Return of the Jedi (also known as Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi) is a 1983 American epic space opera film directed by Richard Marquand. The screenplay is by Lawrence Kasdan and George Lucas from a story by Lucas, who was also the executive producer. The sequel to Star Wars (1977) and The Empire Strikes Back (1980), it is the third installment in the original Star Wars trilogy, the third film to be produced, and the sixth chronological film in the "Skywalker Saga". The film stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, David Prowse, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew and Frank Oz.
Set one year after The Empire Strikes Back, the Galactic Empire is constructing a second Death Star to exterminate the Rebel Alliance. With intel that the Emperor will be onboard, the Rebel Fleet launches a full-scale attack on the Death Star in hopes of both destroying it and the Emperor. Meanwhile, Rebel hero Luke Skywalker, now a Jedi Knight, struggles to bring his father, Darth Vader, back to the light side of the Force.
Following Lucas and Kasdan's discussion on making Return of the Jedi, the film went into production. Steven Spielberg, David Lynch and David Cronenberg were considered to direct the project before Marquand signed on as director. The production team relied on Lucas' storyboards during pre-production. While writing the shooting script, Lucas, Kasdan, Marquand, and producer Howard Kazanjian spent two weeks in conference discussing ideas to construct it. Kazanjian's schedule pushed shooting to begin a few weeks early to allow Industrial Light & Magic more time to work on the film's effects in post-production. Filming took place in England, California, and Arizona from January to May 1982 (1982-05).
The film was released in theaters on May 25, 1983. It grossed $374 million during its initial theatrical run, becoming the highest-grossing film of 1983. Overall, the film was well-received by critics, with strong praise going to the special effects and action sequences, performances, John Williams' score, and emotional weight, but criticism was directed at the screenplay, lack of fresh ideas, and the controversial appearance of Ewoks, whom critics argue was a unsubtle commentary on the Vietnam War. While retrospective reviews have remained positive, Return of the Jedi is widely considered to be the weakest film in the original trilogy. Several re-releases and revisions to the film have followed over the decades, which has also brought its total gross to $475 million. The United States Library of Congress selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry in 2021. After Lucas finished his six-film saga by making the prequel trilogy, Disney purchased Lucasfilm and produced a sequel trilogy. Additionally, it released The Mandalorian, the first live-action television series in the franchise, for the s†rêâmïng service Disney+. The series and its spin-offs are set five years after Return of the Jedi.
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