Where were you when the Emperor died? It was 30 years ago this month that Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi hit theaters and the years add emotion to this batch of exclusive never-before-published photos from J.W. Rinzler’s upcoming The Making of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.
The movie (which opened wide the week after Michael Jackson unleashed a new dance move called the Moonwalk) arrived with an unstated promise of cosmic closure: ”For the Skywalker saga,” the Force told us, ”the circle will be complete.” Well, yes and no: a circle doesn’t really have a start or end, and the Jedi universe (like Swan Lake, the Beatles, or Pride & Prejudice) never leaves.
The Rinzler book hits shelves in October but the Ewok party has already begun; there’s a marathon of Jedi screenings and fan fun-fair scheduled for Saturday (which is May the Fourth) at Hollywood’s historic Egyptian Theatre, site of the Jedi world premiere.
Harrison Ford, left, with George Lucas, is the picture of detached cool in this leafy Northern California location shot. Ford was on a career tear at the time, delivering two Star Wars films, two Indiana Jones movies, Blade Runner, and Witness by the midpoint of the 1980s.
The moment of truth for Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) arrives — will he destroy Darth Vader or redeem Anakin Skywalker? On far right: Jedi director Richard Marquand.
Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) and Hamill share a vivid moment during an April 1982 location shoot in California’s Buttercup Valley.
The rotund, teddy bear-like Ewoks are cute to many fans and acutely annoying to many others. That may have been the case in May 1982 when the clapperboard fell into furry hands during second-unit work near Crescent City.
Phil Tippett (then head of the Industrial Light & Magic creature shop) and Stewart Freeborn (the makeup wizard who worked with Stanley Kubrick on 2001: A Space Odyssey and Dr. Strangelove) made a lot of friends.