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Trivia / Return of the Jedi

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  • Acting for Two:
    • Besides R2-D2, Kenny Baker also portrayed Paploo, the Ewok who stole an Imperial speeder bike.
    • Sound designer Ben Burtt voiced the robot being tortured by Jabba's henchmen and also appeared as Colonel Dyer, the Imperial officer in the Death Star generator's bunker.
    • EV-9D9 and Newland are both played by director Richard Marquand.
    • Erik Bauersfield voiced Bib Fortuna and Admiral Ackbar.
  • Acting in the Dark: Sebastian Shaw (Anakin Skywalker) initially didn't know that he portrayed a character in a Star Wars movie, though he had suspicion that "it's something to do with science-fiction". His presence during the filming was kept secret from all but the minimum cast and crew.
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  • Approval of God: There is a fan theory suggesting that the old bearded guy from the Endor strike team (known as Nik Sant in Legends) was Rex from Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels. Dave Filoni would flip flop on this issue. The current state is that Rex was at Endor, but whether he was the old bearded guy is ultimately up to the viewer.
  • Awesome, Dear Boy: Averting the Old Shame trope as noted below, Sebastian Shaw, the actor who portrayed redeemed and unmasked Anakin Skywalker, has praised two previous Star Wars movies and enjoyed them particularly for the visual effects, which he described in an interview with science-fiction film magazine Starlog as "brilliant techniques which, in many ways, were revolutionary, something quite new."
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!:
    • The Bothans stole the information about the second Death Star, not the first.
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    • Also, they don't steal any plans. All they gave to the Alliance was the information that the second Death Star wasn't operational yet (or so they thought), and that the Emperor himself personally oversaw the construction.
  • Cast the Expert:
    • The reason why the redeemed and unmasked Anakin Skywalker was portrayed by Sebastian Shaw, instead of David Prowse who portrayed the masked Darth Vader, is because the redemption and unmasking scene is the emotional climax of the film, so the casting crew wanted an experienced actor for the role.
    • Oola, the Twi'lek slave dancer, is portrayed by a real-life dancer, Femi Taylor.
  • Cast the Runner-Up: Kenny Baker was supposed to play Wicket, but he fell sick for most of the production and that's when Warwick Davis stepped into the role.
  • Creator Backlash: Some of the cast have mixed feelings about the movie and working on it:
    • The Empire Strikes Back was David Prowse's (Darth Vader) personal favourite. By contrast, he isn't particularly fond of this last entry of the trilogy.
      David Prowse: This for me was the weak part of the trilogy, and unfortunately turned out to be the worst film experience I have ever had. I did not like the introduction of the Ewoks, although the kids loved it. The premise that a bunch of teddy bears with sticks and stones could defeat the might of the Stormtroopers was totally unbelievable and spoilt the film for me, even though I did not have a great involvement. [1]
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    • In J.W. Rinzler's Making of Return of the Jedi book, Carrie Fisher is quoted saying that she felt Jedi was the weakest film in the trilogy. Mark Hamill likewise had mixed feelings about the film, and felt that the script was a letdown compared to the first two films.
      "Watching Jedi was like finding your old high-school yearbook up in the attic. I couldn't really relate to it. I really felt outside the whole thing. It was a sad feeling in a way, because it was a part of my life that's over now."
    • Harrison Ford didn't regret working on the film, but he was clearly burned out on playing Han Solo and wasn't satisfied with the ending or the overall script.
      "I'm glad I did all three of them. I'm glad it brought itself to a natural conclusion. But three is enough for me. I was glad to see that costume for the last time. I don't think it had a very successful ending, with that teddy bear picnic."
    • Alec Guinness also didn't care for his brief involvement with the film either. He was reluctant to take up the role of Obi Wan a third time, even if it was just for what amounted to a cameo role, but he felt it would've been mean of him to turn it down.
    • Both George Lucas and Richard Marquand hated the results of the "Lapti Nek" number in the film for its dated disco atmosphere and stiff puppetry, hence why Lucas replaced it with a new song and CGI in the Special Editions of the movie.
  • Dawson Casting: An unusual example for a middle-aged male character: when Vader's face is finally seen, he is being played by 78-year-old Sebastian Shaw. The timeline would reveal that he would be in his mid-forties at the time. Justified, as he's been living for roughly 25 years with severe burns and multiple organ failures and being rapidly aged by usage of the dark side so it was likely that he would be Younger Than He Looks.
  • Deleted Scenes: See here.
  • Descended Creator:
    • Director Richard Marquand also appears as Newland and EV-9D9.
    • Co-producer Robert Watts plays Lieutenant Watts, the Imperial officer who pilots the AT-ST in the Battle of Endor.
  • Enforced Method Acting: Carrie Fisher's unhappiness during her Jabba slave scenes was likely genuine. Not only was the slave bikini every bit as uncomfortable as it looked, she apparently wore nothing under it, meaning people standing behind her could, in her own words, see all the way to Florida.
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  • Missing Episode: The film version of "Lapti Nek" was never included on any soundtrack albums, the original recording likely having been lost, and has since been only available on the VHSs and the 2006 Limited Edition DVD. There was also an unused piece of Source Music composed by Joseph Williams that was lost.
  • No Stunt Double: During production, Lucas asked Carrie Fisher if she wanted a stunt double to kill Jabba the Hutt, but she declined and wanted to kill him herself.
  • Old Shame: Averted for Sebastian Shaw. Unlike Alec Guinness, Shaw always said that he had a splendid time playing Anakin Skywalker. After all, it was an easy role that paid well for him, and he found that having an action figure made in his likeness was a delightful surprise.
  • The Other Marty: Anakin's Force ghost in the special edition DVDs. Sebastian Shaw's appearance is removed and replaced by Hayden Christensen. This was a huge point of contention among the saga's fans, as the younger Anakin doesn't interact as well with Yoda and Obi-Wan as the older Anakin did. Christensen mentioned in an interview that he didn't fully know what George Lucas was up to, otherwise he would have played the scene totally different.
  • Promoted Fanboy: Warwick Davis was a huge Star Wars fan before getting cast as Wickett the Ewok.
  • Serendipity Writes the Plot: Luke's new lightsaber was originally going to be blue, as Obi-Wan's and Anakin's had. This showed up on a poster and in some early screenshots and trailers. However, the special effects team realized that this wouldn't look good against the blue sky on Tatooine during the scene on Jabba's barge, so it was made green. Much later, the Prequel Trilogy would establish that the Jedi usually have blue or green lightsabers.
  • Torch the Franchise and Run: While it obviously did not take, this was more or less Lucas's intent when making "Jedi" as noted in the Rinzler book. He had started to sour on his original hope for Star Wars to be serialized into multiple episodes, being especially worried about not being able to retain the cast and properly giving the characters closure. Mark Hamill had a car accident before Empire which didn't stop production but did make Lucas scared about an incident like that putting a wrench into his plans for the future, his difficulty to attract talented directors with many of his first choices rejecting both Empire and Jedi, and his fears that the novelty of Star Wars was waning by the '80s. In addition to all of that, there was his divorce with Marcia Lucas. As such, Return of the Jedi closed the original trilogy with subplots from multiple future parts merged into a whole, the Luke/Han/Leia romance suddenly resolved, and a complete victory achieved over the Empire. Tragically, Lucas's fears about the death of an important cast member would later be realized when Carrie Fisher suddenly passed between the making of The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker, necessitating the use of footage from deleted scenes to complete Leia's narrative.
  • Troubled Production: As for the final part of the Original Trilogy, creating Return of the Jedi may not have been as contentious as A New Hope or Empire, but the production crew certainly faced their own problems according to J.W. Rinzler's Making of Return of the Jedi book. George Lucas clashed with both co-writer Lawrence Kasdan and director Richard Marquand (who was only brought on after several of Lucas' planned choices didn't pan out), the crew had many departures (the producer of the previous two films, Gary Kurtz, split up with Lucasfilm due to a combo of the budget overruns on Empire and his dislike of the direction Lucas was taking the series with the film; designer Ralph McQuarrie left once he became burned out because of his constant work; cinematographer Alan Hume left with one month remaining due to the Lucas-Marquand feud, forcing camera operator Alec Mills to step in), the effects crew lost over 100,000 feet of film stock that couldn't be read in an optical printer, and the first screening of the film (using an early cut) was reportedly a disaster, with Lucas deriding the editing and the fact that it didn't feel like a Star Wars film.
  • Underage Casting: Ian McDiarmid was 38 during shooting, nearly 50 years younger than Palpatine is during the events of the film. This ended up paying off beautifully as he was able to reprise the role in the prequels, animated series, and The Rise of Skywalker.
  • Wag the Director: The reason Admiral Ackbar doesn't celebrate along with the rest of the crew after the Rebel fleet brings down a Star Destroyer was due to the insistence of his actor, Tim Rose. Rose, having had friends drafted in the Vietnam War, believed that war, even in victory, should be a treated as a somber occasion, and refused to portray Ackbar as jubilant during such an occasion. He told the producers that if they didn't like his performance they could put someone else in the costume for that scene. Ultimately, Rose's performance was used in the final film.
  • What Could Have Been: Enough for its own page.
  • Working Title:
    • The film was originally titled Revenge of the Jedi, but Lucas changed it a few weeks before it released. He alleges it's because Jedi do not seek revenge, but—as the owner of the merchandise licensing rights—outing counterfeiters is another potential motive. Oddly enough, the Japanese dub kept the Revenge part in the title until the Special Edition dubs.
    • It was also filmed under the title "Blue Harvest".