After 30 years of Ewoks and half-built Death Stars, we look back at 'Return of the Jedi' and exactly what made the movie quite so great.
It's hard to believe that the original 'Star Wars' trilogy ended 30 years ago today. The final instalment of George Lucas' ambitious space opera hit cinema screens on the 25th May 1983 and saw the epic conclusion of one of cinema's greatest stories… the fate of an entire galaxy hanging in the balance. But as Luke Skywalker's journey comes to its momentous end, it got us thinking… just what were the best bits of 'Return of the Jedi'?
Slave Girl Leia
Some of the most iconic scenes of the entire trilogy were seen in 'Return of the Jedi'. And Leia's enslavement at the hands of Jabba the Hutt was definitely one of them… for two very important, gold-clad reasons. I mean, let's be honest - that costume was amazing. But while teenage boys loved this raunchy new costume, Carrie Fisher wasn't exactly struck on her new wardrobe. "I remember that iron bikini I wore in 'Episode VI'," she told Newsweek. "[It's] What supermodels will eventually wear in the seventh ring of hell."
Monster fans will no doubt remember the rather epic fight between Luke Skywalker and Jabba's pet Rancor… especially after the ravenous beast ate one of the Gamorrean guards whole. An imposing, enormous creature that stood between Luke and freedom, the Rancor was actually an 18-inch puppet that was filmed in slow-motion to emphasise its movements. And I can't help thinking a foot-and-a-half Rancor would look rather cute. Well, sort-of.
On the forest moon of Endor, we're treated to a rather spectacular chase scene as Luke and Leia make an incredibly high-speed getaway through the trees. In my opinion, it's one of the best chase-scenes in the trilogy… perhaps topped only by Han's daring escape through an asteroid field. Still, the speeder bikes remain a personal favourite… and I can't help but laugh every time I see that fuzzy-little Ewok clamber into the saddle.
Darth Vader Unmasked
Arguably one of the most emotional scenes in the entire film, I'll always remember the sheer anticipation when Vader asks Luke to remove his helmet and respirator. It's the first time we ever saw the man behind the mask… and was sadly the last. But that moment of redemption at the end of Vader's life brought about the perfect ending to the 'Star Wars' saga… and was without a doubt, one of the highlights of 'Return of the Jedi'.
Destruction of the Death Star (again)
Having fooled the Rebel Alliance into attacking a half-built Death Star, I'll always remember the dawning realisation that yes - It's a trap! We all know that Death Star was in fact, fully-operational… but despite being backed into a corner, the Rebel Alliance managed to come up trumps with the help of their Ewok pals. While it was Lando Calrissian who made the final shot and freed the entire galaxy from the Empire's stranglehold, I'd like to think it was more of a team effort.
There are plenty of other amazing moments in 'Return of the Jedi' - from C-3PO's god-like appearance to the death of Emperor Palpatine. But then, it wasn't all a bed of roses. Many of the fans hated the Ewoks (though I can't imagine why) and the less said about Boba Fett's death, the better. Still, after 30 years on our screens, 'Return of the Jedi' remains a classic.
Let's just hope 'Episode VII' is remembered as fondly on its 30 year anniversary.
What do you think of 'Return of the Jedi'? Which is your favourite 'Star Wars' movie?