of the Jedi just weeks before it's release. During the production of the film, it was given the alternate title of "Blue Harvest" to prevent any story leaks. Return of the Jedi was a major breakthrough in both film production and special effects. The movie introduced some new major characters that would become vital to the saga including Jabba the Hutt (also a technological difficulty and triumph, before re-introducing him in the Special Edition of Episode IV) and the first full appearance of The Emperor (a.k.a. Palpatine, Ian McDiarmid) who had previously appeared as a hologram in Episode V originally played by Clive Revill, pre-Special Edition). One of the most popular new characters introduced in Episode VI was Wicket, the Ewok (Warwick Davis), who was the most prominently featured Ewok in the film. Other new elements included in Episode VI were Luke's new green lightsaber and Leia's slave outfit (which has become one of the most popular cosplay choices for girl Star Wars fans at conventions). While Episode VI was the most technologically sophisticated and had the highest budget of any of the Star Wars Trilogy, there has always been a huge schism with fans whether Episode V and VI is the best.
|"Revenge of the Jedi" Poster|
|1997 Special Edition Poster|
No matter if you think Episode VI is better than V, or if you think the original is the best, Return of the Jedi still remains my personal favorite since I was a kid for several reasons. Ultimately, it was the final chapter in the trilogy, successfully ending the saga and completing the epic hero's journey of Luke Skywalker. Even though this year marks the 30th Anniversary of Return of the Jedi, the Star Wars Saga is far from over. As many of you know last year, the Walt Disney Corporation acquired Lucasfilm and it was announced that J.J. Abrams is to direct Episode VII set to be released in 2015.
Even after 36 years, the Star Wars Saga is still alive and well today! I hope you are just as excited as I am and can't wait to see what's going to happen next. "May the Force be with you!"