Director: Richard Marquand
Stars: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher
Plot: After a daring mission to rescue Han Solo from Jabba the Hutt, the rebels dispatch to Endor to destroy a more powerful Death Star. Meanwhile, Luke struggles to help Vader back from the dark side without falling into the Emperor's trap.
During the shot in which Salacius Crumb (the small, annoying, rat-like thing that sits with Jabba in his palace) is chewing off C-3PO's eye, Anthony Daniels had a panic attack while in the C-3PO suit. While filming, he didn't actually say his lines (all his lines were dubbed in post-production anyway), but repeated "Get me up. Get me up." over and over. This is the take used in the final film.
It took six people to work the full-sized animatronic of Jabba the Hutt. The Jabba the Hutt puppet took Stuart Freeborn's team three months to build, cost $500,000 to make and weighed 2000lbs.
Harrison Ford suggested that Han Solo sacrifice his life to save his friends, but George Lucas disagreed with him, as he wanted Han to play a heroic part at the end.
According to Ian McDiarmid, George Lucas originally cast him simply as the physical performance of the Emperor (similar to David Prowse as Darth Vader). This became evident to him when a producer told him that if he was able to get his voice close enough to Clive Revill's (who portrayed the Emperor's voice in Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)) Lucas would let him use his on-camera vocals in the final cut of the film. However, McDiarmid felt he could conduct a stronger, more wicked and demonic voice for the Emperor as opposed to Revill's more aristocratic Emperor. Lucas, and even Steven Spielberg, were so impressed with his take that it ended up becoming a signature trait of the character.
Carrie Fisher complained about her costumes in the previous two movies. She said they were so long, you could not tell "she was a woman". Those complaints led to the skimpy outfit she wore as Jabba's slave. The costume became something of a running joke among the crew, because the metal framework that held the top together meant that the costume didn't move well with her. Since Fisher didn't like the industry standard solution of using double-sided tape, it became necessary before each take to have a wardrobe person check to ensure that her breasts were still snug inside the costume top (and several scenes had to be re-shot when "wardrobe malfunctions" occurred).
Whilst clambering over Jabba the Hutt, one of the high heels that Carrie Fisher was wearing accidentally punctured the latex casing and pierced Mike Edmonds who was operating the tail inside.
George Lucas fired his friend and producer of the previous two Star Wars movies, Gary Kurtz, before production began. The relationship between Kurtz & Lucas had deteriorated during the making of Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980), when the film went wildly over budget and fell behind schedule. With Lucas self-funding both films as independent productions, he opted to part company with Kurtz in favor of taking on active executive producer duties himself to insure the film stayed under budget.
This was originally to be entitled "Revenge of the Jedi", but producers thought the Jedi wouldn't seek revenge, due to their ethical code. Some posters and theater stand-ups were made early, but then quickly pulled when the title changed names. Also, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) was originally to be called "Star Trek: The Revenge of Khan", but the title for that movie was changed to avoid confusion with this movie back when "Revenge of the Jedi" was being considered.
Hayden Christensen mentioned in an interview that he didn't fully know what George Lucas was up to when he was inserted into The Special Edition, otherwise he would have played the scene totally different.
Prominent UK newspaper The Daily Mail ran a story shortly before the film's release, revealing that Darth Vader might die at the end. It was suggested that David Prowse was behind the leak, which led to his subsequent strained relationship with Lucasfilm (he wasn't interviewed for the DVD release of the original trilogy, and hasn't made any appearances at official Star Wars-related events, as of 2016). Prowse has denied being the one who told the newspaper about Vader's death, since he was unaware of it himself. It later emerged that unnamed crew members were responsible for the leak.
According to the documentary "Empire of Dreams", Steven Spielberg, who is a life-long best friend with George Lucas, was Lucas's first choice to direct, and even though Spielberg would have loved to direct a Star Wars film, he was forced to decline because he is a member of the Directors' Guild (Lucas dropped his Guild membership over disagreements about Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980). As a result, Lucas hired the relatively unknown (and at the time non-union) Welsh director Richard Marquand. Lucas was also impressed by Marquand's ability to bring in a movie on time and on budget, a very real concern of Lucas after the budget overruns experienced on The Empire Strikes Back.
David Lynch was originally offered the chance to direct this episode of the series. He turned it down because he believed it was "Lucas' thing." He went on to direct Dune (1984) instead.
For security reasons, when the film was sent to the lab, it was sent under the title "Blue Harvest". The title was inspired by the Dashiell Hammett story "Red Harvest", which was the inspiration for Yojimbo (1961), directed by Akira Kurosawa, one of the favorite directors of George Lucas. When you go to www.blueharvest.com, you'll get the official Star Wars website.
Leia strangling Jabba was an homage to the death of Luca Brasi in The Godfather (1972)
David Prowse, who played Darth Vader's body in three films, was unaware of the planned unmasking scene in which a different actor, Sebastian Shaw, played Vader's face.
The Ewoks were originally supposed to be a tribe of Wookiees. In pre-production, though, the decision was made to go to short creatures with short fur rather than very tall creatures with longer fur and, hence, the Ewoks were created (Ewok may very well have been created by rearranging the sounds in the word "Wookiee").
Draws themes from the Hindu epic 'Bhagvad Geeta'. Luke's conflicting emotions about going against his own father are similar to Arjuna's emotions on waging a war against the Kauravas; who are his close and dear ones like his cousins, relatives and teachers. Arjuna seeks counsel with Lord Krishna, who advises him that he has to do what he has to do, similar to the advice Obi-Wan gives Luke after his last visit to meet Yoda.
Shooting the scene of Vader's unmasking was handled with so much secrecy that the actor, Sebastian Shaw was not even told what he would be doing until he arrived at the set. He was spotted by his old friend, Ian McDiarmid, who played the Emperor. He asked Shaw what he was doing there, and Shaw answered, "I don't know. They haven't told me anything about it except that it has something to do with science fiction."
When George Lucas originally mapped out the plot of the entire "Star Wars" series, he refined the backstory he'd used writing the original film, and concocted further stories for sequels. Initially thinking the series would run two trilogies, he eventually settled on three. The original trilogy would follow Luke Skywalker as he became a Jedi and fought Darth Vader. The second "prequel" trilogy would follow young Obi-Wan Kenobi and the fall of Anakin Skywalker. The third, a sequel trilogy, would follow Luke twin sister, Nelleth Skywalker. Originally, this film would have ended with Luke defeating Vader and embarking on the search for Nelleth. However, with production of Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and this film taking an enormous toll on Lucas' health and personal life (he and wife Marcia Lucas divorced shortly after the release of this film), he opted to end the series here by making Leia into Luke's sister.
In the most recent special edition, the force-ghost of Anakin Skywalker portrayed by Sebastian Shaw is replaced with one by Hayden Christensen from Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005). George Lucas felt the force-ghost should represent Anakin as he was before he succumbed to the Dark Side. Also, in "Sith", Anakin was horribly burned and lost both legs and his left hand, an aspect added after the original trilogy. Despite the explanation by Lucas, or perhaps because of it, many fans were outraged over the change and wrote angry letters to Lucas.