Return of the Jedi

Return of the Jedi

Synopsis of Movie

“Soon the Rebellion will be crushed and young Skywalker will be one of us.”

The original Star Wars trilogy came to a close with 1983’s Return of the Jedi, introducing the world to the slug-like gangster Jabba the Hutt and a forest full of cute and furry Ewoks. Originally titled Revenge of the Jedi, this installment was directed by Richard Marquand, with Lawrence Kasdan again scripting from executive producer George Lucas’ story.

"Episode Six" begins with Han Solo still encased in frozen carbonite and held captive at the Tatooine palace of Jabba the Hutt. Lando, C3PO, R2D2, Leia and Chewbacca infiltrate, and a disguised Leia releases Han from his frozen prison. Jabba, aware of the ruse, takes the entire group captive, with Leia serving as a sort of harem princess.

Enter Luke Skywalker, now a fully-fledged Jedi. Jabba feeds the young Jedi to the ravenous Rancor, but Luke defeats the beast, sending Jabba into a rage. The vile Hutt sentences Luke, Han and Chewie to death in the fearsome Sarlacc pit, but after a tense battle, the heroes escape to safety.

Meanwhile, the Empire has begun work on a new, more powerful Death Star, with the Emperor himself overseeing the finishing touches. The Rebel forces split in two: Lando’s group pilots an assault on the Death Star, while Han leads a ground force to sabotage the generator which powers the Death Star’s protective shield. Han, Luke, Leia, Chewie and the droids land on the forest moon of Endor, and after a chase on Imperial speeder bikes, Leia is taken in by the primitive, diminutive Ewoks. The rest of the group ends up captured by the Ewoks as well, but when the little furballs see the glittering golden hide of Threepio, they hail him as a god.

The group recruits the Ewoks for their generator assault, while Luke announces the truth of his lineage to Leia. Determined to end the conflict on his own, Luke gives himself up to Darth Vader, hoping to convert the Dark Lord to the good side of the Force. Soon, the battle is raging on three fronts: Han, Leia and their team assault the generator, Lando and his armada take on the Death Star, and inside the Death Star, Luke wages a war of will (and lightsabers) against Darth Vader and the supremely evil Emperor.

The three years since The Empire Strikes Back did nothing to cool down enthusiasm for the series, and Return of the Jedi opened with the requisite long lines and mass fandom hysteria, soon becoming one of the biggest box office successes of all time. The wee fuzzy Ewoks proved to be a hit with young Jedis, spinning off into two made-for-television movies (The Ewok Adventure and Ewoks: The Battle for Endor) and an animated series (Ewoks). Threepio and Artoo also got a short-lived animated series, Droids: The Adventures of R2D2 and C3PO, in the 1985-86 TV season.

Fans waited patiently, but rabidly, for additional Star Wars installments, and were thrown a semi-fresh morsel in 1997 with the Special Edition re-releases of the original trilogy. Return of the Jedi had a very noticeable makeover, with a new musical number thrown in at Jabba’s palace and an altered ending showing celebrations across the Empire. The promised new trilogy began in earnest in 1999, as Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace arrived in theaters and Star Wars fandemonium began anew.

Movie Release History

1977 - Star Wars
1980 - The Empire Strikes Back
1983 - Return of the Jedi
1999 - Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace

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Movie Studio

Lucasfilm, 20th Century Fox


Luke Skywalker Mark Hamill
General Han Solo Harrison Ford
Princess Leia Organa Carrie Fisher
General Lando Calrissian Billy Dee Williams
C-3PO Anthony Daniels
Chewbacca Peter Mayhew
Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker Sebastian Shaw
Emperor Palpatine Ian McDiarmid
Jedi Master Yoda Frank Oz
Darth Vader James Earl Jones
Darth Vader David Prowse
Jedi Knight Obi-Wan (Ben) Kenobi Alec Guinness
R2-D2 Kenny Baker
Paploo Kenny Baker
Moff Jerjerrod Michael Pennington
Admiral Piett Kenneth Colley

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