The ‘Return of the Jedi’ That Could Have Been
'Revenge of the Jedi' alternate title poster (Photo: Everett)
This weekend marks the 30th anniversary of the movie that was, then wasn't called "Revenge of the Jedi."
Oh, that George Lucas.
The filmmaker who has seemingly never stopped making his own films first showcased his talent for fiddling on "Revenge," sorry, "Return of the Jedi."
When the movie hit theaters on May 25, 1983, the third and then-concluding chapter of the adventures of Luke, Leia, and Han had been known to audiences longer by its original title than its revised one thanks to ample exposure to "Revenge"-accented posters, teaser trailers, and merchandise.
It was only two months before the summertime release (timed to the fifth anniversary of "Star Wars") that "Revenge" became "Return"; it was said Lucas acquiesced to fans who found vengeance a motive unbecoming a Jedi. (Now Siths on the other hand...)
Here's a look at what else could have been in "Return of the Jedi":
Han Solo Gets Killed (or, Possibly, We Don't Get the Joke)
Han Solo, right, and Lando Calrissian (Photo: 20th Century Fox/Everett)
While doing press amid the 1997 rerelease of "Jedi," the press-adverse Harrison Ford claimed he wanted his character, who was frozen at the end of "Empire Strikes Back," to die at the end of the second "Star Wars" sequel.
"I thought it would give the movie weight and resonance. But George Lucas was not sympathetic," Ford said, and unfortunately the oft-quoted quote doesn't let on if the actor's tongue was planted in his cheek.