Yoda: No. Not yet. One thing remains. Vader. You must confront Vader. Then, only then, a Jedi will you be. And confront him you will.
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away... 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 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...
Almost 3 years to the day, "Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi" made its U.S.-wide premiere on May 25, 1983 ("Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back" premiered on May 21, 1980). Whereas "The Empire Strikes Back" premiered both in the U.S. and in the U.K. on the same date, it wouldn't be the case with "Return of the Jedi." The U.K. would have to wait at least a week later. Hong Kong, Japan, and other countries would wait at least a month later, if not longer.
With the screenplay written by Lawrence Kasdan and George Lucas (based on a story he conceived), "Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi" was directed by Richard Marquand. Born in Cardiff, Wales (my mum's birthplace), this would be Richard's fourth feature film having already given us the acclaimed "Eye of the Needle" in 1981. In 1984, Richard spoke of the possibility of directing one of the prequels to the Star Wars saga, saying, "One, two and three are going to be very interesting, if [George Lucas] is ever able to start writing. Steven Spielberg and I would like to. It's a very interesting part of the saga, the early days. The youth of Ben Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker is really important. It's a very different world. Technology is different, means of communication are different. Sentiments are different. But it will take a long time, I'm afraid so. It's just a fact we will have to face. Good things come in threes, and all good things come to an end. That's just one of the realities of life. Your kids may see it." Sadly, Richard died four years later in Tunbridge Well, Kent, Enland at the age of 49. But he was right... Our kids did see it.
"Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi" was nominated for four Academy Awards which included Best Art/Set Decoration, Best Effects/Sound Effects Editing, Best Original Score, and Best Sound. Sadly, it didn't win in any of those categories. However, it did receive a Special Achievement Award for its Visual Effects. It also won a BAFTA in that category.
Reprising their roles were Mark Hamill (Luke), Harrison Ford (Han Solo), Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia, and David Prowse (Darth Vader). The voice of Vader, of course, was that of James Earl Jones. "Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi" also saw the return of Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), Sir Alec Guinness (Ben "Obi-Wan" Kenobi), Kenny Baker (R2-D2 and Ewok, Paploo), and the voice of Frank Oz (Yoda).
Filmed in various locations in California such as Death Valley National Park, Redwood National Park, Crescent City and Buttercup Valley, "Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi" cost an estimated $32.5 million to make and earned over $309.1 million overall, making it the #1 Box Office hit of 1983.
Here's some more information you might like to know regarding the making of this film...
1. Originally to be titled "Revenge of the Jedi" but producers thought Jedis wouldn't seek revenge, being so righteous and all. Some posters and theater stand-ups were made early, but pulled very soon as the title changed names.
Darth Vader: Nothing... can stop that now. Just for once... let me... look on you with my *own* eyes.
[Luke takes off Darth Vader's mask one piece at a time. Underneath, Luke sees the face of a pale, scarred, bald-headed, old man - his father, Anakin. Anakin sadly looks at Luke]
Anakin: Now... go, my son. Leave me.
Luke: No. You're coming with me. I'll not leave you here, I've got to save you.
Anakin: You already... have, Luke. You were right. You were right about me. Tell your sister... you were right.
[Anakin slumps down in death]
Luke: Father... I won't leave you.