Return of the Jedi was released thirty years ago today on May 25th, 1983. Considered by some to be the weakest movie of the Original Trilogy, I still love it. It’s changed my life, as every Star Wars movie has, and I thought I would spend a moment today talking about my favorite parts of the movie and some interesting facts about it in the 5-1-5-0 fashion…(except I didn’t know what to do for “0”, so we’re sticking with 5-1-5).
Return of the Jedi, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways…
- The Endor bike chase scene. Wow, I just loved that scene! Whipping through the forests at top speed and Luke and Leia taking out the scout troopers is still exciting. Plus, we get to see what I believe is Leia tapping into the Force a little bit to guide her as she chased the other speeder bikes.
- We get to see Luke as a bona fide Jedi. Right from the start of the movie when he enters Jabba’s Palace in the Old Republic Jedi brown cloak, to the end of the movie when the Emperor is trying to convert him to the dark side of the Force and he says “You’ve failed, your Highness. I am a Jedi, like my father before me.” Oooo…I still get goosebumps when he says that and then throws away his lightsaber.
- One of my favorite pieces of music by the wonderful John Williams is in this movie. On my CD that I got years ago (14 years ago maybe?), the track is actually titled “Return of the Jedi”, but on current soundtrack versions it is known as “The Pit of Carkoon/Sail Barge Assault.” Listen and love. (I guess WordPress doesn’t let you embed videos coming in at a certain time) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sT34sc33q0A#t=0m58s
- Finding out Leia was Luke’s sister. Yes, a little weird, but also, like, whoa! Luke has a sister! And…wait…wasn’t he just crushing on her in the last movie? And didn’t they kiss? Oh, eew. But still, Luke has a sister.
- Vader redeems himself and then dies. How perfect. Could you imagine if he turns back to the light side and then lives? How do you explain that to the rest of the Alliance and universe? No, wait, he’s actually good! I swear! They would have to start calling him Anakin, change his outfit to white, oh geez…what a headache. He saved everyone the hassle by dying after he came back to the good side.
And now to my favorite lines from the movie:
- “It’s a trap!” –Admiral Ackbar
Finally, some little known facts about this great movie.
- As I mentioned in an earlier SioF (yes, I just made up my own acronym for Scene it on Friday), Lando was originally supposed to die and go down with the Millenium Falcon and this was only changed at the last minute. Hence the line that Han says when about to depart for Endor and staring at the Falcon, “Yeah, I just got a funny feeling. Like I’m never gonna see her again.”
- Harrison Ford was not contracted to return to ROTJ (no pun intended) and so suggested to Lucas that they kill off his character through self-sacrifice as it would make the movie more poignant. Director Kasdan thought it would be a good idea, but Lucas vetoed it. I am torn on this one. I would have loved to see a death of one main character in ROTJ, but I’m glad it wasn’t Han.
- Yoda was not originally supposed to be in ROTJ, but it was changed so that Luke would have a second confirmation that Vader was really his father.
- Most fans know this, but ROTJ was filmed under the title of “Blue Harvest” so that they could attempt to film in peace away from rabid fans and keep spoilers from being leaked. I heard it worked most of the time.
- The original title of the movie was supposed to be Revenge of the Jedi. Lucas later changed it because he felt that Jedi do not seek revenge. The original movie poster also had the lightsaber colors between Luke and Vader switched. Episode III’s title, Revenge of the Sith, is a nod to this earlier title.
Take some time today to enjoy ROTJ if you can and feel free to let me know how you feel about this movie. May the Force be with you!