Revenge of the Jedi

I remember seeing a poster for Revenge of the Jedi in a theater lobby in 1982, I remember imagining that film in my head endlessly until the summer of '83, and I remember seeing something called Return of the Jedi, which was about half a great movie that also had Ewoks. I remember attending a lecture by Irvin Kershner in Memphis the weekend the Special Edition of Empire was first released theatrically, and although I don't remember his answer when someone asked him about Jedi, I remember that's the first time I asked myself "What if Jedi was more like Empire?"

REVENGE OF THE JEDI: THE RED LETTER EDITION was written as an excercise in script-doctoring, an attempt to address particular elements of the film that certain fans have historically had problems with (most infamously covered in the Film Threat article 50 Reasons Why Jedi Sucks) without significantly altering the basic structure and flow of the film. In other words, an attempt to match the tone and feel of THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. 

Major differences include:

  • Leia's increasing ability to use the Force, similar to Luke's nascent abilities in Empire.
  • Luke's increasing aggression during the rescue, raising tangible concerns about the Dark Side.
  • Reversing the rescue on the sail barge so that Lando actually rescues Han, not vice versa when he shows up repelling out of the Millennium Falcon, guns blazing.
  • Making Jabba a much harsher pimp, with a better band and more satisfying death scene.
  • Boba Fett blasting his way out of the Sarlaac, recalling his ship, pursuing the Falcon, setting up a final space duel with Lando during the Death Star battle.
  • Leia's newfound force abilities modify the Luke/Leia/Han triangle, causing more dramatic conflict as Han begins to assume Leia will end up with Luke without having the knowledge of their actual relationship.
  • Instead of just conveniently rolling over and dying while trying to gasp out one last plot point just as Luke arrives, Yoda's death scene is presented as an enlightened Buddha patiently waiting in a glade for his student to return for one final lesson before literally ascending/fading away.
  • The Ewoks have been revamped into squirrel/bear/Ninjas that outsmart and outfight everyone, Rebels and Empire alike. They climb trees like lightning, wear harnesses that let them glide between treetops like flying squirrels, and generally run rings around all their better armed invaders.
  • Instead of worshipping C3PO as a god, the Ewoks try to batter him to death when they initially confuse him for a "white shell", but when Chewie saves him, the Ewoks discover their first rock star. While they hog tie the other Rebels, Chewie gets treated like Elvis (the Ewoks have a serious thing for hair).
  • After several unsuccessful attempts to get into the bunker during the Battle on Endor (the Emperor WAS expecting them, after all) Han has to hijack an Imperial Troop Transport and kamikazee-dive it into the shield generator in order to knock out the shield. He bails out, but breaks an arm crash landing after troops shoot out his power-chute. Leia finds him, tells him about Luke being her brother, and makes fun of him for being a dumb ass.
  • Chewie is the unquestioned hero of the Battle on Endor, fighting, shooting, climbing, leaping through trees like a furry cross between Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris and Batman, fully reveling in his chance to finally be unleashed, to the eternal astonishment of the Ewoks.
  • Boba Fett shows up out of nowhere during the final space battle, his relentless pursuit of the Falcon further complicating Lando's attack. Although Fett doesn't follow the Falcon inside the Death Star, when the Falcon is damaged during the Death Star's final explosion, he moves in for the kill, precipitating one final ship to ship battle amid floating chunks of Death Star. As the Millennium Falcon is finally destroyed, Boba Fett escapes as Luke arrives in his stolen shuttle. Luke rescues Lando and his crew, who piloted their ship remotely from their escape pods.
  • A final Ewok award ceremony echoes the end of Episode IV, except Chewie gets the biggest medal.


STAR WARS and all ancillary characters are ™, © Lucasfilm LTD. No ownership of any kind is implied, inferred, or insinuated... because if it were, Ewoks would be much cooler.