The film is set approximately one year after The Empire Strikes Back. The evil Galactic Empire, with the help of the villainous Darth Vader, is building a second Death Star in order to crush the Rebel Alliance. Luke Skywalker initiates a plan to rescue the frozen Han Solo from the crime lord Jabba the Hutt with the help of Princess Leia, Lando Calrissian, Chewbacca, C-3PO and R2-D2
Originally, it was to be called The Revenge of the Jedi. Paramount Pictures however had another picture in progress at that time with "revenge" in its title, a sequel to Star Trek I with the working title of Star Trek II: The Revenge of Khan. Eventually The Revenge of Khan became The Vengeance of Khan and finally The Wrath of Khan and since Jedi Knights were supposed to be peace-loving type, it was decided that the word "revenge" was unbecoming a knight and the project was re-dubbed Return of the Jedi.
The third film in the Star Wars franchise and the first film to use THX technology.
"I look upon the three Star Wars films as chapters in one book", Lucas told Time magazine. "Now the book is finished and I have put it on the shelf".
Several Ewok lines are in the Filipino (Tagalog) language. Most Ewok lines, however, were inspired by the Kalmuck language, spoken by nomadic tribes living in Central China..
The Huttese language spoken by Jabba the Hutt was inspired by the Incan language Quechua.
According to Anthony Daniels, it only took him less than 10 minutes to put on the C-3P0 outfit, unlike the last two films were it took him two hours.
The growls and sounds of the Rancor in Jabba's Palace were actually made by a dachsund.
The slithery noises made when Jabba the Hutt moves were created by sound-man Ben Burtt running his hands through a cheese casserole.
The radiating shafts making up the floor of the second Death Star's reactor core are actually 1,500 fishing rods.
It took six people to work the full-sized animatronic of Jabba the Hutt.
Endor is the name of a place in the Bible; it's a village found in Biblical Israel's territory of Isaachar, where king Saul went on the eve of his final battle with the Phillistines and came across "The Witch of Endor". It also the Elvish name for Middle-Earth in J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings".
For security reasons, when the film was sent to the lab, it was sent under the title "Blue Harvest".
Fake scripts were distributed to some cast members that were considered likely to leak information to the media. Some of these phony story elements were indeed leaked, such as Lando being revealed as the "last hope" for the Jedi mentioned by Obi-Wan and Yoda in ESB.
When Luke holds the dying Darth Vader in his arms, Darth Vader's helmet goes from being clean, bright and shiny - to dusty, full of fingerprints - then back to being shiny again.
After the heroes get snared and surrounded by Ewoks on Endor, the Ewoks mistake C3P0 for a god and start bowing. There is one Ewok which only has holes where the eyes and mouth are and you can see the eyes and mouth of the person inside the Ewok costume.
After Luke cuts Vader's hand, there's a shot of the Emperor walking downstairs. The shadow of the crew is visible on the lower left corner of the image.
"Return of the Jedi" is fun, magnificent fun. The movie is a complete entertainment, a feast for the eyes and a delight for the fancy. It's a little amazing how Lucas and his associates keep topping themselves. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert of The Chicago Sun-Times.
'Return of the Jedi'...doesn't really end the trilogy as much as it brings it to a dead stop. The film...is by far the dimmest adventure of the lot. All the members of the old 'star Wars' gang are back doing what they've done before, but this time with a certain evident boredom. Reviewed by: The New York Times.
Unfortunately, it conveys the sense that the machinery has already begun to wear down and the inventiveness to wear thin...there's a kind of desperation about it, a feeling that Lucas and co-writer Lawrence Kasdan are simply trying to figure out what they can do next to amuse the kiddies. Reviewed by: The Hollywood Reporter.
At $32.5 million it is certainly the most expensive of the three. With more special effects per minute than its predecessors, it's definitely the busiest. Also the most battle-ridden, the most cartooney and let's just spit it right out - the most disappointing...There's no doubt that 'Jedi' gives you your money's worth; it's so packed with wonders you may feel like an over sated child who's just been presented with the entire inventory of F.A.O. Schwarz was an appropriate one, since the merchandising of cuddly creatures like the ewoks from Endor, plus the usual assortment of models, laser swords, lunchboxes, bed sheets and so on, would eventually serve to more than double any profits at the box office. George Lucas’s final tribute to the Jedi was profitable for all: Luke was reunited with his father and sister, Han Solo got the girl and Lucas got the loot. Reviewed by: Newsweek.