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"The Ewoks are the Care Bears of the Star Wars Universe."

- W.J. Flywheel, Webporium Curator


Luke Skywalker has returned to his home planet of Tatooine in an attempt to rescue his friend Han Solo from the clutches of the vile gangster Jabba the Hutt. Little does Luke know that the Galactic Empire has secretly begun construction on a new armored space station even more powerful than the first dreaded Death Star. When completed, this ultimate weapon will spell certain doom for the small band of rebels struggling to restore freedom to the galaxy....


Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi is the sixth and final chapter (but the third to be released) in the popular six-part Star Wars film series by George Lucas. It debuted in 1983, and was re-released with changes in 1997 and 2004. The second entry in George Lucas's original Star Wars trilogy finds Luke In the final episode of the original Star Wars trilogy, Han Solo (Harrison Ford) emerges intact from the carbonite casing in which he'd been sealed in The Empire Strikes Back. The bad news is that Solo, together with Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), are prisoner of the grotesque Jabba the Hutt. But with the help of the charismatic Landro Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams), our heroes and our heroine manage to escape. The next task is to rid the galaxy of Darth Vader (body by David Prowse, voice by James Earl Jones) and the Emperor (Ian McDiarmid), now in command of a new, under-construction Death Star. On the forest moon Endor, the good guys enlist the help of a feisty bunch of bear-like creatures called the Ewoks in their battle against the Empire.

The film's director was the late Richard Marquand, who died in 1987 of a heart ailment. Some reports have suggested that George 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 and this is a function Lucas had willingly performed on previous occasions when he had only officially been producing a film. (i.e. Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Empire Strikes Back, More American Graffiti). Lucas himself has only ever gone as far as admitting (in the documentary Empire of Dreams) that he had often to be on the set due to Marquand's relative inexperience with special effects, possibly because he does not wish to make assertions that his deceased colleague would be unable reply to. Comments by The Empire Strikes Back director Irvin Kershner on that film's DVD audio commentary track suggests that Lucas had a much larger role on the production of Return of the Jedi than is often thought. The working title of the project was Blue Harvest and dubbed "Horror Beyond Imagination" to engender no interest whatsoever in the film. This would disguise what the production crew was really filming from fans and the prying eyes of the press. It wa the first film to use THX an filming began on January 11, 1982 and ended on May 20, 1982.

The screenplay was written by Lawrence Kasdan and Lucas (with uncredited contributions by David Webb Peoples and Marquand), based on Lucas' story. Howard Kazanjian served as producer. The film was originally titled Revenge of the Jedi. However, a few weeks before the film's premiere, George Lucas changed the title, stating revenge could not be used because Jedi do not seek revenge. Some speculate that George Lucas had planned to call the film Return of the Jedi all along, and only used "Revenge" as a means to throw off merchandise counterfeiters. However, the original teaser trailer for the film still carried this moniker. It has also been claimed that the original title of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan was originally The Vengeance of Khan, and that the title was changed because of its similarity to Revenge of the Jedi. 20th Century Fox is said to have had to throw out a large chunk of PR material (posters, fliers and the likes) due to Lucas changing his mind last minute. In any event, the original name was partially reused for the title of Episode III as Revenge of the Sith. The prequels would denote such an action as being against the strict Jedi code. This rationale is hinted at in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, where Anakin Skywalker seeks revenge against the Tusken Raiders for the death of his mother, beginning his path to the dark side of the Force.

A legend among fans holds that Lando and the Millennium Falcon were originally scripted to perish in the Death Star explosion. However, Lando was always intended to escape the Death Star, as has been evidenced in past scripts for the movie. The legend had been fueled by the fact that before the Death Star attack, Han tells Leia that he has a feeling he isn't going to see his ship again.

Princess Leia - Slave Girl The 1997 CD-ROM Star Wars: Behind the Magic confirms that the sequence showing the cremation of Vader's body/armour was directed by Lucas himself. This film, though rated "PG," contains brief nudity in the first part of the film, when Jabba's Twi'lek slave attempts to escape by pulling on the chain. She jerks upward, and her right breast flies up from the costume. (It should also be noted that the rating PG-13 did not exist until 1984). In the original script, when Obi-Wan Kenobi explains what happened to both Luke and Leia after their birth, the character we now know as Padmé was said to have survived and became a handmaiden to Bail Organa's wife, secretly raising Leia as her own child. She later died three or four years after the birth. However, this part was reportedly deleted to shorten the scene because Lucas did not think it was necessary for the plot at the time.

Harrison Ford suggested that Han Solo sacrifice his life to save his friends in order to give the film more emotional weight, but George Lucas disagreed with him. David Lynch, with a Best Director nomination for the 1980 film The Elephant Man was approached by Lucas to helm Return of the Jedi, but he declined and went on to direct Dune. George Lucas originally intended for his friend Steven Spielberg to direct the film.

Chewbacca - Episode IIIReturn of the Jedi is considered by many critics and fans to be the weakest film of the original trilogy. Some indication of public opinion can be gleaned by its relatively modest ranking in the Internet Movie Database's Top 250 films list.

While the action set pieces - particularly 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 the Stormtroopers remains a bone of contention. A large number of fans believe George Lucas pushed the "cutesy" factor with the Ewoks with many accusing Lucas of adding them only for their merchandising value.

This theory, while taken as gospel by many, was debunked when Academy Award-winning actor Richard Dreyfuss (who performed in Lucas' film American Graffiti) was quoted multiple times over the years that Lucas had revealed his idea for the Star Wars saga to many of Graffiti's cast and crew during filming (some four years before the original film was released), including making specific mention of a species of small, furry, teddy bear-like creatures called Wookiees (later changed to Ewoks when Wookiees evolved into a different species) who defeat the evil Empire.

However, fans seem to be rather divided on the premise that an extremely primitive race of small creatures could, albeit with minimal aid, defeat an armed ground force comprised of the Empire's best troops. Some fans call it ludicrous, while others credit the Ewoks' bravery, ingenuity, and determination. The latter group may also sometimes cite the Ewoks' ability to easily lift large boulders over their heads as proof of Ewok strength. The word "Ewok" is never mentioned in the film. It is only mentioned in the end credits. A vocal group of fans flatly dislike the Tarzan yell by Chewbacca as he swings from a vine on top of an Imperial Scout Walker, though it is considered by others to be perfectly viable in the pulp genre of movies. Regardless, the Tarzan yell was repeated in Revenge of the Sith.

Who is Lando Calrissian's co-pilot in Episode VI: Return of the Jedi?

Leia Organa
Nien Nunb


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