Return of the Jedi
RotJ became part of the National Film Registry!
This film has been preserved in the National Film Registry in 2021.
Return of the Jedi, (later retitled Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi) is a 1983 American epic space opera film directed by Richard Marquand, produced by Howard G. Kazanjian and written by George Lucas and Lawrence Kasdan. It is the third and final film of the original Star Wars trilogy. Return of the Jedi was originally intended to be the final film in the Star Wars saga chronologically until Disney acquired Lucasfilm in 2012 and created a new trilogy starting with Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
The year is 4 ABY (After the Battle of Yavin) and Luke Skywalker battles his father Darth Vader and the horrible crime lord Jabba the Hutt to save his comrades in the Rebel Alliance and triumph over the Galactic Empire. Han Solo and Princess Leia reaffirm their love and team up with Chewbacca, Lando Calrissian, the Ewoks and the droids C-3PO and R2-D2 to aid in the disruption of the Dark Side and the defeat of the evil Emperor Palpatine.
Why It Closes the Trilogy Well
- It's the ultimate finale to the Star Wars trilogy, with the Rebels making a final stand on the forest moon of Endor, going up against a huge army of Imperial Star Destroyers, TIE Fighters, Stormtroopers and even a Super Star Destroyer (the Executor).
- Han Solo returns after being frozen in carbonite and captured by Boba Fett at the end of The Empire Strikes Back.
- Luke finally completes his training with Yoda as he's become a patient, disciplined warrior who can match Darth Vader physically and intellectually. One notable example goes to Luke using the Force to lift C-3PO after his inability to lift his X-Wing in the previous film. While he does start to touch upon the dark side since he uses Force Choke on two guards at Jabba's and defeats Vader with anger, he refuses to succumb to it and decides he would rather die a Jedi than become Vader.
- Filled with many iconic scenes including The Sarlacc Pit sequence, the final duel between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, and the Battle of Endor, which is one of the most memorable and fantastic battles in the Star Wars universe, taking place both in space and on the ground.
- Great acting, especially by Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams and Ian McDiarmid.
- Luke, Han, Leia, and the other protagonists are still likable characters.
- The ewoks are cute and lovable creatures.
- The Emperor is a very intimidating villain despite never lifting a finger throughout majority of the movie as you can feel how sinister he is as he mainly uses his words instead of his actions to draw you in. What helps is Ian McDiarmid's performance.
- The special effects are pretty amazing by 1983 standards.
- Excellent cinematography.
- The story is well-written.
- Yoda's death is sad and depressing.
- Obi-Wan Kenobi's appearance in the movie is memorable.
- Luke's conversation with Darth Vader before meeting the Emperor is emotional.
- When Luke says that his father is truly dead, Darth Vader starts to feel sadness after hearing that.
- An emotional conclusion to Anakin Skywalker's story, as he redeems himself in the final moments of his life by saving his son and destroying Darth Sidious, thus restoring balance to the force and avenging the fallen Jedi.
- A really touching moment where Vader accepts death by having Luke take his helmet off so he can look at Luke with his own eyes and not the monster he had become. He then admits to Luke about how he was right about him as a way of saying goodbye before passing away.
- It has some of the most emotional scenes in Star Wars history, such as Anakin Skywalker's final redemption and funeral.
- Iconic dialogue such as "It's a trap!".
- The infamous Special Editions at least gave us the "Victory Celebration" sequence, which works even better than the original "Yub Nub" and showed planets like Naboo and Coruscant celebrating the Empire's downfall.
- Hayden Christensen replacing Sebastian Shaw as Anakin's force ghost, while divisive, is a pretty nice touch and a good way to connect the prequels to the original trilogy.
- An amazing ending that many fans still consider to be the true conclusion to the Star Wars saga. With Darth Sidious dead and the Galactic Empire toppled, the galaxy can now enter a new era of peace.
- Amazing soundtrack.
- We can see many planets celebrating since from A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back such as Tatooine, Bespin, and Endor and even new ones will come up soon such as Naboo and Coruscant.
- In 1997, George Lucas created the Star Wars "Special Editions", which included unnecessary additions to the original cuts of the movies, most notably an excess amount of CGI and recasting some of the characters. Lucas kept making more changes to them until Disney bought out Lucasfilm in 2012. Since then, they have never officially released the original theatrical cuts of the films on DVD, Blu-Ray or digitally, except for the bonus discs for a 2006 DVD release, which were sourced from the 1993 Laserdisc releases.
- The villains do some dumb things.
- Jabba's love of theatrics backfires with both the Rancor pit and the Sarlacc. In the Rancor's case, the concept is sound but the switch that controls the gate was left within reach of its victims.
- Palpatine plans his strategy around breaking the morale of the Rebellion before destroying them utterly, which he sees as a means to the end of turning Luke to the Dark Side. At no point does he take into account the possibility that the Rebels might defeat his inefficiently deployed fleet, nor that Anakin might not like seeing his son tortured to death in front of him.
- The way Boba Fett "dies" is silly and disappointing as Han accidentally hits Boba's jetpack, which sends him flying, crashing, and then falling into the Sarlacc Pit, which then burps.
- Fortunately, it was later confirmed in novelizations and the Mandalorian TV Show that Boba Fett managed to climb out of the Pit.
- Several of the fights between the Stormtroopers and the Ewoks, who are so small they can't possibly pose a physical threat to full-grown men in armor. In the words of Rifftrax, it looks like the Ewoks gently tap them to death. The intent was probably to show them gaining the upper hand in spite of their primitive equipment through sneaky guerrilla tactics, but it doesn't quite translate.
- Many fans consider that the Ewoks should've been replaced by the Wookies and that the team should've been on Kashyyk instead of Endor; as it would've made much more sense for the Stormtroopers to lose to Wookies than some teddy bears.
- The Ewoks in general: They feel out of place given how serious the trilogy has been so far and many consider that it was simply an attempt of the franchise to aim at children.
- To quote Dante from Clerks: "All Jedi had was a bunch of muppets."
The film received overwhelmingly positive reviews from both critics and fans of the Star Wars series, though some consider it to be inferior in comparison to its two iconic predecessors, though nonetheless, it has been agreed that Return of the Jedi is a perfect conclusion of the Star Wars saga. It has an 83% critical rating and a 94% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes with an average rating of 7.25/10, based on 98 reviews from critics. The site's critics' consensus reads "Though failing to reach the cinematic heights of its predecessors, Return of the Jedi remains an entertaining sci-fi adventure and a fitting end to the classic trilogy". On Metacritic, it had a 58/100 critical rating and an 8.3/10 audience rating on the same site, a 4.0/5 on Letterboxd, and an 8.3/10 on IMDb.
- The film was originally subtitled "Revenge of the Jedi", but was later changed to "Return of the Jedi" because of the fact that revenge is against the moral codes of the Jedi.
- David Lynch was the first person contacted about being director of the film, but he instead turned it down in favor of Dune (1984).