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RETURN OF THE JEDI
The startling revelation near the close of The Empire Strikes Back, that Vader is Luke Skywalker's father, created a more turbulent world for our hero emotionally than any of the battles with starships

Review By M. REID BAILEY

Star Wars, Episode VI
RETURN OF THE JEDI
(1983)


This page was created on March 27, 2002
This page was last updated on May 19, 2005

CREDITS

Directed by
Richard Marquand

Screenplay by
George Lucas and Lawrence Kasdan

Mark Hamill .... Luke Skywalker
Harrison Ford .... Han Solo
Carrie Fisher .... Princess Leia
Billy Dee Williams .... Lando Calrissian
Anthony Daniels .... C-3PO
Peter Mayhew .... Chewbacca
Sebastian Shaw .... Anakin Skywalker
Ian McDiarmid .... Emperor Palpatine
Frank Oz .... Voice of Yoda (voice)
James Earl Jones .... Voice of Darth Vader (voice)
David Prowse .... Darth Vader
Alec Guinness .... Obi-Wan (Ben) Kenobi)
Kenny Baker .... R2-D2/Paploo
Michael Pennington .... Moff Jerjerrod
Kenneth Colley .... Admiral Piett
Michael Carter .... Bib Fortuna
Denis Lawson .... Wedge
Timothy M. Rose .... Admiral Ackbar
Dermot Crowley .... General Madine
Caroline Blakiston .... Mon Mothma
Warwick Davis .... Wicket
Jeremy Bulloch .... Boba Fett

Produced by
Jim Bloom .... co-producer
Louis G. Friedman .... associate producer
Howard G. Kazanjian .... producer (as Howard Kazanjian)
George Lucas .... executive producer
Rick McCallum .... producer: special edition
Robert Watts .... co-producer

Original music by
Jerry Hey (song "Jedi Rocks" in Special Edition)
John Williams
Joseph Williams (Jizzwailer music) (original edition)

Cinematography by
Alan Hume

Film Editing by
Sean Barton
T.M. Christopher (special edition)
Duwayne Dunham
George Lucas (uncredited)
Marcia Lucas

MPAA: Rated PG for sci-fi action violence.
For rating reasons, go to FILMRATINGS.COM, and MPAA.ORG.
Parents, please refer to PARENTALGUIDE.ORG

CD SOUNDTRACK

CD infoReturn of the Jedi:
The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

London Symphony Orchestra, The Star Wars Trilogy (1997 Release)
John Williams

Disc: 1
1. 20th Century-Fox Fanfare
2. Main Title/Approaching the Death Star/Tatooine Rendezvous
3. The Droids Are Captured
4. Bounty for a Wookiee
5. Han Solo Returns
6. Luke Confronts Jabba [#]/Den of the Rancor/Sarlacc Sentence
7. The Pit of Carkoon [#]/Sail Barge Assault
8. The Emperor Arrives/The Death of Yoda/Obi-Wan's Revelation
9. Alliance Assembly
10. Shuttle Tydirium Approaches Endor
11. Speeder Bike Chase [#]/Land of the Ewoks
12. The Levitation [#]/Threepio's Bedtime Story
13. Jabba's Baroque Recital
14. Jedi Rocks
15. Sail Barge Assault [Alternate Take]


Disc: 2
1. Parade of the Ewoks
2. Luke and Leia
3. Brother and Sister/Father and Son [#]/The Fleet Enters Hyperspace /H
4. Emperor's Throne Room
5. The Batle of Endor I: Into the Trap/Forest Ambush /Scout Walker Scramble
6. The Lightsaber [#]/The Ewok Battle
7. The Battle of Endor II: Leia Is Wounded-The Duel Begins/Overtaking the Bunk
8. The Battle of Endor III: Superstructure Chase /Darth Vader's Death/The M
9. Leia's News/Light of the Force
10. Victory Celebration [#]/End Title
11. Ewok Feast [#]/Part of the Tribe
12. The Forest Battle (Concert Suite)


POSTER
BOOK
Book infoThe Star Wars Trilogy
by George Lucas, James Kahn, Donald Glut

For the first time, here is a Special Omnibus Edition of the complete texts of the three novels that tell the complete story of everyone's favorite adventure--The Star Wars Trilogy. Including: STAR WARS, THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, and RETURN OF THE JEDI.

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SYNOPSIS
The Empire Falls....
The high-energy, special-effects-laden conclusion to George Lucas's ambitious Star Wars trilogy delivers the final confrontation between Luke Skywalker (a more confident and mature Mark Hamill) and his nemesis-father, Darth Vader (David Prowse, voice of James Earl Jones), as the rebel alliance makes its last stand against the evil Empire. The film opens with an impressive set piece in the cave of the monstrous Jabba the Hut, who holds both Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) for his decadent pleasure until Skywalker comes to the rescue. The final battle pits an enormous armada of rebel ships against the rebuilt Death Star, the planet-killing weapon of the first film, while guerrilla forces battle Empire soldiers on the planet below with the help of a cuddly army of pint-sized, teddy-bear-like creatures known as Ewoks (Lucas's one concession to merchandising) and Skywalker confronts Vader and the emperor on the Deathstar. Director Richard Marquand invests the tale with plenty of humor and a vigorous sense of adventure without losing the seriousness of Skywalker's mission. The special edition adds, among other effects, more creatures, a bouncy song-and-dance number to the Jabba the Hut scenes, and an extended celebration that literally encompasses the galaxy at the film's jubilant conclusion.
REVIEW
BY M. REID BAILEY
EMAIL Riposte@home.com
Star Wars
Episode VI
Return of the Jedi

The final chapter in the Star Wars saga begins with the construction of a newer, deadlier Death Star, and the arrival of Darth Vader. In the two previous movies we have come to know Vader not just as the villain but also as the very embodiment of evil and the price that it extracts from those who pursue its power at the price of their own soul. The startling revelation near the close of The Empire Strikes Back, that Vader is Luke Skywalker's father, creates a more emotionally turbulent world for our hero than any of the battles with starships in the universe around him. It gives us the opportunity to look at the spiritual allegory in the Star Wars movies and how it may apply to Christianity.

The scene shifts to Luke's home planet of Tatooine, where he has returned in an effort to release his friends from the clutches of Jabba the Hut, a merciless and disgusting crime lord. He enters as a Jedi Knight, using his newfound powers to gain an audience with Jabba. But Luke's ability to use the force is not as strong as he imagines, and he too is quickly taken captive. In much the same way that Proverbs 16:18 warns that pride goes before destruction, Luke has overestimated his own powers. But by working together and by calling on his powers as a Jedi, Luke and the others are able to escape and rejoin the forces of the rebellion, preparing for their final showdown with the Emperor, who sits on his command ship plotting the demise of the rebellion, of Luke and his friends, and of the class of Jedi Knights sworn to defend the true nature of the Force.

The Emperor, the puppeteer controlling Vader's strings, tells Vader of his plan to turn Luke to the Dark side of the force, much the same way that Vader was turned. During Luke's previous Jedi training with Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda he learned that Vader was once a Jedi Knight serving truth and justice but turned to the dark side of the force after being seduced by its promise of power and fast results. The Emperor tells Vader that only together can they turn Luke to the Dark side. The Emperor knows that Luke's devotion to the force, his religion, is too strong and that Luke's biggest weakness is in his feelings for his father. He knows that "his compassion will be his undoing." Throughout this discourse Vader seems resolute in his dedication to the Emperor, even when told that Luke must die if he does not join them. Vader, it seems, has resolved himself to the path that he has chosen even if it means killing his own son. He is to be used to deliver Luke to the Emperor to face certain death. An allegorical application to Christianity would of course be Satan’s use of Judas to betray Jesus and deliver him up to those who wanted him dead. Luke 22:1-28

After Luke’s escape with his friends, he returns to Yoda, the Jedi master, to finish his training. When he arrives he finds Yoda very old and frail. Luke is told that his training from Yoda is complete, and that Vader is indeed his father and that he must confront him. The only thing keeping Luke from becoming a true Jedi Knight is not training but his unresolved feelings for his father. Luke must confront his own fears by facing Darth Vader. Some of Yoda's last words are warnings to Luke about the Dark Side of the Force and that once someone starts down its path it will consume them and that the Emperor’s powers are not to be underestimated just because he serves the Dark Side. As Yoda dies he urges Luke to pass on what he has learned. Yoda dies and disappears, consumed by the force in the same way that Obi-Wan Kenobi disappeared when killed by Vader. As Luke mourns the death of his friend and teacher, another friend, Obi-Wan Kenobi, appears to him in a vision. Luke is stunned to learn to learn that Leia is actually his sister, causing even more emotional turmoil in his heart. He returns to join his friends and ready himself for the inevitable confrontation with his father and with himself.

With Luke's return the group of heroes stage a raid on a nearby moon base that houses a force field protecting the new Death Star from attack. The team is separated and quickly captured by the local inhabitants, the Ewoks. They are able to convince the Ewoks to join in their struggle to destroy the Empire and its forces. But Luke senses Vader's presence through the Force and knows that Vader in turn is aware of his, jeopardizing the outcome of the mission. Luke tells Leia that he must confront Vader. When she protests, he tells her not only is Vader his father, but Leia's as well. It's then that Leia realizes that Luke is indeed her brother and that he must face Vader. Luke assures his sister that he is convinced that he senses goodness in Vader and that he, as his son, can bring him back. Luke's awareness of the innate good in Vader is like that of Jesus ability to see the value in the soul of man despite the wickedness in which he lived. The Bible reveals that Christ died to earn the redemption of humanity when humankind was at its worst and was hopeless and helpless. Romans 5:6-8, Ephesians 2:8-9

As the rest of the team and their new allies plan the attack, Luke surrenders to the local forces without a fight knowing that they will bring him to Vader. Luke stands face to face with his father and tells his father of his feelings for him, his belief that his father is truly good, and that he won't turn him over to the Emperor. Vader informs him that he has seriously misjudged the situation and that he must present him to the Emperor. It's at this point that we get the first glimpse into the struggle going on inside Vader's soul. Luke surrendered himself as Christ did, not putting up a fight and not trying to escape his destiny. For Luke it was to face Vader, for Jesus it was to die on the cross. John 10:17-18

As the rest of the team and their new allies plan the attack, Luke surrenders to the local forces without a fight, knowing that they will bring him to Vader. Luke stands face to face with his father and tells his father of his feelings for him, his belief that his father is truly good, and his determination not to turn him over to the Emperor. Vader informs him that he has seriously misjudged the situation and that he must present Luke to the Emperor. It's at this point that we get the first glimpse of the struggle going on inside Vader's soul. Luke has surrendered himself as Christ did, not putting up a fight and not trying to escape his destiny. Luke’s fate is to face Vader, Jesus’ was to die on the cross. John 10:17-18

Father and son begin a battle that holds in the balance not only the fate of the galaxy but also the fate of the souls of both men. At the height of the battle, Luke puts down his weapon, refusing to fight his father any more, and trusting in his father's feelings for him. But Vader redoubles his attacks and Luke is forced to defend himself, even though he assures Vader that he can sense the conflict that rages in Vader as he attacks his own son. But Luke's own emotions betray him as well and Vader learns of Leia's relationship to Luke. Luke's rage overcomes him at the realization that he has betrayed his sister and he frantically attacks Vader, severing Vader's hand in the same way that Vader had earlier cut off Luke’s hand. As Luke looks down at his wounded father and compares the wounds of the two men, he realizes the oneness that he shares with his father. Luke throws down his weapon for the last time, proving to his father, to the Emperor, and most importantly to himself that he will not succumb to the power of the Dark Side of the Force even if it means his death. Luke has learned his final lesson and now stands as a true Jedi Knight. Luke's identification with Vader, the one whom he went to redeem, is not unlike the identification that God made with man through the incarnation of Jesus Christ. John 1:14, Romans 8:3, Philippians 2:7

But the Emperor refuses to accept the fact that he has misjudged Luke’s true heart. He musters all the power of the Dark Side of the Force and attacks Luke himself. Vader watches helplessly as the Emperor fires lightning bolts at his son, while Luke fights for his life. In desperation Luke cries to his father for help. While Vader watches his son being killed he realizes the ultimate cost that the Dark Side extracts and the real meaning of its power. Vader musters his strength, snatches up the Emperor, and hurls him to his death far below. Vader collapses as Luke rushes to him. Vader asks Luke to remove his mask so that he can see him with his own eyes. For the first time he can remember, Luke sees his father, Anakin Skywalker, and not Darth Vader, evil henchman of the Emperor. Anakin tells Luke to leave him in order to escape the imminent destruction of the space station. But Luke insists that he will stay to save his father. Anakin tells him that he has already saved him by believing in him as he has. He tells Luke that he was right about his father, that he wasn't pure evil and compels Luke to tell his sister the same. Anakin dies in the arms of his son. But as he dies his body remains and is not consumed by the force. The evil side of the force has used Vader for all it could and throws him aside when he is of no further use. Luke lifts the body of his father and makes good his escape.

As Luke escapes with his father, his friends have just completed their greatest victory by destroying the forces of the Emperor once and for all, promising peace to the galaxy. At the end of the victory celebration, the friends join Luke as he cremates the body of his father. It is then that Anakin reappears through the Force as a Jedi Knight at the side of his former mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi and their master Yoda. Anakin's redemption is now complete as every trace of what he was as Darth Vader is consumed in the flames of the funeral pyre. Like the thief on the cross who was crucified next to Jesus, Anakin has gained redemption at the last moment. Luke 23:38-43

Although the Star Wars saga is not, and was not intended to be, a "Christian" allegory it does contain a lot of powerful ideas on life, truth, and spirituality. As with any great story we can take these ideas and try to see the truths and reality of Christianity in a different way. It opens the doors to discussions that may never have happened otherwise and causes us to think about those forces outside of ourselves.

 
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