|Star Wars Episode VI:|
Return of the Jedi
|Theatrical release poster|
|Directed by:||Richard Marquand|
|Produced by:||Howard Kazanjian|
|Music by:||John Williams|
|Cinematography:||Alan Hume, B.S.C.|
|Distributed by:||20th Century FoxTemplate:Ref|
Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (also known as Return of the Jedi) is a 1983 American epic space opera film directed by Richard Marquand and written by George Lucas and Lawrence Kasdan, with Lucas as executive producer. It is chronologically the sixth film in the Star Wars franchise and the first film to use THX technology. The film is set approximately one year after Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. The evil Galactic Empire, under the direction of the ruthless Sith Lord Darth Sidious, is building a second Death Star in order to crush the Rebel Alliance. Since the Emperor plans to personally oversee the final stages of its construction, the Rebel Fleet launches a full-scale attack on the Death Star in order to prevent its completion and kill Sidious, effectively bringing an end to the Empire. Meanwhile, Luke Skywalker, a Rebel leader and Jedi Knight, struggles to bring Vader, who is his father and himself a fallen Jedi, back from the Dark Side of the Force.
Steven Spielberg, David Lynch and David Cronenberg were considered to direct the project before Marquand signed on as director. The production team relied on Lucas' storyboards during pre-production. While writing the shooting script, Lucas, Kasdan, Marquand, and producer Howard Kazanjian spent two weeks in conference discussing ideas to construct it. Kazanjian's schedule pushed shooting to a few weeks earlier to allow Industrial Light & Magic to work on the film's effects in post-production. Filming took place in England, California, and Arizona from January to Template:MONTHNAME 1982 , with Lucas handling second unit work. Heavy secrecy surrounded production and the film was given the title Blue Harvest to prevent price gouging.
The film was released in theaters on Template:MONTHNAME 25, 1983 , receiving mostly positive reviews. The film grossed over $475 million worldwide. Several home video and theatrical releases and revisions to the film followed over the next 20 years. Star Wars continued with Episode I: The Phantom Menace as part of the film series' prequel trilogy. A sequel, Star Wars Episode VII, was announced on October 30, 2012 and is planned for a 2015 release.
Luke Skywalker initiates a plan to rescue Han Solo from the crime lord Jabba the Hutt with the help of Princess Leia, Lando Calrissian, Chewbacca, C-3PO and R2-D2. Leia infiltrates Jabba's palace on Tatooine disguised as a bounty hunter and releases Han from a block of carbonite, but she is captured and enslaved. Luke arrives soon afterward and allows himself to be captured. After Luke survives a battle with the Rancor, Jabba sentences Luke and Han to be executed by the Sarlacc. Luke breaks free and a large battle erupts, during which Leia strangles Jabba to death, Han knocks Boba Fett into the gaping maw of the Sarlacc and Luke destroys Jabba's sail barge. While Han and Leia meet with the other Rebels, Luke returns to Dagobah, only to find that Yoda is dying. With his last breaths, Yoda confirms that Darth Vader is Luke's father; he also mentions "another Skywalker". The spirit of Obi-Wan Kenobi reveals that the "other Skywalker" Yoda spoke of is Luke's twin sister, who Luke discovers is Leia. Obi-Wan then tells Luke that he must confront Vader again to defeat the Empire.
The Rebel Alliance learns that the Empire has been constructing a new Death Star, and hatches a plan to destroy it. Han leads a strike team to destroy the battle station's shield generator on the forest moon of Endor, allowing a squadron of starfighters to enter the incomplete superstructure and destroy the station from within. The strike team, with Luke in tow, travels to Endor in an Imperial shuttle; Vader senses Luke's presence on the shuttle, but lets them through so that they will be ambushed by the Imperial forces lying in wait on Endor. Sensing Vader's presence, Luke fears he is endangering the mission.
On Endor, Luke and his companions encounter a tribe of Ewoks and form a partnership with them. Later, Luke confesses to Leia that she is his sister, that Vader is their father and that he is leaving to confront him. Luke surrenders to Imperial troops, so that they will bring him to Vader. He unsuccessfully tries to convince Vader to turn from the dark side of the Force, but Vader takes Luke to the Death Star to meet Darth Sidious, his Sith master and Emperor of the Empire.
Luke learns that the Death Star is fully operational and set to destroy the Rebellion. On Endor, the Rebels are captured by Imperial forces, but a surprise counterattack by the Ewoks allows the Rebels to launch an attack. Meanwhile, Lando leads the Rebel fleet in the Millennium Falcon to the Death Star, only to find the station's shield is still up and the Imperial fleet waiting for them. Sidious tempts Luke to give in to his anger and join the dark side, and Luke and Vader engage in a lightsaber duel. Vader discovers that Luke has a sister, and threatens to turn her to the dark side. Luke snaps and attacks Vader, severing his father's right hand. Sidious entreats Luke to kill Vader and take his place; Luke steps back from the brink and refuses, declaring himself a Jedi. Sidious attacks him with Force lightning. Unable to watch his son suffer, Vader turns on Sidious and throws him down a reactor shaft to his death, dooming himself to die in the process. With his dying breaths, the redeemed Anakin Skywalker asks Luke to remove his mask so he can look on his son, just for once, with his own eyes instead of through the mask, and tell Leia that there was good in him after all.
On Endor, the strike team, with the help of the Ewoks, defeats the Imperial forces and destroys the shield generator, allowing the Rebel fleet to launch a final assault on the Death Star. Lando leads the remaining ships into the station's core and destroys the main reactor. Luke escapes on Sidious's Imperial shuttle with his father's body before the Death Star explodes, while Lando escapes in the Falcon. On Endor, Han tells Leia that he knows she loves Luke and offers to step aside; she tells him that Luke is her brother and kisses him. That evening, Luke returns to Endor and cremates his father's armor on a funeral pyre. As the Rebels celebrate the end of the Empire, Luke sees the spirits of Obi-Wan, Yoda and Anakin Skywalker watching over them.
- Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker: In the year since his encounter with Darth Vader in Cloud City, Luke has nearly completed his Jedi training.
- Harrison Ford as Han Solo: Frozen in carbonite by Darth Vader in Cloud City, and taken to Jabba the Hutt, Han is freed by Princess Leia, only to be sentenced to death by Jabba the Hutt. He escapes with the group after Luke arrives at Jabba's palace.
- Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia Organa: A princess from Alderaan, Leia has been aiding Luke in his search for Han. It is later revealed that she is actually Luke's twin sister.
- Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian: After Cloud City was taken over by the Empire, Lando joined the Rebel Alliance, and aided Luke in his search for Han Solo. He would later use the Millennium Falcon, Han Solo's ship, to lead an attack on the Death Star.
- Anthony Daniels as C-3PO: Luke Skywalker's protocol droid for human-cyborg relations, 3PO is instrumental in establishing friendly relations between the Rebels and the Ewoks on Endor, who mistakenly believe him to be a god.
- Kenny Baker as R2-D2: Luke Skywalker's astromech droid.
- Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca: Han Solo's Wookiee co-pilot and best friend, introduced in A New Hope.
- David Prowse as Darth Vader: Vader has been relentlessly continuing his search for Luke, but he is set off course when the Emperor sends him to Endor to oversee the construction of the new Death Star and to prepare for the Rebel strike. James Earl Jones provided the voice of Vader.
- Ian McDiarmid as Darth Sidious: Simply known as "The Emperor", Sidious is the supreme ruler of the Galactic Empire and a Dark Lord of the Sith. He now plans to destroy the Alliance with the new Death Star and turn Luke Skywalker to the dark side of the Force.
- Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan "Ben" Kenobi: Struck down by Vader in A New Hope, Obi-Wan continues to offer guidance to Luke as a Jedi spirit and told Luke the truth about Leia being his sister.
- Sebastian Shaw as Anakin Skywalker: Luke's father, Anakin, was a Jedi Knight before being seduced by the dark side of the Force and becoming Darth Vader. Shaw was partly replaced by Hayden Christensen in the 2004 DVD release of the film.
- Frank Oz performing Yoda. After living for 900 years, Yoda finally prepares to become one with the Force and told Luke that Vader is truly his father.
- Denis Lawson as Wedge Antilles: Wedge is now the leader of Rogue Squadron, and he prepares to aid (now General) Lando Calrissian in the fighter attack on the Death Star.
- Kenneth Colley as Admiral Piett: Piett, one of the few officers under Vader's command to survive his wrath, commands the Imperial Fleet at Endor from the Executor.
- Warwick Davis as Wicket: An Ewok who leads Leia and eventually her friends to the Ewok tribe. Kenny Baker was originally cast as Wicket, but was replaced by 11-year-old Warwick Davis after falling ill with food poisoning on the morning of the shoot. Davis had no previous acting experience and was cast only after his grandmother had discovered an open call for dwarfs for the new Star Wars film.
- Jeremy Bulloch as Boba Fett: A bounty hunter who, after capturing and delivering Han Solo to Jabba the Hutt, stays on at the crime lord's palace and engages in the battle above the Sarlacc.
- Caroline Blakiston as Mon Mothma: Mon Mothma is a co-founder of the Rebel Alliance and also serves as its leader. She explains the mission of destroying the Death Star to the Alliance.
As with the previous film, Lucas personally funded Return of the Jedi. Lucas approached David Lynch, who had been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director for The Elephant Man in 1980, to helm Return of the Jedi, but Lynch declined in order to direct Dune. David Cronenberg was also offered the chance to direct the film, but he declined the offer to make Videodrome and The Dead Zone. Lucas eventually chose Richard Marquand. Some reports have suggested that Lucas was so heavily involved in the shooting of Return of the Jedi that he could be considered a second or a co-director. It is likely that he directed much of the second unit work personally as the shooting threatened to go over schedule; this is a function Lucas had willingly performed on previous occasions when he had only officially been producing a film (e.g. Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Empire Strikes Back, More American Graffiti). Lucas himself has admitted to being on the set frequently due to Marquand's relative inexperience with special effects. Lucas praised Marquand as a "very nice person who worked well with actors". Marquand did note that Lucas kept a conspicuous presence on set, joking, "It is rather like trying to direct King Lear – with Shakespeare in the next room!"
The screenplay was written by Lawrence Kasdan and Lucas (with uncredited contributions by David Peoples and Marquand), based on Lucas' story. Kasdan claims he told Lucas that Return of the Jedi was "a weak title", and Lucas later decided to name the film Revenge of the Jedi. The screenplay itself was not created until rather late in pre-production, well after a production schedule and budget had been created by Kazanjian and Marquand had been hired, which was unusual for a film. Instead, the production team relied on Lucas' story and rough draft in order to commence work with the art department. When it came time to formally write a shooting script, Lucas, Kasdan, Marquand, and Kazanjian spent two weeks in conference discussing ideas; Kasdan used tape transcripts of these meetings to then construct the script. The issue of whether Harrison Ford would return for the final film arose during pre-production. Unlike the other stars of the first film, Ford had not contracted to do two sequels, and Raiders of the Lost Ark had made him an even bigger star. Ford suggested that Han Solo be killed through self-sacrifice. Kasdan concurred, saying it should happen near the beginning of the film to instill doubt as to whether the others would survive, but Lucas was vehemently against it and rejected the concept. Yoda was originally not meant to appear in the film, but Marquand strongly felt that returning to Dagobah was essential to resolve the dilemma raised by the previous film. The inclusion led Lucas to insert a scene in which Yoda confirms that Darth Vader is Luke's father because, after a discussion with a children's psychologist, he did not want younger moviegoers to dismiss Vader's claim as a lie. Many ideas from the original script were left out or changed. For instance, the Ewoks were going to be Wookiees, the Millennium Falcon would be used in the arrival at the forest moon of Endor, and Obi-Wan Kenobi would return to life from his spectral existence in the Force.
Gary Kurtz, who produced Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back, claimed in 2010 that the ongoing success with Star Wars merchandise and toys led George Lucas to reconsider the idea of killing off Han Solo in the middle part of the film during a raid on an Imperial base. Luke Skywalker was also to have walked off alone and exhausted like the hero in a Spaghetti Western, but Lucas opted for a happier ending to encourage higher merchandise sales.
Filming began on January 11, 1982 and lasted through May 20, 1982, a schedule six weeks shorter than The Empire Strikes Back. Kazanjian's schedule pushed shooting as early as possible in order to give Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) as much time as possible to work on effects, and left some crew members dubious of their ability to be fully prepared for the shoot. Working on a budget of $32,500,000, Lucas was determined to avoid going overbudget as with The Empire Strikes Back. Producer Howard Kazanjian estimated that using ILM (owned wholly by Lucasfilm) for special effects saved the production approximately $18,000,000. However, the fact that Lucasfilm was a non-union company made acquiring shooting locations more difficult and more expensive, even though Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back had been big hits. The project was given the working title Blue Harvest with a tagline of "Horror Beyond Imagination." This disguised what the production crew was really filming from fans and the press, and also prevented price gouging by service providers.
The first stage of production started with 78 days at Elstree Studios in England, where the film occupied all nine stages. The shoot commenced with a scene later deleted from the finished film where the heroes get caught in a sandstorm as they leave Tatooine. (This was the only major sequence cut from the film during editing.) While attempting to film Luke Skywalker's battle with the rancor beast, Lucas insisted on trying to create the scene in the same style as Toho's Godzilla films by using a stunt performer inside a suit. The production team made several attempts, but were unable to create an adequate result. Lucas eventually relented and decided to film the rancor as a high-speed puppet. In April, the crew moved to the Yuma Desert in Arizona for two weeks of Tatooine exteriors. Production then moved to the redwood forests of northern California near Crescent City where two weeks were spent shooting the Endor forest exteriors, and then concluded at ILM in San Rafael, California for about ten days of bluescreen shots. One of two "skeletal" post-production units shooting background matte plates spent a day in Death Valley. The other was a special Steadicam unit shooting forest backgrounds from June 15–17, 1982 for the speeder chase near the middle of the film. Steadicam inventor Garrett Brown personally operated these shots as he walked through a disguised path inside the forest shooting at less than one frame per second. By walking at about Template:Convert and projecting the footage at 24 frame/s, the motion seen in the film appeared as if it were moving at around Template:Convert.
- Main article: Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (soundtrack)
John Williams composed and conducted the film's musical score with performances by the London Symphony Orchestra. Orchestration credits also include Thomas Newman. The initial release of the film's soundtrack was on the RSO Records label in the United States. Sony Classical Records acquired the rights to the classic trilogy scores in 2004 after gaining the rights to release the second trilogy soundtracks (The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones). In the same year, Sony Classical re-pressed the 1997 RCA Victor release of Return of the Jedi along with the other two films in the trilogy. The set was released with the new artwork mirroring the first DVD release of the film. Despite the Sony digital re-mastering, which minimally improved the sound heard only on high-end stereos, this 2004 release is essentially the same as the 1997 RCA Victor release.
Meanwhile, special effects work at ILM quickly stretched the company to its operational limits. While the R&D work and experience gained from the previous two films in the trilogy allowed for increased efficiency, this was offset by the desire to have the closing film raise the bar set by each of these films. A compounding factor was the intention of several departments of ILM to either take on other film work or decrease staff during slow cycles. Instead, as soon as production began, the entire company found it necessary to remain running 20 hours a day on six-day weeks in order to meet their goals by April 1, 1983. Of about 900 special effects shots, all VistaVision optical effects remained in-house, since ILM was the only company capable of using the format, while about 400 4-perf opticals were subcontracted to outside effects houses. Progress on the opticals was severely retarded for a time due to ILM rejecting about Template:Convert of film when the film perforations failed image registration and steadiness tests.
Title Changed from "Revenge" to "Return"
The original teaser trailer for the film carried the name Revenge of the Jedi.  In December 1982 Lucas decided that “Revenge” was not appropriate and returned to his original title. However, by that time thousands of "Revenge" teaser posters (with artwork by Drew Struzan) had been printed and distributed. (Note that the poster reverses the correct color of the light sabers; Luke is seen wielding a red lightsaber while Vader wields a blue one. Lucasfilm stopped the shipping of the posters and sold the remaining stock of 6,800 posters to Star Wars fan club members for $9.50. These posters now sell for $250 – $500 depending on condition. (Bootlegs of these posters exist and can be differentiated.)
Return of the Jedi's theatrical release took place on May 25, 1983. It was originally slated to be May 27, but was subsequently changed to coincide with the date of the 1977 release of the original Star Wars film. With a massive worldwide marketing campaign, illustrator Tim Reamer created the image for the movie poster and other advertising. At the time of its release, the film was advertised on posters and merchandise as simply Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, despite its on-screen "Episode VI" distinction. The original film was later re-released to theaters in 1985.
In 1997, for the 20th anniversary of the release of Star Wars (retitled Episode IV: A New Hope), Lucas released The Star Wars Trilogy: Special Edition. Along with the two other films in the original trilogy, Return of the Jedi was re-released on March 14, 1997 with a number of changes and additions, which included the insertion of several alien band members in Jabba's throne room, the modification of the Sarlaac to include a beak, the replacement of music at the closing scene, and a montage of different alien worlds celebrating the fall of the Empire. According to Lucas, Return of the Jedi required fewer changes than the previous two films because it is more emotionally driven than the others. The changes have caused controversy among the fans as some believe that they detract from the films.
Although a critical and commercial hit, grossing more than $475 million worldwide, Return of the Jedi has, in the decades that followed, been considered by many critics and fans to be a slightly lesser achievement than its predecessors. At Rotten Tomatoes, Return of the Jedi's 79% approval rating is surpassed by The Empire Strikes Back (97%), A New Hope (94%), and the final film of the prequel trilogy, Revenge of the Sith (80%). On Metacritic, the film received a score of 52% based on 14 reviews from mainstream critics, and The Empire Strikes Back received a score of 78% based on 15 reviews.
Contemporary critics were largely complimentary. In 1983, movie critic Roger Ebert gave the film four stars out of four, and James Kendrick of Q Network Film Desk described Return of the Jedi as "a magnificent experience." The film was also featured on the May 23, 1983 TIME magazine cover issue (where it was labeled "Star Wars III"), with the reviewer Gerald Clarke saying that while it was not as exciting as the first Star Wars film, it was "better and more satisfying" than The Empire Strikes Back, now considered by many as the best of the original trilogy. Vincent Canby, who enjoyed the first film and despised the second, felt that Return of the Jedi was the worst of all three. According to Rotten Tomatoes, Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune was somewhat critical of the film during the 1997 re-release, stating that it "Lack[s] the humanity and richly drawn characters that brighten Star Wars." However, Siskel later gave Return of the Jedi thumbs up on the television show Siskel & Ebert during the release of The Star Wars Trilogy: Special Edition, saying: "This is my least favorite of the three episodes. That doesn't make it bad, the others are just a lot better." Siskel went on to praise the opening sequence at the Sarlaac pit and the chase sequence involving speeder bikes, but he states his dislike for the closing scenes involving the Ewoks. The New York Post's Rex Reed negatively reviewed the film, stating "Let's not pretend we're watching art!"
At the 56th Academy Awards in 1984, Richard Edlund, Dennis Muren, Ken Ralston, and Phil Tippett received the "Special Achievement Award for Visual Effects." Norman Reynolds, Fred Hole, James L. Schoppe, and Michael Ford were nominated for "Best Art Direction/Set Decoration". Ben Burtt received a nomination for "Best Sound Effects Editing". John Williams received the nomination for "Best Music, Original Score". Burtt, Gary Summers, Randy Thom and Tony Dawe all received the nominations for "Best Sound". At the 1984 BAFTA Awards, Edlund, Muren, Ralston, and Kit West won for "Best Special Visual Effects". Tippett and Stuart Freeborn were also nominated for "Best Makeup". Reynolds received a nomination for "Best Production Design/Art Direction". Burtt, Dawe, and Summers also received nominations for "Best Sound". Williams was also nominated "Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television Special". The film also won for "Best Dramatic Presentation", the older award for science fiction and fantasy in film, at the 1984 Hugo Awards.
While the action set pieces – particularly the Sarlacc battle sequence, 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 Imperial stormtroopers remains a bone of contention. Fans are also divided on the likelihood of Ewoks (being an extremely primitive race of small creatures armed with sticks and rocks) defeating an armed ground force comprising the Empire's "best troops". Lucas has defended the scenario, saying that the Ewoks' purpose was to distract the Imperial troops and that the Ewoks did not really win.
American Film Institute Lists
The original theatrical version of Return of the Jedi was released on VHS and Laserdisc several times between 1986 and 1995, followed by releases of the Special Edition in the same formats between 1997 and 2000. Some of these releases contained featurettes; some were individual releases of just this film, while others were boxed sets of all three original films. On September 21, 2004, the Special Editions of all three original films were released in a boxed set on DVD (along with a bonus disc). It was digitally restored and remastered, with additional changes made by George Lucas. The DVD also featured English subtitles, Dolby Digital 5.1 EX surround sound, and commentaries by George Lucas, Ben Burtt, Dennis Muren, and Carrie Fisher. The bonus disc included documentaries including Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy and several featurettes including "The Characters of Star Wars", "The Birth of the Lightsaber", and "The Legacy of Star Wars". Also included were teasers, trailers, TV spots, still galleries, and a demo for Star Wars: Battlefront.
With the release of Revenge of the Sith, which depicts how and why Anakin Skywalker turned to the dark side of the Force, Lucas once again altered Return of the Jedi to bolster the relationship between the original trilogy and the prequel trilogy. The original and Special Edition versions of Return of the Jedi featured British theatre actor Sebastian Shaw playing both the dying Anakin Skywalker and his ghost. In the DVD release, Shaw's portrayal of Anakin's ghost is replaced by Hayden Christensen, who portrayed Anakin in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. The change drew further fan criticism directed toward Lucas. All three films in the original Star Wars trilogy have since been released, individually, on DVD. These versions were originally slated to only be available from September 12, 2006 to December 31, 2006, although they remained in print and were packaged with the 2004 versions again in a new set on November 4, 2008. Although the 2004 versions in these sets each feature an audio commentary, no other extra special features were included to commemorate the original cuts.
A Blu-ray Disc version of the Star Wars saga was announced for release in 2011 during Star Wars Celebration V. Several deleted scenes from Return of the Jedi were included for the Blu-ray version, including a sandstorm sequence following the Battle at the Sarlacc Pit, a scene featuring Moff Jerjerrod and Death Star officers during the Battle of Endor, and a scene where Darth Vader communicates with Luke via the Force as Skywalker is assembling his new lightsaber before he infiltrates Jabba's palace. On January 6, 2011, the release was announced for September 2011 in three different editions.
- Main article: Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (novel)
The novelization of Return of the Jedi was written by James Kahn and was released on May 12, 1983, thirteen days before the film's release. It contains many scenes that were deleted from the final cut as well as certain assertions which have since been superseded by the prequel trilogy. For example, Kahn writes that Owen Lars is the brother of Obi-Wan Kenobi, while in Attack of the Clones he is instead shown to be the stepbrother of Anakin Skywalker. When Leia is captured by Jabba, instead of him saying "I'm sure" to her warning of her powerful friends, he says, "I'm sure, but in the meantime, I shall thoroughly enjoy the pleasure of your company." Additionally, instead of simply licking his lips as seen in the movie, he is described as planting "a beastly kiss squarely on the Princess's lips." Later, the Force spirit of Obi-Wan reveals that he was able to hide Luke and Leia from Anakin because he did not know that his wife was pregnant when he "left," presumably when he became Vader. This is partly contradicted by Revenge of the Sith, in which Anakin is unaware his wife was expecting twins and believes their child died with her. A facet of the story which was made more clear in the novel was the confusion which overtook the Imperial forces upon the death of Palpatine, who ceased to be the guiding will animating the Empire. It also further supports the events depicted in all post-Return of the Jedi fiction.
- Main article: Star Wars (radio)
A radio drama adaptation of the film was written by Brian Daley with additional material contributed by John Whitman and was produced for and broadcast on National Public Radio in 1996. It was based on characters and situations created by George Lucas and on the screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan and George Lucas. The first two Star Wars films were similarly adapted for National Public Radio in the early 1980s, but it was not until 1996 that a radio version of Return of the Jedi was heard. Anthony Daniels returned as C-3PO, but Mark Hamill and Billy Dee Williams did not reprise their roles as they had for the first two radio dramas. They were replaced by newcomer Joshua Fardon as Luke Skywalker and character actor Arye Gross as Lando Calrissian. John Lithgow voiced Yoda, whose voice actor in the films has always been Frank Oz. Bernard Behrens returned as Obi-Wan Kenobi and the late Brock Peters reprised his role as Darth Vader. Veteran character actor Ed Begley, Jr. played Boba Fett. Edward Asner also guest-starred speaking only in grunts as the voice of Jabba the Hutt. The radio drama had a running time of three hours.
Principal production of the show was completed on February 11, 1996. Only hours after celebrating its completion with the cast and crew of the show, Daley died of pancreatic cancer. The show is dedicated to his memory.
The cast and crew recorded a get-well message for Daley, but the author never got the chance to hear it. The message is included as part of the Star Wars Trilogy collector's edition box set.
- Template:Note Distribution rights will be transferred to Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures by May 2020.
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- Masters, Kim (October 30, 2012). Tangled Rights Could Tie Up Ultimate 'Star Wars' Box Set (Analysis). The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved on November 12, 2012.
Arnold, Alan. Once Upon a Galaxy: A Journal of Making the Empire Strikes Back. Sphere Books, London. 1980. ISBN 978-0-345-29075-5
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- Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi at the Internet Movie Database
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- Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi on Wookieepedia: a Star Wars wiki
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