Return of the Jedi (1983): Stars Wars Final Episode

In “Return of the Jedi,” the final episode of the “Star Wars saga,” is directed by Richard Marquand and co-written by George Lucas and Lawrence Kasdan. It is considered to be the most technically accomplished and the most satisfying installment of the trilogy, which began in 1977 with the landmark “Star Wars.”

Among other distinctions, “Return of the Jedi” neatly links together various loose narrative threads and subplots of the first two pictures.

In this adventure, Han Solo (Harrison Ford) emerges from the carbonite casing in which he had been sealed in the previous chapter, “The Empire Strikes Back.”  But then Solo, along with Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), is prisoner to the desert potentae Jabba the Hutt.  With the help of Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams), they all manage to escape.

They now need to rid the galaxy of Darth Vader (body by David Prowse, voice by James Earl Jones) and the Emperor (Ian McDiarmid), who are in command of a new Death Star.

On the forest moon Endor, in their battle against the Empire, they enlist the help of a feisty tribe of teddy bear-like creatures, the Ewoks, as well as the disembodied  spirits of Luke’s Jedi mentors, Yoda (voice by Frank Oz) and Obi Wan Kenobi (played by British actor Alec Guinness).

The film received largely good reviews, though some critics began to complain of over familiarity with the characters and repetition of ideas and images.

Nonetheless, the response of the viewers (and hardcore fans) was enthusiastic, making “Return of the Jedi” the most successful picture of the trilogy, and the third most commercial picture (in domestic grosses) after “E.T.: The extra-Terrestrial” and “Star wars.”  A decade later, this record would be broken by Spielberg’s “Jurassic Park,” when the latter became the all-time champion.

Oscar Nominations: 4

Art Direction-Set decoration: Norman Reynolds, Fred Hole, and james Schoppe; Michael Ford

Sound: Ben Burtt, Gary Summers, randy Thom, and Tony Dawe

Original Score: John Williams

Sound Effects Editing: Ben Burtt

Oscar Awards:

Special Achievement Award for Visual Effects: Richard Edlund, Dennis Muren, Ken ralston, Phil Tippett

Oscar Context:

The winner of the Art Direction was Bergman’s “Fanny and Alexander.”

“The Right Stuff” received several technical Oscars: Sound, Score to Bill Conti, and Sound Effects Editing to Jay Boekelheide.