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Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983) Poster

Alternate Versions

The Special Edition slightly re-edits the closing on Endor. Originally, there is one medium shot of the ghosts of Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda, followed by Luke rejoining his friends, and then another long shot of Anakin, Obi-Wan and Yoda. For the special edition, the medium shot is split in two, so that the first medium shot is shorter, and ends with Obi-Wan looking down at Yoda, then cuts to Luke rejoining the rebels, then cuts back to the rest of the medium shot, before cutting to Luke, and then finally back to the long shot of the ghosts.
In the special edition, the first shot of Jabba's sail barges sailing over the dunes is preceded by a shot of a herd of Banthas. The sail barges themselves originally were only a short distance off the ground, with the hull concealing part of the shadows. Now, the sail barges are elevated, so that the space beneath them and above the shadows can be seen.
Han reacts with surprise, saying "What the...!" after accidentally igniting Boba Fett's rocket pack. This line was previously missing.
David West Reynolds, an ILM employee, discovered missing footage and had stills shots from these scenes published in Star Wars Insider magazine. These include: A sand storm scene after the death of Jabba, the matte painting of which can be seen in the Industrial Light & Magic book. Han describes the hibernation as being awake and unable to move. A scene where Darth Vader chokes one of the Imperial Guards while trying to see the Emperor.
A Special Edition was released on 14 March 1997 (USA). It contains a variety of new special effects shots including:
  • A new dance number for Jabba's palace, with new band members and dancers/backup singers.


  • New shots of Boba Fett flirting with one of the dancers at Jabba's palace.


  • The Sarlacc Pit is now more a Sarlacc Beast, with more flailing tentacles and a protruding mouth.


  • The lightsabers in all 3 movies are less beam-of-light-like and more sword-like.


  • A brand new ending shows celebrations on Endor, Bespin, Tatooine, and Coruscant, the Imperial Homeworld.


  • A new shot of a computer generated Bantha herd seen crossing the desert as Jabba's barge sails by in the distance.


  • When Han Solo is trying to shoot the Sarlacc to help Lando, he says "I can see a lot better now" instead of "Its all right. Trust me."


  • A new Death Star explosion (similar to the one in the Star Wars Special Edition)


  • New music in several sections, most noticeable in the end celebration.


  • One of the little known Special Edition additions was a digital re-mix of the Emperor's death scene. When Darth Vader / Anakin Skywalker betrays the Emperor, he now lets out a tortured scream as he picks up the Emperor. This was re-mixed with James Earl Jones's scream, Mark Hamill's screams and a sound of a screeching tire.


  • A short moment at the end when Luke winks at the Jedi ghosts was removed.


  • The audio track for the very last scene of the film, with all of the actors gathered, was corrected to have music continue to play. In the original release, the actors' voices and laughter could be heard in this scene.


In the 2004 DVD release, an end shot of Naboo features added dialogue: "Wesa free!"
The 2011 Blu-Ray release, has Vader muttering "No" repeatedly, when he stops The Emperor from killing Luke.
In at least one earlier video release of the movie, Lando inexplicably says "now," right before saying "Come on, Han, old buddy. Don't let me down." The Special Edition restores the rest of the scene and shows that Lando says "We're sure in the middle of it now." The restored dialogue with Lando mentioned above is also present in full on the CBS/Fox 1990 U.S Widescreen Laserdisc, which is a re-issue of the 1986 Japanese Widescreen Laserdisc.
Several publicity shots exist of a "missing" moment during Luke's battle with the Rancor, in which he leaps and hangs by his fingers from the grate above and Jawa's trample his hands.
In the end celebrations there is what appears to be an imperial storm trooper, crowd surfing.
The Special Edition of this film corrects a minor goof. In the original version, when the Emperor arrives, numerous TIE Fighters are seen flying around the Death Star. The first group of TIE Fighters that appear on screen and fly closer and closer to the Death Star simply disappear in an instant right before the scene changes to the Emperors arrival inside. In the Special Edition, they continue on their path and do not disappear.
The special edition also adds a shot of Luke and Wedge shaking hands and hugging during the Ewok celebration at the end which wasn't in the original version.
The 2004 DVD release has the ending celebration altered slightly. A CGI shot of the planet Naboo, from the prequel trilogy, has been inserted in between the 1997 Special Edition shots of Tatooine and Coruscant.
In the 2004 DVD release of Return of the Jedi, the ghostly image of Sebastian Shaw as Anakin Skywalker is replaced with Hayden Christensen.
For the 2004 DVD release: when Luke removes Vader's mask, a new visual take shows Anakin with slightly altered makeup, most noticeable is the lack of eyebrows that was present in all previous versions.
The 2004 DVD release of Return of the Jedi corrects the visual effects error of the image of two white phantom tie-fighters suddenly appearing, then disappearing on the hull of the Millennium Falcon as it flies by during the final battle.
In the DVD version, the Rancor sequence now has some subtle shadows added to mask the matte lines, as well as being re-composited to blend more smoothly with the live-action elements of Mark Hamill.
In the original version, when Han is hanging over the edge of the skiff, trying to save Lando, he is hanging on apparently by just his toes. For the special edition, ropes were added to support his weight.
In the 2004 DVD release, added to the Special Edition shot of Coruscant are the Jedi Temple and Senate buildings.
In all theatrical versions, the subtitles for Huttese were placed at the bottom of the frame. For widescreen video releases, these subtitles are placed in the black area below the image itself.
The DVD makes an alteration to the hologram of Luke Skywalker. In the original, the hologram has a blue tint about it. In the DVD, the blue tint is removed, so Mark Hamill's blond hair and skin tone appear the same in the hologram as they do in person.

See also

Trivia | Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Connections | Soundtracks

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