Return of the Jedi, officially titled Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, is a science fiction film by George Lucas that debuted in 1983, and was re-released in 1997. This film was the third film in a trilogy that started with the very successful Star Wars (renamed by Lucas to Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope after the success of the first film, and the prospect of sequels). This film is based upon a nine part series of short stories drafted out by Lucas in the 1970s (hence the episode numbering).
Return of the Jedi begins where the fifth film in the saga, The Empire Strikes Back leaves off in 4 ABY. In this film, the Empire is attempting to create a second and much more powerful Death Star and the rebels attempt to destroy a shield generator which is protecting the station. In the process it is revealed that Princess Leia is the sister of Luke Skywalker and the film ends with a battle between Darth Vader and the Emperor Palpatine on one side and Luke Skywalker on the other. The fight ends with Darth Vader's touching and dramatic redemption as he saves Skywalker by destroying the Emperor, and sacrificing his own life in the process.
The film was originally named Revenge of the Jedi until it was pointed out that revenge is contrary to the Jedi code, though many speculate that the change was always planned to throw fans off. But it has also been claimed that Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan was originally subtitled The Vengeance of Khan, and that the title was changed because of its similarity to Revenge of the Jedi. (Considering the presence of a clone as the antagonist in Star Trek: Nemesis and the Clone Troopers in Attack of the Clones, two movies of Trek and Wars released many years later, it would be an interesting coincidence).
The movie was a commercial success, but is regarded by many critics and much of the public as the weakest of the original trilogy. The stone-age inhabitants of the Endor moon, the Ewoks, particularly, annoy contemporary adult viewers, as their cuteness is, by some, regarded as a ploy to sell merchandising by Lucas (a trend they see continued with Jar Jar Binks in The Phantom Menace) and their ability to overcome the "Empire's best troops" strains credibility even in a fantasy film, those critics argue.
The space battle between the Rebel and Imperial fleets, and the starfighter attack on the Death Star, were well-regarded by critics.
The first two Star Wars movies were adapted for National Public Radio in the early 1980s, but it was not until 1996 that a radio version of Return of the Jedi was heard. See Star Wars (radio) for details.
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back |width="40%" align="center"|Star Wars films |width="30%" align="center"|Followed by: