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

Trivia

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Listen very carefully as Darth Vader picks up the Emperor and throws him down the Death Star shaft. This is the only time the Jedi theme music plays over a shot of Vader, reflecting his return to the light side of the Force.
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 prisoner. 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).
In the DVD 2004 release, George Lucas explained the reason behind why Yoda told Luke that Darth Vader was his father. Lucas had consulted with a child psychologist during the making of the film. The psychologist said that unless it was unequivocally stated that Vader was Luke's father, moviegoers age 12 and under would dismiss Vader's claim to be Luke's father as a lie.
According to Ian McDiarmid, George Lucas originally casted 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.
When Leia gets shot, if you look closely you can spot Harrison Ford accidentally grab her breast before correcting himself.
Endor is the name of a place in the Bible; it's a village found in Biblical Israel's territory of Isaachar, where king Saul went on the eve of his final battle with the Phillistines and came across "The Witch of Endor". It also the Elvish name for Middle-Earth in J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings".
During the shot in which Salacius Crumb (the small, annoying, rat-like thing that sits with Jabba in his palace) is chewing off C-3P0's eye, Anthony Daniels had a panic attack while in the C-3P0 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 take is the take used in the final film.
Nien Nunb, Lando's co-pilot, speaks a Kenyan dialect called Haya. According to sound designer Ben Burtt, the lines were delivered by Kipsang Rotich, a Kenyan student living in the US, and are actually correct Hayan translations of the English text. Audiences in Kenya were reportedly very thrilled to hear their language spoken in proper context.
Jabba's sail barge was filmed in Yuma, Arizona. The film crew had problems avoiding the 35,000 dune buggy enthusiasts in the area. To preserve secrecy, the producers claimed to be making a horror film called "Blue Harvest" with the tagline "Horror beyond imagination", and even had caps and t-shirts made up for the crew. A chain-link fence and a 24-hour security service could not prevent die-hard fans from entering the set and sneaking some photographs.
When preparing to work on the special edition one of the ILM employees was talking to a friend and mentioned in passing that they were extending the musical number in Jabba's palace. The friend happened to be the brother of Femi Taylor, the dancer that played Oola (the slave girl/dancer who is fed to the Rancor) and suggested that they get in contact with her as she was in even better shape than she was when they originally shot the scene. They ended up using her, and the scene is a combination of footage that they already had and the new footage recorded 15 years later. Femi Taylor also has the distinction of being the only cast member from the original movies to reprise her role for the special edition.
The Endor shots were filmed near Crescent City, California. Forest work was especially hard on the Ewok actors. Production Assistant Ian Bryce arrived on the set one day to find a note from the Ewok actors saying that they had all had enough and they were on their way to the airport. Bryce tried to drive to the airport, but got a flat tire not far from the set. He found another car and was about to leave when the Ewoks' bus pulled up, and all the Ewok actors got off wearing "Revenge of the Ewok" t-shirts.
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.
As the Californian forest location the production was using was due for logging, the special effects crew were allowed to knock trees down in the Battle of Endor.
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.
David Prowse only portrayed Darth Vader completely for the first half of the movie. In the second half of the movie, the character was played by Bob Anderson (stuntman) during the fight sequence, and Sebastian Shaw after the character is unmasked. James Earl Jones voiced the character throughout, with the exception of the unmasking scene.
The dancer that Jabba drops into the Rancor pit loses her top as she falls in.
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.
The TIE in TIE Fighter stands for Twin Ion Engine.
George Lucas fired his friend and producer of the previous two Star Wars movies, Gary Kurtz, before production began (although some sources say he simply quit on his own) as Kurtz disagreed with Lucas' assertion that audiences didn't care for the story but for the spectacle.
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. 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.
John Williams son Joseph Williams, the lead singer if the pop/rock band Toto, collaborated on part of the score, and wrote lyrics for the Ewoks songs.
It is rumored that a different ending was shot, but discarded later on. It featured the (long awaited) marriage between Leia Organa and Han Solo. In the Star Wars "Expanded Universe" books, they go on to marry and raise a brood.
Admiral Ackbar's backstory is that he was once the slave of Grand Moff Tarkin, as well as his personal pilot.
Alan Rickman auditioned for the role of Moff Jerjerrod.
It took six people to work the full-sized animatronic of Jabba the Hutt.
As part of the star Wars Expanded Universe lore, it is explained that Boba Fett actually survived the Sarlacc and went on to battle Han, Luke, etc. for many years following the events of ROTJ.
Ian McDiarmid, a prolific stage actor, based his character's unusual voice on the Japanese method of using your stomach to project yourself. The result was a strange, guttural croak that Lucas decided was perfect for the character of Palpatine.
In the Battle of Endor, many of the "ships" and other objects far in the background are actually things like chewed-up gum. The crew knew there was so much action going on that people would not notice things like this use to fill up the picture in the background.
In the Blu-Ray release, during the scene when The Emperor is trying to kill Luke with the Dark Side Lightening, Vader has an added short dialect: "no, NO!!!!" and then picks up The Emperor and drops him down the shaft. In all other video releases, Vader says nothing during this scene.
Originally, the color of Luke's new lightsaber was blue, the same as the one he lost in ESB. Luke can even be seen wielding a blue lightsaber in early ROTJ trailers. However, when a scene of Luke assembling and activating his new saber was cut, Lucas thought the audience might not understand that Luke's ROTJ lightsaber was not the same one he lost on Cloud City. To avoid confusion, Lucas decided to change the color from blue to green, making it clear that Luke was using a new saber. As part of the Expanded Universe, Luke's original lightsaber, used by his father and given to him by Obi-Wan, was recovered (along with his severed hand) from Cloud City and was later wielded by a Luke clone. After the clone's death, Luke presented the saber to Mara Jade, his future wife.
The raspy, labored breathing heard from Darth Vader after he kills the Emperor was originally meant to be how his breathing sounded when he was first introduced in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977). The sound of this labored breathing was kept and used for this film.
The deleted sandstorm scene involving all the actors was the first scene shot on the first day of shooting. This made Mark Hamill the only Star Wars actor to work the first full day of shooting on all three Star Wars movies.
The Jabba the Hutt puppet took Stuart Freeborn's team three months to build, cost $500,000 to make and weighed 2000lbs.
Several Ewok lines are in the Filipino (Tagalog) language. Most Ewok lines, however, were inspired by the Kalmuck language, spoken by nomadic tribes living in Central China.
Originally, Yoda was not in the film's script. Yoda was added when Lucas determined him best to properly confirm to Luke as to whether Vader was his father or not.
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.
Physicists have calculated that while the Death Star design is theoretically possible, it would take too much money, time and material to be feasible.
Death Star II was approximately 460% larger than the first one.
From an engineering perspective, both Death Stars were poorly constructed because they did not have either safety or redundancy systems. When Wedge and Lando shot out the power regulator, the entire reactor exploded. A properly engineered power generator would have multiple backups and safety protocols to prevent such an occurrence.
Before the Millennium Falcon leaves for the final battle with the Death Star, Han says, "I just got a funny feeling, like I'm not gonna see her again." This would seem to foreshadow the Falcon's demise in battle. But it doesn't. Researchers have looked into the matter from the first scripts of this movie, and have found that in all drafts of the script, Lando and the Falcon survive. All claims that the Falcon would not survive are urban legends, forgeries, or mistaken assumptions.
In the movie, when Han and Leia are trapped by two troopers as they attempt to get access through to the shield generator, Han confesses his love for Leia by saying "I Love You" to which Leia responds with "I know". This is an exact reverse of a similar conversation that took place between the two in Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) when Han is about to be frozen.
The point-of-view shots for the speeder bike sequence were achieved by having a camera operator walk through the forest at normal speed with a camera filming at one frame per second. When the footage was played back at twenty four frames per second, it gave the appearance of flying through the forest at high speeds.
This is the only one Star Wars movie where Darth Vader does not Force choke someone. A scene did exist in the initial cut that showed Vader Force choke an Imperial Officer in order to gain access to the Emperor's throne room. This scene was cut because George Lucas felt that this point had been made clearly enough in Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980).
Sir Alec Guinness filmed his cameo in just a day.
The word Ewok is never spoken in the movie, nor are the individuals (Wicket, Paploo, etc.) referred to by name.
In the DVD 2004 release, Sebastian Shaw (older Anakin Skywalker) is replaced in the celebration scene by Hayden Christensen.
The primitive warrior tribe at the end of this film was 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").
Characters who have "a bad feeling about this": C-3PO and Han Solo. See also Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) and Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980).
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At the time, the climactic battle in outer space featured more optical effects in one scene than had ever been previously committed to film.
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The growls and sounds of the Rancor in Jabba's Palace were actually made by a dachsund.
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Another reason for filming under the guise of nondescript horror movie title, "Blue Harvest" was partly to put off any snoopers and also because the production found that if they mentioned they were working on the next Star Wars film, suppliers would automatically ramp up their prices, assuming that money was no object for Lucasfilm.
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Darth Vader's footsteps were recorded in underground tunnels by the Golden Gate Bridge to help create an ominous effect.
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Originally, George Lucas was disapproving of Richard Marquand's choice in casting Ian McDiarmid as The Emperor. The choice eventually grew on Lucas, as he eventually went on to cast McDiarmid as the younger version of the same character in the next three episodes of the Saga.
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The enhanced effects used for the Death Star explosions in this movie and "A New Hope" feature the "Praxis Wave," so named for its first use by Industrial Light and Magic in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991) for the explosion of the Klingon moon, Praxis.
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This is the first Star Wars film to show a lightsaber combat something other than another lightsaber. Luke on the Sail Barge fights guards with staffs and blasters. In Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) and Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980), a lightsaber is seen only fighting another lightsaber. It should be noted that Obi-Wan's removal of Ponda Baba's arm does not count as a fight - but could be considered a combat between a lightsaber and another weapon.
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Marks the first time Luke addresses Kenobi as "Obi-Wan" and not "Ben".
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Fake scripts were distributed to some cast members that were considered likely to leak information to the media. Some of these phony story elements were indeed leaked, such as Lando being revealed as the "last hope" for the Jedi mentioned by Obi-Wan and Yoda in ESB.
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According to Anthony Daniels, it only took him less than 10 minutes to put on the C-3P0 outfit, unlike the last two films were it took him two hours.
Darth Vader's funeral pyre was added at the very last minute, long after principle photography and pick-ups had wrapped. The scene was thrown together and shot near the hills of Skywalker Ranch.
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The radiating shafts making up the floor of the second Death Star's reactor core are actually 1,500 fishing rods.
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Ian McDiarmid (The Emperor) and David Prowse (Darth Vader) have never met. Vader was played by Bob Anderson for all of the camera shots in which Vader and the Emperor appeared at the same time.
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Before the special editions, this was the only movie of the original trilogy that mentioned the name Anakin. There was a deleted scene in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) where Luke meets Biggs and Red Leader, where the latter mentions that he had once met Anakin. The scene was restored in the Special Edition, minus the line mentioning Anakin, though.
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The name Palpatine was based on the name Palantine in the film, Taxi Driver (1976). It was changed to avoid legal problems.
Before filming began, it was discovered that all of Darth Vader's lightsaber props had either been lost or stolen. Thus, one of Luke Skywalker's "stunt" saber props from Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) had to be quickly cannibalized into a "Vader-esque" saber for this film.
One of the words C-3PO uses to communicate with the Ewoks is "naboo" which is the name of Queen Amidala's planet in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999).
According to the documentary "Empire of Dreams", Steven Spielberg was George Lucas's first choice to direct, but Spielberg had 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.
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Although Boba Fett is present in the previous installment, Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980), his name is not mentioned until this movie during the sail barge fight scene.
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The first film to gross over $20 million in its opening weekend.
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Portions of the partially completed Death Star model resemble the San Francisco skyline.
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Elephants were used as inspiration for the All Terrain Armored Transporters' (AT-AT) characteristic walk.
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At one point during the battle on Endor, Leia turns towards a Scout Walker and shoots a man who is either standing on or leaning out of the top. This man is rumored to be none other than the director, Richard Marquand, who also did the voice for the interrogator droid EV 9D9. His voice was run through a ring modulator to give the proper mechanic-sounding effect.
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WILHELM SCREAM: As Luke slashes an enemy with his lightsaber and he falls into the Sarlacc pit. It can also be heard again a second time as Luke slashes another enemy into the pit soon after, but it is barely audible. Additionally, in the Special Edition, a Wilhelm can be heard during one of the huge celebration scenes, on Coruscant, after the Death Star is destroyed (an Imperial Stormtrooper is crowd surfing and the Wilhelm is heard as he passes to the right of the film frame; since this is a celebration scene rather than a fight scene, the Wilhelm was presumably included as a joke).
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The slithery noises made when Jabba the Hutt moves were created by sound-man Ben Burtt running his hands through a cheese casserole.
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There were several versions of Carrie Fisher's slave costume. One was made of metal form-fit to her body. Another was made of rubber and was used for stunt scenes because it was more comfortable.
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10 puppeteers, 9 mime artists, 42 extras, 18 principles, supported by a crew of 90 worked almost a month on the Jabba's Palace sequence.
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Admiral Ackbar's famous line 'It's a trap!' was originally scripted as 'It's a trick!'. The line was changed in post-production after a negative test screening.
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According to Star Wars canon, Luke had been to the Sarlacc pit before. During his adolescence, it was a popular dare among his friends to jump the Sarlacc pit in a low-flying sand-skimmer.
The biggest grossing film of 1983.
In the familiar theatrical one-sheet poster advertising the film, forearms assumed to belong to Luke Skywalker are shown raising an ignited light-saber upward toward the starry sky. But the unidentified arms pictured are not those of actor Mark Hamill, they belong to George Lucas.
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According to Ian McDiarmid in the Blu-ray commentary, Palpatine is over 100 years old.
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According to Warwick Davis, he auditioned for the movie after his grandmother heard a London radio station announce a casting call to play the Ewoks.
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The dual stripes painted on rebel A-wing fighters were originally blue, but were changed to red because the blue made it a problem when filming blue-screen effects.
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Denis Lawson, who played Wedge Antilles in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) and Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) plays Wedge in this film, despite the rumors to the contrary which were caused by his name being misspelt ("Dennis Lawson") in the credits of Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977). Intense debate on Usenet prompted Jarod Nash to write a letter to Lawson, asking for clarification. Lawson confirmed that he indeed played in all three movies, this being the only one that spells his name right.
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According to a magazine interview with Irvin Kershner in May 2004, Kershner states that Richard Marquand didn't direct all of Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983), it was Kershner's assistant director and George Lucas who took over after the actors didn't respond very well to Richard Marquand. The relationship between Marquand and George Lucas was said to be bad. On the DVD commentary, however, George Lucas claims he worked quite well with Marquand.
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The film grossed more than $250 million from a $32 million budget in 1983, and then another $40 million in its 1997 re-release.
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Extras comprising of 130 Imperials, 40 Ewoks, and a cast and crew of 150 were used in the scene where the rebels are rounded up outside of the shield bunker, just before the final battle starts.
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Luke and Han's meeting in Jabba's palace is the first time that Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill have been on-screen together since saying their goodbyes in Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980).
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One of the songs that the Ewoks sing sounds like: "Det luktar flingor här", which is Swedish for "It smells of cereal here." (In fact, that line's lyrics are supposedly, "G'noop dock fling oh ah.") Another song sounds identical to a song sung in Caveman (1981).
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Director David Cronenberg was offered the chance to direct.
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Stuntwoman Tracey Eddon wore a rubber replica of C-3PO for the tumble off of the sail barge. She then donned a metal bikini to swing with Mark Hamill's stunt double onto the escaping skiff.
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SFX crew claim to have included a "sneaker" as one of the spaceships in a complex dog-fight scene (see also trivia for Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)).
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The main chamber of Jabba's palace is connected to the entrance by a short flight of steps. When filming the scene where R2-D2 enters the chamber it was discovered that the droid could not roll down the stairs. In the movie we see R2-D2 approaching the stairs, then the camera moves to the left past the steps and the droid re-enters the field of view, having been manually hauled down the stairs.
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When sound designer Ben Burtt was working on the sound effects for the speeder bike chase, he tried to emulate Treg Brown's sound effect work on the Road Runner cartoons as closely as possible.
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The official poster of the film displays a disclaimer. "This film may be too intense for very young children."
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Moff Jerjerrod (Michael Pennington), the imperial officer who greets Darth Vader in the opening scene, originally had a much larger part in the story. In the beginning, he was to be nearly Force-choked for not allowing Darth Vader access to the Emperor, only to be spared when the Emperor finally allows Vader access. At the end, Jerjerrod would be receiving orders to use the Death Star to blow up Endor, should the Rebels succeed in disabling the shield. He reluctantly starts the firing procedure, but the Rebels beat him to it by blowing up the Death Star.
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Only film in the franchise in which no blue lightsabers appear (unless footage from trailers and poster art is counted).
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In the 2011 Blu-ray release, Ewoks blink. According to Warwick Davis on the Blu-ray commentary, a mechanism was invented to make the actual costume blink, but this was determined to be faulty and was later aborted.
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The Huttese language spoken by Jabba the Hutt was inspired by the Incan language Quechua.
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George Lucas had a script policy which was carried over to the novel-writing policy today: Any characters from the trilogy cannot be killed off by any means - which explained the reason he overruled Harrison Ford's suggestion of killing Han Solo off. However, he consented R.A. Salvatore's idea of killing Chewbacca off in the novel Vector Prime (set 21 years after Episode VI).
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Ben Kingsley, David Suchet, Alan Webb and Lindsay Anderson were considered for the role of Emperor Palpatine. If Alan Webb had been cast he would have died during the few weeks of shooting.
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The Millennium Falcons used for this movie were either models or matte paintings. The full-sized mock up used for the other films was only used for the deleted sandstorm scenes and therefore doesn't make an appearance in this movie
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In the part where Paploo was barely hanging onto the speeder bike, Paploo was played by stuntman Tony Cox. The crew propped the bike up vertically and filmed Cox dangling from the handlebars, then simply rotated the camera.
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David Prowse has said that he did not take part in any of the lightsaber-fighting sequences. As with Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980), the film's sword master, Bob Anderson played Darth Vader during the duel sequence, wearing platform shoes and careful filming to make up for the height difference.
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Following the success of Boba Fett (appearing in comics and being a popular supporting character), George Lucas admitted that he had no idea that the character had become so popular. He mentioned that if he had known, he would have given the bounty hunter a more memorable death scene. Lucas even considered adding a shot of Boba Fett escaping the Sarlacc for the 2004 DVD release. Ultimately, he decided against it as he did not want viewers to be detracted from the intended storyline.
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Sydney Greenstreet was used as one of the models for Jabba the Hutt.
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Speeder bike "pass by" sound effects were done by splicing together thunder sounds with those of a P-38 airplane.
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Sound designer Ben Burtt got the opportunity to operate the mike boom in the dialogue scene between Luke and Leia on Endor. He didn't know the entire scene would take almost 3 minutes to shoot, so he got very tired holding up the microphone, and nearly dropped it on Carrie Fisher's head.
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The Death Star II's power source is called a Hypermatter Reactor. It is the standard energy source for all spacecraft in the Star Wars universe.
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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.
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It's the first film to use THX. Boushh's (Leia in bounty hunter disguise) helmet has "1138" written on it. THX 1138 (1971) was Lucas' first feature film and is referenced many times in the series.
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The first appearance of the Death Star was originally supposed to be in this episode. Lucas changed the Death Star in this movie to the Death Star Two after having been forced to introduce the Death Star in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) due to budget cuts imposed by the studio.
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WILHELM SCREAM: Ewok killed while taking cover from the Imperial Walker turret fire.
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Caroline Blakiston (Mon Mothma) had to re-record her dialog after it was discovered that her microphone had picked up the sound of pigeons roosting in the set ceiling.
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Billy Dee Williams's stunt double was Julius LeFlore. LeFlore wears black gloves in the Sarlacc fight. Williams does not.
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Pat Welsh performed the voice of the Bounty Hunter Boush (Princess Leia in disguise)
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The inside of Jabba the Hutt's palace is deliberately styled to resemble the Mos Eisley cantina in the first film. George Lucas wanted to redo the scene but with a bigger budget and without having to rely on stock masks.
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Ian McDiarmid's character of Palpatine is not referred to by this name in the original trilogy. He is only called "The Emperor".
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First film to mention the TIE Fighter by name, when Lando issues the order to split up to "get some of those TIE Fighters to follow".
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Ewok costumes had their "feet" custom-fitted for each actor, so that they were capable of both walking and running as needed.
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Peter Mayhew had a stunt double for the part of the Sarlacc fight in which the skiff jolted, causing Han Solo to hang upside down.
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Clive Revill was never asked to reprise his role as Palpatine from Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980).
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According to crew members Ian McDiarmid was not the studios original choice to play Palpatine. Laurence Olivier had been rumoured to play Palpatine but eventually turned the role down. Frank Finlay, Harry Andrews and John Gielgud were considered for the role. It wasn't until the studio saw McDiarmd's performance in Dragonslayer (1981) that they he was cast as Palpatine.
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The Ewok language was based on Tibetan.
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The design of Luke's new light saber is directly based on the one used by Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977). In fact, one of Obi-Wan's "stunt" saber props was reused in Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983) as Luke's.
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The planet 'Sullust' is mentioned first in this episode (and later in other Star Wars saga items). That name is obtained from 'Sallust(ius)'; an important ancient Roman writer.
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This is only the second film in the series to use American locations for live-action location filming.
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Robert Watts, a co-producer of the film, doubles as the scout walker driver who is thrown out of the scout walker by Chewbacca. This role was written for General Veers, who was played by Julian Glover in Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) Since he looks nothing like Glover, however, Watts is credited as "Lieutenant Watts."
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The film originally included a sandstorm scene that occurred after Han's rescue. It was cut because it was unnecessary and was hectic to shoot, but the idea for the scene was later used in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999).
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Michael Carter was cast as Bib Fortuna in this movie after casting director Mary Selway saw him appearing in the play "The Streets of London" in 1981. It took over eight hours of make-up to first transform him into Jabba the Hutt's Twi'lek advisor. By the end of his five-week shoot, make-up artist Nick Dudman had streamlined the process down to 58 minutes. Removing the make-up took another 25 minutes.
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Chris Parsons played C-3PO in 3 or 4 scenes, including the part where 3PO was carried on the chair by the Ewoks.
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Lawrence Kasdan and George Lucas initially wanted to include the "victory over the Empire" shots on the imperial city. However, they were unable to get a satisfactory name for the capital planet of the Empire. In May 1991, author Timothy Zahn wrote a Star Wars spin-off book, Heir to The Empire, and came out with the capital planet's name as Coruscant. Lucas was happy with the name and as the result, CG shots of victory celebration sequences of other cities, including Coruscant (where the statue collapsed) was included in the 1997 Special Edition.
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Unlike other Star Wars installments, Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983) was shot and completed in less than one year. Photography was done within January 1982 - May 1982
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Kenny Baker's Ewok character, Paploo, was supposed to find Princess Leia unconscious after the speeder bike sequence, but Baker got a case of food poisoning before the scene was going to be filmed, so Warwick Davis's character, Wicket, became the Ewok who finds Leia.
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Costume designer Aggie Guerard Rodgers says that the inspiration for Leia's slave outfit came from the artwork of Frank Frazetta, which often focused on the female form.
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The 1997 CD-ROM Star Wars: Behind the Magic confirms that the sequence showing the cremation of Vader's body/armor was directed by George Lucas himself.
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The 1997 Special Edition's theatrical release was slated for March 7, but was pushed back a week to March 14. Most posters promoting the special edition still have the inaccurate March 7 release date.
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Luke's mechanical hand gets shot. Leia gets shot in the shoulder. Luke cuts off Darth Vader's hand. See also Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) and Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980).
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Carrie Fisher's birthmark (near the small of her back) is visible in the desert scene where she turns her back to the camera to swing around a mounted laser gun.
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This movie depicts the first time in the series that Han speaks directly to Artoo. As the droids approach the Imperial bunker, Han shouts, "C'mon! C'mon!" to him.
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The first "completely" remote control R2D2 was not in "The Phantom Menace" but at the 1983 Sydney Premier in Australia. The Carrie Fisher were so convinced that it was one of the movie R2D2 he asked "when are you going to let the little guy out for a break" and was amazed along with the rest of the cast.

The fate of the R2D2, One of actors told George Lucas about the it at the premier and it was destroyed by court order the following year.
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Ernie Fosselius, creator of the Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) spoof Hardware Wars (1978), appears as the voices of the rancor's keepers.
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As seen in the theatrical trailers, Luke's new light saber had a blue laser blade instead of the green that appears in the finished film, as it had been in the first two movies. The blade was changed to green as being blue, it was difficult to make out against the sky during the attack on the sail barge scene.
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The roofs of the Scout Walkers bear an uncanny resemblance to the roofs of the gun turrets on WWII German Tiger tanks-especially the small railings that these tanks had.
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In a personal letter to friend actor Henry Dibling, Lindsay Anderson said that a role in this movie was offered to him (a "Prince of Evil" role, in his own words). He turned it down because he was busy with his own movie, Britannia Hospital (1982), by then. Coincidentally, Mark Hamill appeared in that film as well.
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Endor scenes were filmed on a sound stage in London, and then on location in a Redwood forest. According to Warwick Davis, Lucas decided to spotlight six of the Ewoks, and to have the same British actors play those parts in England and America. All the others were replaced with Americans for the location shoot.
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In his book "Sculpting the Galaxy", Lorne Peterson reveals that all shots featuring the second Death Star are flipped horizontally. The original model was unfinished on the left side, while in the film it appears to be unfinished on the right.
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Cameo 

Ben Burtt:  the Imperial officer in the bunker who says "Freeze!" and gets knocked into the generator room by a thrown satchel. When he falls over the edge, he attempts to emulate the Wilhelm scream, which he made famous.

Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

The blue energy seen after Palpatine's death is the essence of the Dark Side of the Force.
When Vader saves Skywalker by killing Palpatine, he fulfills the Jedi prophecy. He destroys the embodiment of the Dark Side and returns to the light. In doing so, he brings balance to the Force, just as the prophecy predicted.
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 right 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.
After appearing in this film, Wedge becomes the only X-wing pilot character (apart from Luke) who survives all three films.
The reason that Vader did not dissolve immediately after death like Yoda is that he did not yet know how. The ability to do so and then become a Force-Ghost is only passed along from already existing Force-Ghosts. Obi-Wan learned it from Yoda, who in turn had learned from Qui-Gon Jinn. Anakin appears as a Force-Ghost shortly after his death, implying he quickly mastered the ability to manifest himself (and his burnt remains subsequently disappeared).
When Vader throws the Emperor into the shaft, the brief image of a skull can be seen superimposed on his visor.
Many viewers commented about Leia's inability to see the Force-Ghosts of Ben, Yoda, and most importantly her father, Anakin. In the Star Wars novel, 'Truce at Bakura' - which takes place immediately after "Return of the Jedi" - Anakin does appear to Leia, to ask for her forgiveness.
After Yoda's death for the first and only time Luke addresses Obi-Wan Kenobi as 'Obi-Wan' rather then 'Ben' as he did in the first two films.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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