Han Solo Was Supposed To Die In Return Of The Jedi

fb share tweet share

Here’s something that will come as no surprise to anyone who’s watched the Star Wars prequels: George Lucas altered the plot of Return of the Jedi to sell more toys. Here’s something that probably will be a surprise though: Doing so might have made it a better movie.

Talking to the LA Times producer Gary Kurtz revealed that “The original idea was that they would recover Han Solo in the early part of the story and that he would then die in the middle part of the film in a raid on an Imperial base.” Presumably that’s the Imperial base on Endor where Han, Leia, Chewie, R2D2, and C3PO are saved by the Ewoks in a massive battle with Imperial stormtroopers.

After Han’s death the movie would have ended with Luke walking off into the distance, bitter and alone. A Clint Eastwood-style loner. Princess Leia would have gone off to struggle dealing with new responsibilities. The Luke ending sounds great but “struggling with her new responsibilities” smacks of all the political slog in the prequels which no one cared about and just didn’t work.

You know what? Killing off Han there would have sucked. You can’t bring a character back from the dead at the beginning of a movie only to kill him off thirty minutes later. Han has just survived being frozen alive, unfrozen, and then subsequently fed to a Sarlacc. Now he’s going to die in a raid? Sorry that just doesn’t work. The movie ends with Han and Leia together, their relationship is something that builds throughout all three films, having them together at the end is the payoff. It gives the series emotion and heart, something that, by the way, was missing entirely in the prequels. Maybe Lucas changed Return of the Jedi for the wrong reasons, but I think it was the right move.


  1. deshawn says:

    why do people hate the prequels? the films were always kids movies that much like the die hard films were loved because they were simple hell empire strikes back was given mixed to negative reviews during it's premire and return of the jedi was called mediocre.The series has never been consider as good as people think and the only reason it's gotten the hype and love is because of the kids that grew up with it.it has nothing to do with story or character but with kids who have nostalgia.

    • JT says:

      Yeah kids just love movies abouy intergalactic poltics. So truem

    • JT says:

      Yeah kids just love movies abouy intergalactic poltics. So truem

    • drdvdplayerhandbook says:

      “were loved because they were simple”

      You hit the nail on the head, pal. The prequels were exceedingly complicated and unnecessarily convoluted.

      And I don't agree nostalgia has anything to do with it. I, for once, only watched the original trilogy once when I was a kid (and on TV) and didn't remember anything about it when the prequels came.

      I actually watched them all in succession (on TV again) after the premiere of Episode III on cable and I have no problem in admit I loved the originals and hated the damn prequels, because, get this: They're bad.

      The stories are silly and incredibly boring, plagued with terrible, pointless and/or nonsensical characters played by stiff actors (even when they are good actors in other movies) and needlesly cumbersome visuals.

      I'm sorry, but reviews have nothing to do with it. In fact, for all I've seen, reviews for the new trilogy are generally positive for the prequels, but just like with any movie, the real reaction shows up late, when people calm down to actually analyze the movies.