‘Return of the Jedi’ Originally Had a Much Darker Alternate Ending

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  • The unique deliberate ending for
    Return of the Jedi
    was a lot darker, with Han Solo dying and Luke Skywalker turning to the Darkish Facet.
  • George Lucas modified the ending as a result of he wished all the principle characters to outlive, which might, by extension, enhance toy gross sales.
  • The blissful ending of
    Return of the Jedi
    is healthier for the Star Wars franchise, because it aligns with the story’s theme of hope and permits for the enlargement of the timeline in future movies and collection.

Few movie collection are as revered as Star Wars, particularly, the unique trilogy. The story of the Rebels defeating the Empire in a galaxy far, distant captured the hearts of the viewers, inspiring many extra tales on the planet, however it might have gone very in another way. The alternate ending deliberate for Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi was a lot darker than what followers keep in mind. Initially, it wasn’t known as Return of the Jedi, however Revenge of the Jedi, immediately giving it a extra ominous really feel. Had the unique ending been used, not solely wouldn’t it have modified the third installment of the beloved franchise, however every thing that adopted would have been completely different.

Return of the Jedi ends because the Rebels have fun their victory on Endor with the adorable Ewoks. With the destruction of the Empire, the galaxy can discover peace. Luke (Mark Hamill) reunites together with his associates, and Han (Harrison Ford) and Leia (Carrie Fisher) lastly start their relationship. After his return to the sunshine, Vader (James Earl Jones), as soon as once more Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen), finds peace as a Force Ghost. This occasion ushers in a brand new period for the Star Wars galaxy, which the franchise nonetheless explores immediately, however the authentic ending would have modified all of that. Luckily, the blissful ending was chosen over these stunning twists, permitting for peace within the galaxy — if just for a time.

Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi

After rescuing Han Solo from Jabba the Hutt, the Rebels try to destroy the second Dying Star, whereas Luke struggles to assist Darth Vader again from the darkish aspect.

Launch Date
Could 25, 1983

Richard Marquand

131 minutes

Fundamental Style

Lawrence Kasdan , George Lucas

‘Return of the Jedi’s Alternate Ending Killed Off Han Solo

Harrison Ford as Han Solo holding up his blaster pistol in Star Wars Return of the Jedi
Picture through Disney

Ford’s Han Solo is unquestioningly one of many movie’s most memorable characters. His rogue-like appeal and sarcasm endeared audiences to him immediately, which is why followers had been so shocked in Star Wars: Episode VII – The Pressure Awakens when Han is killed by his son, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). Nevertheless, that occasion might have occurred a lot earlier. Within the alternate ending for Return of the Jedi, Han Solo would have died.

Per an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Gary Kurtz, who produced each Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope and Star Wars: Episode 5 – The Empire Strikes Again, spoke concerning the authentic ending to Return of the Jedi that he outlined with collection creator George Lucas, describing it as “bittersweet and poignant.” On this model, Han, who begins the movie as Jabba the Hutt’s captive, is rescued, solely to die halfway via because the heroes raid an Imperial base.

Clearly, this story was modified, however the reasoning is sudden. Han Solo dying would make for a tragic flip that might simply make the franchise darker and fewer suited to a household viewers, however the choice wasn’t centered on rankings, nor did Lucas determine Han’s loss of life was fallacious for the story. As an alternative, he pivoted from the thought of Han’s loss of life due to the very tangible impact it might need on toy gross sales. Kurtz defined that for his or her first two Star Wars movies, merchandise contributed to extra of the revenue than the movie itself, which is why they performed an element in impacting this important choice. Although Han Solo’s final survival contributed to the blissful ending, it was not the one change made to Return of the Jedi.

Luke Skywalker Went Darkish within the Alternate Ending of ‘Return of the Jedi’

Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker from
Picture through Disney

The Star Wars franchise focuses closely on the battle between gentle and darkish, particularly pertaining to the Pressure. The fixed wrestle between the Jedi and the Sith is current all through Star Wars, even when a narrative is ready in a extra distant time, just like the upcoming collection The Acolyte. Nevertheless, not often does the Darkish Facet win. The unique trilogy set these expectations as Vader returns to the Light Side, sacrificing himself to guard Luke. Nevertheless, Lucas’ authentic plan would have drastically modified this. Transcripts from a meeting between George Lucas and his co-writer Lawrence Kasdan reveal that Luke Skywalker additionally had a darkish ending deliberate, actually. Lucas prompt that after Vader’s loss of life, Luke would don the helmet, changing into Vader himself, and depart to combat the rebels he as soon as supported. Kasdan supported this ending, although, in some unspecified time in the future, the pair modified their minds as it could alienate their youthful viewers members.

When telling of the ending he helped plan, Kurtz described Luke’s finish as being “like Clint Eastwood within the spaghetti westerns” as he walks off alone and embittered. Although not blatantly becoming a member of the Darkish Facet, even it is a darker ending for Luke than his farewell to his father and former Masters through the victory celebrations. Luke strolling off alone does not appear to have the identical ending as his fall to the Darkish Facet, however the development of the plan is unclear. This might have been earlier than the darkish model or the primary try at softening Luke’s story. Both approach, Leia was left alone within the wake of Han’s loss of life, with a tattered Insurgent pressure that she struggled to carry collectively. Luke becoming a member of the Darkish Facet can be a stark change within the tone of the movie, leaving a miserable finish to the trilogy that may have set a special trajectory for your complete franchise.

‘Return of the Jedi’ Is Higher With a Completely happy Ending

Although the movie ends in a handy victory for the Rebels, who had been vastly outnumbered and out-funded, Return of the Jedi‘s conclusion is healthier as it’s. Although the darkish idea is intriguing, it could change what Star Wars is. At its coronary heart, Star Wars is a narrative of hope. Even the more tragic stories additional this narrative. Whereas Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith ends with the Jedi hero, Anakin Skywalker changing into Vader, the survival of toddler Luke and Leia and the identified finish to Vader’s story make it much less miserable than Return of the Jedi‘s authentic ending. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is one other prime instance of this. Although the heroes sacrifice themselves, their mission results in the Insurgent’s victory, making the darkish ending nonetheless oddly hopeful. Actually, these examples benefit from being prequels. Nevertheless, the idea is similar. With Han dying and Luke changing into Vader, the alternate ending provides no glimpse of hope for the following chapter of the story, which might have ended the trilogy on a low observe.

Star Wars is the phenomenon it’s immediately as a result of folks latched on to the story, however with a darkish ending like was initially meant, it could not have struck the identical cords in folks’s hearts and be extra of a fad as an alternative of reaching lasting fame. Even when it had been nonetheless well-liked, the story can be completely different. Current years have proven the enlargement of the Star Wars timeline, particularly regarding the time after Return of the Jedi. With the sequel trilogy persevering with Luke, Han, and Leia’s tales, a lot of them wouldn’t be attainable with a special ending to the unique trilogy. Likewise, The Mandalorian and even Ahsoka discover the New Republic period, exhibiting the problems because the galaxy strikes from conflict to a brand new authorities based by the previous Rebels, a nuanced strategy that would not work with out the Insurgent victory.

Although the Pressure Ghosts on the Ewok celebration shouldn’t be a universally adored ending, it’s an enchancment from Return of the Jedi‘s authentic idea. Whereas many movies profit from darkish twists on the finish, Star Wars shouldn’t be one in every of them. The advertising in direction of a household viewers and the concentrate on hope don’t lend the collection to such an ending. The alternate ending is intriguing, however not as an finish to the trilogy when persevering with the story in any respect was unsure. In the long run, Lucas made the appropriate alternative by abandoning his authentic plan in favor of a contented ending.

Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi is accessible to observe on Disney+ within the U.S.


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