Film: Return of the Jedi

"I am a Jedi, like my father before me."
Luke Skywalker

Luke Skywalker has returned to
his home planet of Tatooine
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 secretly
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...

Completing the larger film Lucas planned, this 1983 film closed the door on the Star Wars film series until The Phantom Menace. Lucas still didn't direct, but did involve himself more closely in the production this time.

The success of the first two films made the success of this one less of a worry. In fact, keeping the budget under control was one of the biggest issues. It turned out that locations were overcharging the production of The Empire Strikes Back, knowing it was the next Star Wars film. So the crew pretended to pitch the film to locations as a B horror movie, "Blue Harvest". Other problems were creative. Lawrence Kasdan wanted a darker ending. Harrison Ford wanted Han to have a Heroic Sacrifice (although that might have rendered the entire arc in Jabba's palace meaningless).

Luke and company confront Jabba the Hutt to rescue Han, still frozen in carbonite. With the gauntlet being thrown down by the empire, the Rebels regroup to deal with the building of a new Death Star. A strike team is sent in to disable defenses and find unexpected allies in the primitive Ewoks, while the main fleet engages the superstructure in orbit. Luke finds himself drawn to conclude his rivalry with Darth Vader, with the fate of the universe and the Jedi Order in balance.

After the film came out, critics commended its return to the Lighter and Softer tone of A New Hope but were not as kind to the film's focus on more action than character. Many fans too hated the Ewoks. The film was still a big hit and seen as a fitting conclusion to the saga. If nothing else, it ended the series with a lot of spectacle.

Long believed to be the final chronological chapter of the Star Wars saga for nearly 30 years until Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm in 2012 announced the production of the long-awaited sequel trilogy beginning with The Force Awakens.

The Return of the Jedi provides examples of:

  • Acting Unnatural: During the approach to Endor in a stolen Imperial shuttle with a Star Destroyer watching their every move, Han tells Chewbacca: "I don't know... fly casual."
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene:
    • Vader and Luke's verbal duel on Endor. In that scene, Luke shows just how much he has matured in how he can fight with logic and rhetoric against his father with as much skill as with his lightsaber to the point that Vader now has to fend off Luke's mind games.
    • Vader's funeral pyre at the end, establishing a sense of closure on Luke and his feelings towards his father before going on to the big celebration scene.
    • Luke and Leia's conversation about their mother where Luke reveals to her that they're brother and sister, and Vader is their father.
  • Aerial Canyon Chase: Flying into the Death Star, seeing as the Millennium Falcon is a rather skinny ship despite its width, whereas most Imperial fighters are as wide as they are tall.
  • Agony Beam: Force Lightning.
  • Alas, Poor Villain:
    • Vader's Redemption Equals Death scene at the end.
    • The Rancor's death, with its handler weeping over its body. It even whimpers pitifully as it dies.
  • And I Must Scream: In the novelization, Han describes the carbon freezing as "not just sleeping, but a big wide awake nothing."
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing: When the Emperor dies (including the Nations of the World Montage in the Special Edition).
  • And Your Little Dog Too:
    Vader: If you will not turn to the Dark Side, then perhaps she will.
    Luke: NEVER!
  • Animal Motifs: The director's commentary mentions that the window in Palpatine's room on the Death Star is designed to resemble a spider's web, because the Emperor is the plotter at the center.
  • Annoying Laugh: Courtesy of Salacious B. Crumb (the tiny monkey-lizard creature that tries to steal 3PO's eyes at one point).
  • Anti-Villain: Darth Vader essentially became one by the movie's second half. For one thing, it is hinted that his attempts to turn Luke to the Dark Side were as a means of protecting him (the only alternative was to kill him), and when mentioning that it's too late for him to redeem himself, he seems to say it with a tinge of remorse. This, combined with the fact that he even breaks his general rule of You Have Failed Me, show that the Dark Side has begun to lose its grip on him.
  • Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence: Yoda, and then Anakin, become one with the Force.
  • Asshole Victim: Jabba the Hutt and Palpatine.
  • Attack Pattern Alpha: All over the place during the Battle of Endor.
  • Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Han and Leia at the end of the film.
  • Badass Longcoat: While Luke and Leia wear camouflage ponchos on Endor, Han gets a camouflage duster instead.
  • Bad Boss:
    • Vader implies at one point that Palpatines's even worse than him.
      Vader: I hope so, commander, for your sake. The Emperor is not as forgiving as I am.
    • Mind you, this is one film after he Force-choked the life out of Ozzel and Needa for failing him. Although he could be referencing his decision to let Jerjerrod (who he's having this conversation with) live.
    • When Luke tries to kill Jabba, one of the Hutt's guards saves him by preventing Luke from shooting. Jabba responds by triggering the trapdoor, dropping them both into the Rancor pit, and laughing with sadistic glee as the guy who saved his life meets a grisly end.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Leia's slave outfit.
  • Because Destiny Says So:
    • Obi-Wan tells Luke this is the reason he must face Vader again.
    • Palpatine tells Luke it is his destiny to join the Dark Side.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Ewoks. To some extent, Mon Calamari too.
  • Big Bad: Emperor Palpatine.
  • Big Badass Battle Sequence: This is a Star Wars movie, after all.
  • Big "NEVER!": Luke, when Vader threatens to turn Leia to the Dark Side instead of him.
  • Big "NO!": The new Blu-Ray edition of the film adds a "No...NO!" (supposedly as a retroactive callback to Revenge of the Sith) when Vader throws Palpatine to his death.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Nien Nunb, Lando's co-pilot, speaks a Kenyan dialect called Haya. The lines were delivered by Kipsang Rotich, a Kenyan student living in the US, and are actually correct Hayan translations of the English text.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity:
    • Jabba's love of theatrics backfires with both the Rancor pit and the Sarlacc. In the Rancor's case, the concept is sound but the switch that controls the gate was left within reach of its victims. With the Sarlacc, he insists on executing Luke and company in the most dramatic way possible despite having just seen another Gladiator Games-style demise fail.
    • Palpatine plans his strategy around breaking the morale of the Rebellion before destroying them utterly, which he sees as a means to the end of turning Luke to the Dark Side. At no point does he take into account the possibility that the Rebels might defeat his inefficiently deployed fleet, nor that Anakin might not like seeing his son tortured to death in front of him.
  • Bonding Over Missing Parents: Luke and Leia's conversation on Endor where they realize they're twins.
  • Braids of Action: Leia, when she kills Jabba. She's also shown wearing braids (pinned back) when she takes her helmet off on Endor when first meeting Wicket the Ewok.
  • Break Them by Talking: Palpatine tries to do this to Luke on the Death Star. He does a good enough job to goad Luke into trying to attack him, at which point Vader steps in.
  • Bury Your Disabled: Darth Vader, who was a quadruple amputee only able to move and breathe due to cybernetic implants, which were fried because he conducted the Emperor's Force lightning when he pulled him away from Luke.
  • Call Back:
    • "I love you." "I know."
    • In the last movie, after Han rescued Luke, he says "That's two you owe me, junior!" After he gets saved by Luke, he tells him "Now, I owe you one."
    • Luke successfully deflects several blaster bolts in the Sail Barge fight and at the end of the speeder bike chase.
    • Chewie is cuffed and led to a prison as part of a plan to rescue someone currently detained. Just like in A New Hope.
    • When Luke's group gets caught up in an Ewok net, he asks Han if he could reach his Lightsaber, remembering the time Han used it in Empire to cut open a Tauntaun for warmth.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Palpatine is definitely this; in the first scene he appears in he discusses his oh-so-evil plans with his most trusted servant and provides us with plenty of cackling.
  • Caught in a Snare: Oh, those Ewoks.
  • Characterization Marches On: In the original film, 3PO says, "I'm not much more than an interpreter, and not very good at telling stories." Either he was being modest, or he got better at it in the years between the two films (or actually had some stories to tell), because he does a gripping-enough Ewokese retelling of the entire trilogy so far (complete with sound effects!) that he gets the tribe to fight to the death on the side of the Alliance.
  • Chase Scene: Leia, Luke, Stormtroopers and speeder bikes.
  • Chekhov's Skill: C-3P0's interpreter skills come in handy when the Rebels recruit the Ewoks to their side against the Empire.
  • The Chessmaster: The Emperor.
    Palpatine: Everything that has transpired has done so according to my design!
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: For any droids that displease Jabba the Hutt.
  • Combat Tentacles: The Sarlacc.
  • Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are: Luke hiding from Vader during their final battle.
  • Comic Book Adaptation: Marvel Comics adapted the movie as a standalone miniseries.
  • Connected All Along: Luke and Leia turn out to be twins separated at birth.
  • Convenient Cranny: Luke getting a breather from the Rancor... just long enough to plan his exit.
  • Convenient Weakness Placement: The Emperor's throne room is surrounded by tantalizing bottomless pits. Oops.
  • Cool Bike: The speeder bikes.
  • Cool Starship: This entry in the series introduces several new ones; the shuttle Tydirium, the A-Wing, the B-Wing, and various cruisers in the Rebel fleet.
  • Covers Always Lie: The film's promotional posters showed Luke with a blue lightsaber instead of the green one he wields in the film, and one famous example had the film's scrapped title Revenge of the Jedi. This poster showed Luke with a red lightsaber fighting Vader, who has a blue one, and is quite rare.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: Realizing that they can't escape, the Rebel Fleet closes to point blank range with the Imperials. In this case, they don't even think it'll work, it's just that they'll survive longer going toe to toe with the Star Destroyers than they will hanging out in the open for the Death Star to pick off. And they'll take a few of the Imperials down with them. The novelization goes the extra mile to explain that this was, tactically speaking, a sound choice when compared to the alternative. Cruisers vs. Star Destroyers aside, either the Death Star will fire on the Rebel ships, risking hitting its own Star Destroyers and clearing a path for the Rebels to escape, or it will hold its fire, allowing the Rebels and Star Destroyers to fight in peace.
    • "Hugging the enemy" at point blank range when they have superior artillery power, so they can't bring it to bear without risking hitting their own troops, is actually a tried-and-true military tactic. The Soviets' superiority in artillery often forced the Germans to do this after the winter of 1941-2, the PLA did this against U.N. forces throughout The Korean War, and guerilla forces the world over (Vietnam, Algeria, etcetc) have done this ever since the 1950s and the proliferation of artillery. That's not to say it's automatically a winning tactic, but it does negate an enemy's artillery/fire-support advantages.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Described as the fate of anyone eaten by the Sarlacc. To quote C-3PO:
    C-3PO: In its belly, you will find a new definition of pain and suffering as you are slowly digested over a... thousand years.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Several.
    • Luke and his friends tear through Jabba's guards on the sail barge.
    • The Imperial navy curbstomps the Rebel fleet until they figure out a strategy to counter-attack.
    • Luke holds back against Vader for a long time and tries to avoid fighting him, but finally get provoked into an Unstoppable Rage and defeats him.
  • Darker and Edgier: A character example. Luke's entrance sees him Force-choking two guards to get them out of his way, just to emphasize how much he has changed since his first appearance in the saga. Though unlike his father and all his You Have Failed Me moments, Luke appears to only renders the guards unconscious.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Luke's all-black outfit. Though he does come close to succumbing to the Dark Side, he remains a pure hero and even becomes the ultimate Big Good by singlehandedly reviving the Jedi order.
  • David Versus Goliath: The Rebel Alliance in general, but in particular, A-wing vs. Super Star Destroyer. As he and his bridge crew watch the massive starship plummet into the Death Star with its bridge tower aflame, Ackbar just flops into his chair, jaw agape in disbelief, while everyone else cheers.
  • Dead Person Conversation: Luke talks to the ghost of Obi-Wan on Dagobah after Yoda dies.
  • Death or Glory Attack: Once the second Death Star is revealed to be both operational and capable of targeting individual ships, the Alliance leadership realizes that their only chance for survival — slim as it is — lies in attacking the Executor and its supporting fleet head-on.
  • Defeat Equals Explosion: The Emperor apparently explodes on impact after being thrown down the reactor shaft at the climax of the film.
  • Defiant Captive: Luke to Palpatine. Unfortunately for Luke, Palpatine is much better at manipulating people and shoots Luke's positions down effortlessly.
    Luke: Your overconfidence is your weakness.
    Palpatine: Your faith in your friends is yours.
  • Defiant to the End:
    • Han to Jabba when the gangster demands they beg for mercy.
    • Jabba as well, though he doesn't take the threat Luke poses seriously. His mistake.
  • Deflector Shields:
  • Den of Iniquity: Jabba's audience chamber, complete with conveniently-located Rancor pit.
  • Did You Actually Believe?: Palpatine gives Luke this speech after revealing his baiting the Rebels' attack.
  • Died Happily Ever After: Anakin, Yoda, and Obi-Wan.
  • Disney Villain Death:
    • The Imperial officer that Han performs a Railing Kill on in the Endor bunker. note 
    • At the end, Palpatine, who also explodes on his way down.
  • Dispense With The Pleasantries: Trope Namer, when Vader tells Jerjerrod to get right to business, as the construction of the base is falling behind.
    Vader: I'm here to put you back on schedule.
  • Distinctive Appearances: The reason why Luke's lightsaber blade is green in the finished cut of the film. In the early stages of rotoscoping, Luke's saber had a blue energy blade. However, his blue lightsaber didn't show up well against the blue sky during the Tatooine sail barge battle. Changing the saber to green fixed the problem. The fact that the green blade is obviously brand-new (unlike the blue one, where it wasn't obvious) also allowed the deletion of an early scene in the film, where we would've seen Luke finishing work on his new lightsaber. Luke's blue saber can still be seen in the original trailers, plus all the poster art for the film.
  • Dressing as the Enemy:
    • Lando dresses as one of Jabba's guards to infiltrate the palace.
    • On Endor, Han dresses as an Imperial soldier and request reinforcements to get the Imperial troops in the bunker to open it.
    • Hard to see, but the bearded Rebel commando takes the captured scout trooper's armor.
  • Drunk on the Dark Side: Palpatine's all-too-obvious enjoyment of the Electric Torture he administers to Luke. Too bad he doesn't see what's coming.
  • Due to the Dead: Luke gives Anakin a Jedi's funeral on Endor.
  • Dying as Yourself: Anakin's Last Request to Luke.
    Vader: Luke, help me take this mask off. Just for once... let me look on you with my own eyes.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: During the Battle of Endor, Green Leader a.k.a. Arvel Crynyd's fighter gets shot down. As his ship begins to break apart, the pilot manages to crash it clean through the bridge of the Executor, causing it to lose all control and smash into the Death Star.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After much hardship throughout the movies (both the original and prequel trilogies), Palpatine and his Empire have been defeated and the Galaxy is now free from the tyranny of the Dark Lord of the Sith. Luke may have lost his father, Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker, but he had managed to bring him back to the good side, and at the end he could see the spirits of Obi-Wan, Yoda, and Anakin again, smiling and baring him a happy farewell.
  • Electric Torture: Palpatine can do this with his hands.
  • Environmental Symbolism: The observation window behind Palpatine resembles, fittingly, a spider's web.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: A thrown-in example, as the Rancor's keeper rushes to the scene when the gate comes crashing down, only to be escorted away after starting to cry.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: In deleted scenes, the Emperor orders Jerjerrod to blow up the moon if the Rebels manage to destroy the shield generator. Jerjerrod tries to object, noting there are still several Imperial battalions on the moon, but is forced to comply when further ordered. Once the shield is deactivated, you can see that Jerjerrod is extremely hesitant to turn the station on the moon.
  • Everything Is an Instrument: The Ewok celebration scene at the end of the movie shows one Ewok using sticks hitting stormtrooper helmets as a drum set.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Had Palpatine forgotten how he won Anakin over in the first place?
  • Evil Is Hammy: Jabba the Hutt and Emperor Palpatine are clearly enjoying their bacon.
  • Evil Is Not Well Lit: Palpatine's observation tower. Jabba's palace is also quite dim and smoky.
  • Evil Is Petty: Jabba's response to Oola (the green dancing girl) not performing to his liking is to feed her to the Rancor.
  • Evil Laugh:
    • Jabba the Hutt's "Ho ho ho ho ho!"
    • Salacious Crumb's "Ahahahaha!"
    • Palpatine's cackling "Ah-he he he he he!"
  • Evil Overlord List:
    • Jabba forgot to check number 122 when he had his sail barge built: "The gun turrets on my fortress will not rotate enough so that they may direct fire inward or at each other."
    • Palpatine forgot many of them, but a key one would be 77: "If I have a fit of temporary insanity and decide to give the hero the chance to reject a job as my trusted lieutenant, I will retain enough sanity to wait until my current trusted lieutenant is out of earshot before making the offer." Not that Vader turned on the Emperor because he didn't want to lose his job.
  • Face Nod Action: Luke and a disguised Lando Calrissian just before Luke is to be executed.
  • "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner: Han's response to Jabba's final ultimatum at the Sarlacc pit.
    Han: Threepio, you tell that slimy piece of worm-ridden... filth, that he'll get no such pleasure from us!
  • FanDisservice: One of Jabba's dancing girls is quite lithe and lovely; the other is... not.
  • Fanservice: Why else would you have Carrie Fisher laying around in a gold metal bikini? Be Careful What You Wish For: Word of God says it's because Carrie Fisher had complained about how boring her wardrobe from the two previous films was. She would describe it as "what supermodels will eventually wear in the 7th ring of hell".
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: More than one writer has commented on the Vietnam War parallels in the Battle of Endor, with supposedly backwoods natives outsmarting a superior armed force.
  • Fat Bastard: Jabba the Hutt.
  • Fed to the Beast: Luke getting trapdoor'd into the Rancor pit.
  • Final Battle: With Luke and Vader
  • Final Speech: Yoda gives one to Luke before dying, and later, Vader does too.
  • Finish Him!: Palpatine to Luke when he has Vader at swordpoint.
  • Fish People: Admiral Ackbar and the Mon Calamari.
  • Five Second Foreshadowing: When the Rebel fleet arrives to find that the Imperials are jamming their scanners.
    Lando: But how could they be jamming us if they don't know... if we're coming? Break off the attack! The shield is still up!
  • Flaunting Your Fleets: One particular shot shows that the Imperial armada over Endor is positively gigantic.
  • Fluffy Tamer: The Rancor's keeper
  • Forgot About His Powers: When Leia goes missing it never seems to even occur to Luke to try to reach her through the Force, the way that he did on Bespin in The Empire Strikes Back. Instead he recommends a physical search and the use of Artoo's scanners. Given he was half dead on Bespin when he did it, he may not even remember he's able to do it.
  • Four-Star Badass: General Solo, General Calrissian, and Admiral Ackbar
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: When Vader is shocked by the Force Lightning, not only can you see his skeleton, but also surgical rods and screws.
  • Gang of Critters: Ewoks
  • Genre Savvy: When the shield around the Death Stars goes down, and the Rebel fighters go in to destroy the power core, the Imperials onboard sound the alarm and run for the shuttles.
  • George Lucas Altered Version: They added in a bizarre musical number in Jabba's palace for the special edition, which leads into the original scene of the Twilek dancer being fed to the rancor. The sarlacc was given extra tentacles and a beak. Hayden Christiansen was spliced into the footage where Anakin's force ghost appears next to Obi-Wan and Yoda. And the final musical number was made into an extensive Nations of the World Montage that included Tatooine, Coruscant and Naboo (the last two never visited in the original trilogy) celebrating the massive victory against the Empire.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • Jabba and his... pleasure slaves. This film is rated G and U in the U.K.
    • When the A-wing pilot crashes into the Executor's bridge, on the Rebel ship, someone in the background can be heard yelling something that sure sounds like, "Die, dickheads!"
  • Gladiator Games: The Rancor pit, which Jabba enjoys dropping people in and watching them be devoured.
  • Go Back to the Source: Luke must return to his home of Tatooine in order to rescue Han Solo from Jabba the Hutt.
  • God Guise: The Ewoks think 3PO is a god. Luke uses his Force powers to reinforce this idea.
  • Go-Go Enslavement: Leia's and Oola's slave outfits.
    Carrie Fisher: What it is, is it doesn't adhere to your body. Boba Fett was standing behind me, and I'm laying there on Jabba the Hutt, and he can see all the way to Florida.
  • Good Is Not Soft: Farm boy Luke makes his introduction dressed in black Sith-style robes and Force chokes Jabba's guards. This foreshadows the plotline of Vader and the Emperor trying to get him to turn to The Dark Side.
  • Go Out with a Smile: At the end, this is Anakin's farewell to Luke.
  • Grand Finale
  • Hand Signals: Luke's salute to R2D2, as he is being made to Walk the Plank.
  • Harrison Ford Is About to Shoot You: While Lando looks on and Luke backs him up with a lightsaber.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • The Rebel pilot who rams his fatally damaged craft into the Super Star Destroyer.
    • The more memorable Heel-Face Turn on Vader's part.
    • Offscreen, but the "many Bothans who died" to give the rebels the information about the location of the Death Star and the fact that the Emperor was personally overseeing construction make the entire movie possible.
  • High Speed Hijack: During the speeder bike chase, Luke rides second seat on Leia's bike as they pursue the scout troopers. He has her get up next to the trailing bike, whereupon he jumps to the other bike, throws the mook off, and takes the controls. The trooper smashes backwards and upside-down into a tree.
  • The Hyena: Salacious Crumb. You know, that creepy little monkey thing that sits next to Jabba the Hutt.
  • Hyperspeed Ambush: The Rebel fleet comes out of hyperspace en masse near the Death Star II in order to surround it and cover the attack squadrons that will fly inside the half-constructed space station to destroy it. The Imperial Fleet appears soon after to trap the Rebel fleet.
  • Iconic Outfit: Leia's metal bikini is one of the best-known elements of the film.
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him: This what Palpatine is counting on when he tells Luke to take back his lightsaber and strike him down with all of his hatred so his journey towards the Dark Side will be complete.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Luke and Vader's lightsaber duel.
    Luke: Your thoughts betray you, father. I feel the good in you... the conflict.
  • Imaginary Love Triangle: Han mistakenly thinks Leia is secretly in love with Luke, and is relieved to find out at the end that she was only upset from finding out they're twins and Vader is her father.
  • Inescapable Net: The Ewoks' trap. The heroes DO manage to escape... only for the Ewoks to ambush them seconds afterwards.
  • Ironic Echo: Vader does this to Luke during the I Shall Taunt You portion of their duel.
    Vader: Yes. Your thoughts betray you. Your feelings for them are strong, especially for...sister. have a twin sister. Your feelings have now betrayed her too.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: C-3P0 and R2-D2 dupe a pack of stormtroopers into walking into an Ewok ambush.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Han tells Leia that "when Luke comes back, [he] won't get in the way." Leia quickly corrects his mistake.
  • Jabba Table Manners: Trope Namer, as Jabba is a sloppy eater, and sloppy in other ways.
  • Jedi Mind Trick: Trope Namer — Jabba is immune. Bib Fortuna is not.
  • The Jester: Word of God states that this is Salacious Crumb's position in Jabba's court. It's also implied that Jabba considered eating him had Crumb not managed to be amusing.
  • Just Between You and Me: Just before the battle begins, the Emperor brags to Luke that there is an entire legion of his best troops on Endor who will handle his friends and the Imperial Fleet knows the Rebels are coming. This is actually a subversion, as there is absolutely nothing Luke can do to change the outcome. In addition, this serves to make Luke angry, upset, and hating enough for the Dark Side to kick in.
  • The Kingslayer: Darth Vader throws Emperor Palpatine down the reactor shaft to his doom to stop him from killing Luke.
  • Kneel Before Zod:
    • Jabba tries to make the heroes do this.
    • Palpatine does this to Luke as well. "In time you will call me master.".
  • Large Ham:
    • Palpatine chews the scenery with considerable flair during all of his scenes.
    • Jabba manages to ham up being strangled to death.
  • Last of His Kind: Yoda tells Luke "when gone am I... the last of the Jedi will you be."
  • Lecherous Licking: Jabba gives Leia a slimy lick.
  • Lethally Expensive: "Many Bothans died to bring us this information."
  • Lighter and Softer: The Empire Strikes Back is strikingly dark in tone. This one has teddy bears.
  • Lonely Funeral: Luke is the only one at Anakin's pyre, since he's the only person who saw what happened in the Emperor's throne room and knows that Anakin died a good person.
  • Look Behind You: Played for Laughs. In the skiff battle, Chewbacca warns the still half-blind Han that Boba Fett is behind him. He's telling the truth, and when Han whirls around to check, he accidentally strikes Boba Fett's jetpack, causing it to misfire and send him flying off of the skiff.
  • Love Redeems: Darth Vader.
  • Loyalty Mission: Han Solo is unable to commit fully to the Rebellion due to the bounty placed on his head by Jabba the Hutt. It's not until the debt is... rather forcibly cleared by Luke, Leia, and the gang that he's free and clear to kick Imperial ass and woo beautiful princesses.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Leia was shocked to learn that Vader is Luke's father, but is more shocked when Luke tells her they're siblings. After he left to face him, Leia was in tears because: Darth Vader, the man who represents the evils of the Empire she's fighting against (and who has tortured her and Han), is her father. And that the man she kissed was her brother.
  • Machine Worship: The Ewoks do this to C-3PO at first.
  • Made of Explodium:
    • Jabba's barge deck, since it takes only one shot at it to make the entire barge combust.
      Luke: Point it at the deck!
    • The AT-ST walker that is toppled by the Ewoks explodes when the cockpit hits the ground.
    • Also apparently the Emperor, who explodes for some reason when thrown down the reactor shaft.
  • Meaningful Echo:
    • Han and Leia reverse the famous "I love you," "I know," from The Empire Strikes Back.
    • At the end of Empire, Vader cuts off Luke's hand, signaling Luke's defeat by the Dark Side. At the end of this film, Luke cuts off Vader's hand... signaling that Luke is dangerously close to succumbing to the Dark Side. (For bonus symbolism points, Vader's hand is already cybernetic.) It's also the same hand Vader cut off Luke, and Luke's wearing a black glove to cover damage to the covering of his prosthetic hand sustained in the barge fight earlier in the film, and Luke finds himself staring at the gloved prosthetic hand when he's got Vader at his mercy. Just in case anyone in the audience didn't get the point.
    • In Empire Vader tells Luke that he doesn't know the power of the Dark Side to tempt him with great strength. In Jedi he says it again, this time to tell Luke that he can't side with him and betray the Emperor because he doesn't stand a chance against the Dark Side's power.
  • Meaningful Funeral: Luke gives Anakin a Jedi's funeral on Endor, cremating his armor.
  • Metaphorically True: Obi-Wan's explanation of what happened to Luke's father:
    Luke: Obi-Wan? Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father.
    Obi-Wan: Your father was seduced by the Dark Side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true, from a certain point of view.
    Luke: A certain point of view?
    Obi-Wan: Luke, you will find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.
  • More Teeth than the Osmond Family: The spikes around the Sarlacc Pit are the sarlacc's teeth.
  • Mutual Kill: Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine at the end.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: So, Vader has finally captured his son and is ready to convert him to the Dark Side. As he gloats about the Emperor's victory, Luke replies "Then my father is truly dead." After Luke is escorted to a turbolift, Vader leans on a railing, conflicted over what to do next.
  • My Master, Right or Wrong: Vader believes this at first.
    Vader: You don't know the power of the Dark Side. I must obey my master.
  • Nations of the World Montage: At the end of the special edition, with the planets of the galaxy celebrating the downfall of the Empire. Naboo's celebration was added with the DVD release.
  • Near Villain Victory: Palpatine says to Vader, "His [Luke's] compassion for you will be his undoing." Actually, it turns out to be his own undoing.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Chewbacca's hunger for a piece of dangling meat gets the Rebel party trapped by the Ewoks on Endor.
    Han: Nice job, Chewie. Real nice. Always thinking with your stomach!
Subverted in the long run; it led to the Ewoks agreeing to help the Rebels and without the Ewoks to bolster them by sheer numbers, there's no way the Rebel party would have made it past the Imperials guarding the bunker.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain:
    • During Luke and Vader's duel, every time Luke gets more aggressive (and thus closer to the Dark Side), the Emperor gleefully points this out, causing Luke to step back and regain his composure. This happens several times during the duel.
    • Soon the Emperor shuts up, allowing Vader to taunt Luke, finally unleashing his anger, but when Luke sees that he cut off Vader's hand, which Vader did to Luke in the previous movie, it was Vader who then fixed it for Luke at that time.
    • Palpatine attempting to torture Luke to death via Force Lightning is what finally got Vader/Anakin to redeem himself and turn away from the Dark Side, starting with hurling Palaptine to his Disney Villain Death.
  • No Endor Holocaust: Trope Namer. Word of God stated that popular Internet fan theories — namely, that the destruction of the Death Star would have caused massive destruction on Endor as well due to the falling debris — are not correct.
  • No More Lies: Obi-Wan has no choice but to at last tell Luke the real truth on Dagobah.
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: Averted in that it is heavily implied that the Empire figured out how Luke managed to destroy the first Death Star and redesigned the second one with thick anti-fighter defenses and no two-meter wide exhaust port. However, these advances are negated by tricking the Rebels into attacking when the superstructure is still open enough to allow ships into the interior of the station.
  • Not So Different: Luke realizes this upon seeing that he cut off Vader's hand the exact same way Vader cut of his hand in the last movie, only to see Vader's hand was already cybernetic. This way enough of a shock that shows him what he would become if he gave in to the Dark Side.
  • Oh, Crap:
    • "I know that laugh."
    • Leia when she realizes what Jabba has planned for her
    • Luke when the Rancor emerges.
    • Moff Jerjerrod in the beginning.
      Jerjerrod: [The Emperor] asks the impossible! I need more men!
      Vader: Then perhaps you can tell him when he arrives.
      Jerjerrod: (shocked) The Emperor's coming here?
      Vader: That is correct, Commander. And he is most displeased with your apparent lack of progress.
      Jerjerrod: We shall double our efforts!
      Vader: I hope so, Commander, for your sake. The Emperor is not as forgiving as I am.
    • Lando's "Well, how could they be jamming us if they don't know ... (dawning realization) ...if we're coming? Break off the attack! The shield is still up!"
    • "It's a trap!"
    • Luke as the Emperor shows that he has predicted the entire Rebel plan and outlines how easily he ought to be able to defeat it decisively.
    • "That blast came from the Death Star... That thing's operational!"
    • Han when the AT-ST walker approaches him. Subverted; Chewbacca's hijacked the walker.
    • "Intensify forward firepower!" "TOO LATE!"
    • "Now, young Skywalker ... you will die."
  • Only a Flesh Wound:
    • Leia gets pegged in the shoulder by an (unusually lucky) Stormtrooper blast.
    • R2-D2 takes a hit as well and is momentarily deactivated, which for a droid is probably the equivalent.
  • Out of the Inferno: The Death Star explosion blows out the exit first, but the Millennium Falcon emerges from it.
  • Outrun the Fireball: Done twice.
    • The heroes escaping from Jabba's exploding sail barge on a skiff.
    • The Millennium Falcon, piloted by Lando, while outrunning the explosion from the reactor destroying the Death Star.
  • Paid Harem: The slave girls in Jabba's palace
  • Palate Propping: Luke used this trope on the Rancor with a large bone, albeit not very successfully due to its jaw strength.
  • Papa Wolf: Vader, proving he wasn't beyond hope.
  • Pet the Dog: The Rancor keeper's inconsolable reaction to Luke killing the monster, although more played for laughs, managed to garner a bit more sympathy than expected. As Roger Ebert said, "Everybody loves somebody."
    • Think about it: the Rancor is just an animal, it doesn't have any choice in who it fights. Like if Luke was thrown into a lion pit and had to kill it.
  • Pig Man: Jabba's Gammorean guards.
  • Please Wake Up: During the battle on Endor, an Ewok is shot dead and another one comes up to it, crying and pushing the dead one to wake up.
  • Precision Crash: During the final battle, an A-Wing is hit, loses control, veers off quite a ways, and crashes into the bridge of the Executor, which then crashes into the Death Star and explodes.
  • Prophecy Twist: Arguably, the Emperor had it right when he foresaw that Skywalker's compassion would be his undoing. His error was in misinterpreting which Skywalker his foresight referred to.
  • Proud Warrior Race: The Ewoks.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Wicket the Ewok.
  • Psychic Strangle: Luke, of all people, does this non-fatally to a pair of Jabba's Gamorrean guards to get them out of his way.
  • Psychopathic Manchild:
    • Jabba.
    • Palpatine is very giddy when Luke is angry and his torture of Luke is more childish sadism than anger.
  • Putting the Band Back Together: Twice, actually. The gang reunites on Tatooine to save Han, and later they formally get back together for Han's planned strike against the shield generator on the forest moon of Endor.
  • Rage Breaking Point: Luke really tries not to let his anger get in the way when he's confronting Vader, but Vader then threatens to take the last of his family from him.
    Vader: If you will not turn to the Dark Side, then perhaps she will.
    Luke: (igniting his lightsaber) NEVER!
  • Railing Kill: An Imperial officer in the shield generator room; the actor imitated the Wilhelm Scream on his way down.
  • Rapunzel Hair: Leia, when she takes her hair down on Endor.
  • Reality Has No Subtitles: The Ewoks are incomprehensible to all but some of the characters who share the screen with them.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Luke gets one from Palpatine while undergoing his electroshock therapy.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Darth Vader's final fate.
    Luke: I won't leave you here. I've got to save you.
    Anakin: You already have, Luke. You were right... you were right about me.
  • Refuge in Audacity: You have to give Luke credit, he told Jabba he would die unless he let them go...
  • Relative Button: Luke lost most of his family, either dead or turned evil. His sister is all he has left, so attempt to threaten that she would do either is the one thing that sets him off.
  • Rescued from Purgatory: Rescuing Han Solo.
  • The Reveal:
    • Obi-Wan revealing that Luke and Leia are brother and sister.
    • Also, a confirmation of the reveal in the previous film when Yoda tells Luke (and the audience) the Vader is indeed his father.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder: Between C-3PO and R2-D2.
    C-3PO: Artoo, what are you doing here?!
    R2-D2: [beeping noises]
    C-3PO: Well, I can see you're serving drinks...
  • Right-Hand Attack Dog: The rancor.
  • Rock Beats Laser: The Ewoks versus the stormtroopers.
  • Rocket Ride: The speeder bikes.
  • Samus is a Girl: The "bounty hunter" who brings Chewbacca to Jabba the Hutt turns out to be Leia.
  • Schizo Tech: The Ewoks, despite being apparently stone-aged primitives managed to have come up with a hang-glider and quite sophisticated-looking catapults.
  • Schmuck Bait: Chewie paws at a hanging slab of meat, triggering an Ewok trap net which entangles himself, Han, Luke, R2-D2 and 3PO. Outstanding.
    Han: Great, Chewie! Great! Always thinking with your stomach!
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Once the Executor is destroyed, Imperial crewmen, guards, stormtroopers, officers, and pilots begin to flee the doomed Death Star.
  • See the Whites of Their Eyes: Lando orders the Rebel fleet to close with the Imperial fleet, figuring their odds of surviving a knife fight with the Star Destroyers is much better than their odds of surviving being Sitting Ducks for the Death Star.
    Lando: Yes, I said closer! Move as close as you can, and engage those Star Destroyers at point-blank range!
    Ackbar: At that range, we won't last long against those star destroyers!
    Lando: We'll last longer than we will against that death star! And we might just take a few of them with us!
  • Self Restraint: Luke surrenders himself to the Imperials in order to meet Vader, letting himself be bound.
  • Separated at Birth: Luke and Leia discover this.
  • Series Fauxnale: As of the announcement the films will continue for at least three more with the buying of Lucasfilm by Disney.
  • Shark Pool: The Rancor pit and the Sarlacc pit.
  • Sheathe Your Sword: Luke attempts to do this during his fight with Vader as Palpatine reminds him that as he becomes more aggressive he shifts more towards the Dark Side.
  • Shoot the Messenger: Jabba thumps Threepio whenever he translates a response he doesn't like. Also implied in the earlier comment: "We have need of a new protocol droid after his excellency got angry at the last one and disintegrated him."
  • Shout-Out:
    • Word of God stated that the scene depicting Palpatine's arrival is based on the May Day military marches in Soviet Russia.
    • The Ewoks blow their horns similar to the scene where the Hebrews blow their horns after the Pharaoh's free them in The Ten Commandments.
    • Chewbacca does a Vine Swing with the obligatory Tarzan yell.
  • Slave Collar: Princess Leia is forced to wear a collar by Jabba the Hutt. At one point he yanks her around by a chain attached to the collar: she later uses the chain to strangle him.
  • Smug Snake:
    • Jabba the Hutt. Han offered money instead of his captivity and Jabba refused to listen; when Leia and Luke warned Jabba that they could defeat him, Jabba and his minions did not take them seriously at all. Even when being led to the Sarlacc Pit Luke said "free us, or die." Jabba still refused to listen, and he and his minions still refused to take Luke seriously. Jabba was offered so many warnings, and so many opportunities for alternatives that for him to keep ignoring them made his Karmic Death all the more satisfying.
    • It is a key theme in this movie that Palpatine's arrogance is his weakness. Although he pulls an excellent series of gambits to lure both Luke and the Rebels into his traps, he fails to anticipate his minions not being willing to go along — Vader saves Luke.
  • Space Base: The second Death Star.
  • Spanner in the Works: The Emperor would have gotten away with it if it weren't for those meddling Ewoks, and Chewie's brilliant idea to hijack one of the walkers. That's the real turning point of the ground battle (which trickled down [up?] to the space battle when the generator went up in flames).
  • Spikes of Doom: The Sarlacc Pit has spikes around its edges.
  • Standard Sci-Fi Fleet: This is the first time we see the full Rebel fleet.
  • Standard Starship Scuffle: The Battle of Endor starts out more as a Battle of Midway-style melee, with snub fighters attacking the enemy capital ships, but once the Death Star cranks up its superlaser the Rebel cruisers have no choice but to go in and engage the Imperial Star Destroyers toe-to-toe so that at least the Death Star can't get a clear shot at them.
  • Stand Your Ground: As Lando convinces Ackbar the rebels have to do until the team on Endor gets the Death Star's Deflector Shields down.
  • Stop Worshipping Me: It's against C-3PO's programming to impersonate a deity.
  • Storming the Castle: In this case, Storming The Shield Generator.
  • Strike Me Down with All of Your Hatred: Trope Namer, with the Emperor saying this to Luke, as Luke doing that thing would turn him to the Dark Side.
  • Suffer The Slings: Ewoks use them.
  • Suicidal Gotcha: Luke vs. the Sarlacc.
  • Surprise Incest: Luke did not know. Leia apparently "always knew" on some level... yet she still kissed him, even if it was to tick off Han.
  • Sword over Head: After Luke defeats Vader, he notices his father's mechanical hand (much like his own) and realizes how close he's coming to suffering the same fate.
  • Tactful Translation: C-3PO tries to provide one for Jabba, but it's difficult to reason with him.
  • Taking You with Me:
    • The doomed A-wing pilot flying his own ship into the bridge of the Executor.
    • Lando's reasoning for engaging the Star Destroyers at close range.
      Lando: Yes, I said closer! Move as close as you can, and engage those Star Destroyers at point blank range!
      Ackbar: At that close range, we won't last long against those Star Destroyers.
      Lando We'll last longer than we will against that Death Star! (ship rocks) And we might just take a few of them with us!
  • Tastes Like Friendship: Leia and Wicket.
  • Tell Me About My Father: Luke asking Leia about their mother.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • Han commenting "I hate long waits" and "That doesn't sound so bad", before being told he's up for an incredibly long and excruciating death by Sarlaac.
    • Lando promises Han that the Falcon "won't get a scratch!". On the way into the Death Star the Falcon's communication dish is knocked off.
  • That Man Is Dead: Vader denies he has anything to do with Anakin Skywalker anymore. He's wrong.
    Vader: That name no longer has any meaning for me.
    Luke: It's the name of your true self. You've only forgotten.
  • Theme Music Power-Up:
    • When Luke pretends to jump into the Sarlaac pit, and then starts attacking the guards.
    • As Vader seizes the Emperor and throws him into the reactor shaft, the music changes from the Emperor's theme to the "Jedi/Force" motif.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Han's reaction to what he thinks is Luke's "attempt" to rescue him.
    Han: Together again, huh?
    Luke: Wouldn't miss it.
    Han: How we doing?
    Luke: Same as always.
    Han: That bad, huh?
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Luke, yet again. When we see him for the first time in his Dark Is Not Evil get-up, coolly demanding "You will bring Captain Solo and the Wookiee to me", we know right away this is not the same green and reckless Luke from Empire.
    • While Leia was badass as early as her detention center escape in Episode IV, this movie sees her bluff Jabba with a thermal detonator, choke him to death, and help lead the ground assault on Endor.
    • Discounting the prequels, R2 takes one as he now has a taser and uses it on that little muppet rat Jabba keeps around, and the Ewok who frees him.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Han, again. But briefly when he asked what Leia and Luke were talking about.
    Leia: I can't tell you.
    Han: Could you tell Luke? Is that who you can tell!?
    Leia: (looks away) I... (breaks into tears)
    Han: I'm sorry.
    Leia: Hold me. (runs into Han's arms)
  • Toppled Statue: The special edition adds a scene with a mob tearing down a statue of the emperor on Coruscant.
  • Trap Door: Jabba uses one to drop people into the Rancor pit.
  • Tribal Carry: When the protagonists are captured by the Ewoks — with the exception of C-3PO, who get a comfortable palanquin chair since they believe he's a god.
  • Turn the Other Fist: Luke Skywalker seems to turn away from the Emperor's taunting but suddenly swings back to grab his saber and take a slash at Vader, who blocks it.
  • Under Crank: Used to create the backgrounds for the speeder bike chase.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Even though he was a powerful crime lord surrounded by a small personal army, Jabba really should've taken Luke a little more seriously. Especially after Luke uttered the words "this is your last chance. Free us, or die."
  • Unstoppable Rage: Luke defeating Vader after he is about to threaten to take Leia away in some way.
  • Unwanted False Faith: The Ewoks mistake C-3PO for a deity, much to his embarrassment.
  • Vehicular Turnabout: Chewbacca and a pair of Ewoks famously commandeer an AT-ST, and essentially became the pivotal combatants who turned the whole fight around for the Rebels, both on the ground and in orbit.
  • Victorious Chorus: The end has a choral piece in the soundtrack when the fireworks were going off on Endor, celebrating the destruction of the second Death Star and the defeat of The Empire.
  • Villain Ball: Palpatine's Chessmaster gaming skills in the first trilogy are way off over 20 years after he takes over the Republic. Despite his use of the same deceptive tactics and serendipity that led to the destruction of the Jedi and the creation of the Empire in the first trilogy, Palpatine centers only on protection of the Death Star, ignoring the historical tendency for Sith and Jedi to change allegiances like they change their socks and not always to your advantage.
  • Villainous Demotivator:
    Vader: I hope so, Commander, for your sake. The Emperor is not as forgiving as I am.
  • Villains Never Lie:
    • George Lucas said that the reason Luke sought Yoda to confirm Vader's revelation was because discussing with a psychologist he learned that most people would assume that Vader was lying, and it was all just mind games. Luke needed a respected figure to get proof.
    • James Earl Jones reports that, when he got the line, his first thought was, "Oh, [Vader's] lying!"
  • Vine Swing: Chewbacca attacks an AT-ST walker during the battle of Endor by swinging at it on a vine. He even makes a sound similar to Tarzan's yell.
  • Vocal Evolution: Luke's manner of speaking is far more formal and refined compared to the previous two films, tying nicely into his Character Development.
  • Walk the Plank: The way for prisoners to be fed to the Sarlacc.
  • War Is Hell: A subtle example when the Rebel fleet manages to blow up the Super Star Destoyer; while Admiral Akbar's staff cheer, Akbar himself just slumps sadly in his command chair.
  • Watch Out for That Tree!:
    • After Han Solo accidentally activates Boba Fett's jetpack, the bounty hunter goes flying and slams into the side of Jabba's barge in a way reminiscent of George's typical encounters with trees in George of the Jungle.
    • Important to remember when you're on an ultra fast speeder bike flying through an incredibly thick forest. Also, don't turn around to check behind you, as one of the scout-troopers learned the hard way.
  • Wave Motion Gun: The Death Star II
  • We Can Rule Together: Emperor Palpatine to Luke.
    Palpatine: Your hate has made you powerful. Now, fulfill your destiny, and take your father's place at my side.
  • We Need a Distraction: The Rebels do this several times on Endor, including the two droids.
  • Wham Line: "It was I who allowed the Alliance to learn the location of the shield generator. I assure you, it is quite safe from your pitiful little band."
    • And then the Emperor ups the ante yet again: "Now witness the firepower of this fully armed and operational battlestation!"
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Yoda gives this to Luke after confirming that Vader was indeed Luke's father, realizing the only way Luke could have suspected it is if Vader told him, and thus Vader could only have told him if Luke recklessly attacked Vader before his training was completed.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Vader is revealed to be one at the film's near end.
  • "World of Cardboard" Speech: Luke's declaration to the Emperor that he has become a Jedi. Everything about that sequence was about making Luke angry enough to kill Vader and become the new apprentice to Palpatine, thus demonstrating his skill and maturity by not making the killing blow and refusing to fight anymore; his character arc had become complete.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Pulled off by the heroes in Jabba's Palace. If Leia succeeds at getting Han out of the palace, Lando can get Chewbacca (and, presumably, C-3PO & R2-D2 out). If Leia is caught — Luke can go in. If Luke is captured, R2-D2 has Luke's lightsaber. Even if Jabba thinks things are going his way, they're really going Luke's.
  • X-Ray Sparks: Rare non-humorous example. When Vader lifts Palpatine over his head to save Luke, Palpatine inadvertently hits himself, but Vader also conducts it, revealing flashes of his skull, but not the Emperor's.
  • "Yes"/"No" Answer Interpretation: When Threepio is inducted into Jabba's droid pool:
    EV-9D9: Ah, good, new acquisitions! You are a protocol droid, are you not?
    C-3PO: I am C-3PO, human/cyborg—
    EV-9D9: Yes or no will do.
    C-3PO: Umm... yes.
  • You Just Told Me: This is how Vader discovers that he has a daughter in addition to a son, and that they are twins. More accurately, he probed Luke's mind while Luke was trying to calm down in the shadows.
  • You Rebel Scum!: Trope Namer. An Imperial mook says this when the Rebels are captured during their raid on the shield generator. In a deleted scene, Han takes offense at that.
  • Your Little Dismissive Diminutive: When Palpatine is trying to provoke Luke.
    Palpatine: It was I who allowed the Alliance to learn the location of the shield generator. I assure you, it is quite safe from your pitiful little band.

Alternative Title(s):

Return Of The Jedi