Star Wars: Episode 6 – Return of the Jedi

Peter Mayhew, Carrie Fisher, Anthony Daniels. Mark Hamill, and Harrison Ford in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi

Star Wars: Episode 6 – Return of the Jedi brings about the end of original trilogy with a crushing defeat of the Galactic Empire.

It’s back to Tatooine to rescue Han Solo (Harrison Ford) from Jabba the Hutt.  Rescuing Han is not going to be a one person job and I love how they manage to include everyone.  From C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) and R2-D2 (Kenny Baker) to Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) to Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) to Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill).  Defeating the Empire once and for all will just have to wait a little bit longer!

Luke returns to Dagobah to finish his training only to find Yoda in ill health.  Not so fast, Luke.  He’s not a Jedi yet until confronting Darth Vader once again.  Compared to The Empire Strikes Back, we don’t spend anywhere near the same amount of time.  The scenes really serve to confirm that yes, Darth Vader (David Prowse/James Earl Jones) was formerly Anakin Skywalker.  Luke’s powers have grown since the end of the last film–see Shadows of the Empire if it remained canon.  Much of the film’s second and third acts will be spent by working to defeat the Empire once and for all.  Oh, yeah, we also meet those live-action teddy bears–I mean, Ewoks.

When it comes to the battle, there are two fronts going: on the ground and in the air.  Without a win on the ground, we can forget a win in the air.  Moreover, the presence of the Ewoks manages to increase the level of fun in watching.  To think that this was almost a Wookiee planet!

Can we talk about some things that make no sense?  I’m hesitant to say that this idea wasn’t thought about prior to the production on The Empire Strikes Back.  When you think about it, Leia is able to hear Luke through the Force when he calls for her in Empire.  After Luke returns from Dagobah and joins the command crew for the Strike Team on the Sanctuary Moon of Endor, he’s able to sense the presence of Darth Vader.  It isn’t just that he’s able to sense the presence of Vader but he comes back with some newfound information: Leia is his sister.

“I’ve known,” Leia tells Luke.  “Somehow, I’ve always known.”

If Leia somehow always knew that Luke was her twin brother, why in the hell did she kiss him on the lips?  This is one of those things that is going to bother me until the end of time!  Thank you for coming to my TED talk.

There is another thing that has always bothered me about the film.  How does Anakin Skywalker (Sebastian Shaw/Hayden Christensen) become a Force ghost?  When Luke burns Vader’s suit, Anakin’s body never faded away?  Or if it did, it must have done so off-screen.   Again, it seems like this is answered in a book or elsewhere.

It’s fascinating to think about what kind of film Steven Spielberg would have directed.  A director known for making films heavy on themes with absent fathers would have been perfect for Return of the Jedi.  Alas, issues with the Director’s Guild made this seemingly impossible.

While Star Wars: Episode 6 – Return of the Jedi isn’t as great as its immediate predecessors, the film ends the trilogy on a bang.

DIRECTOR:  Richard Marquand
SCREENWRITERS:  Lawrence Kasdan and George Lucas
CAST:  Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, David Prowse, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, Frank Oz, and James Earl Jones

20th Century Fox opened Star Wars: Episode 6 – Return of the Jedi in theaters on May 25, 1983. Grade: 4/5

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.