Return Of The Jedi Just Proved It’s Still One Of The Best Star Wars Movies

Return of the Jedi's re-release made $5 million at the box office.

By Chris Snellgrove | Updated

Return of the Jedi

Despite getting critically panned, The Super Mario Bros. Movie passed the coveted one billion dollars mark this weekend. Some have chalked the popularity of the film up to general nostalgia, with fans who grew up fighting the evil Bowser on the NES and SNES happy to bring their own children to the theater. And it looks like nostalgia helped another big property succeed: reports that the Disney re-release of the Star Wars film Return of the Jedi brought just under five million dollars at the box office.

Part of what makes this notable, of course, is that Return of the Jedi is a movie that is now four decades old. In the so-called “golden age of content,” it can often be difficult to get modern audiences to forgo streaming and head out to the theater to check out the movies their parents used to love. However, the sheer success of this classic Star Wars film shows that modern audiences are still interested in seeing Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford on the big screen in the roles that made them famous.

return of the jedi
Harrison Ford as Han Solo in Return of the Jedi

And we can’t help but think that part of the film’s financial success is due to the ongoing fan re-evaluation of Return of the Jedi over the years. In the 16 years between that film and the release of The Phantom Menace, Return of the Jedi was generally considered the worst Star Wars film due to everything from adding cutesy Ewoks to really phoning in that opening crawl. Needless to say, the film looked a lot better after the prequel trilogy came out and, now that the sequel trilogy is complete, it stands as one of the best Star Wars movies ever made.

In other words, we think Return of the Jedi was a box office success all over again in part because fans are so starved for good Star Wars content. After all, the version of the movie shown in theaters is the Special Edition which made several hated changes to the film, including making Darth Vader dramatically scream “no” before killing Emperor Palpatine. Still, the movie has enough crowd-pleasing moments (like the final duel with Vader and the fleet attacking the second Death Star) that fans are willing to put up with things like the awful new song we hear in Jabba’s Palace.

Return of the Jedi was mostly re-released to celebrate its 40th anniversary, but we can’t help but feel that it is also meant to whet fans’ appetite for future content. In shows like The Mandalorian, we are seeing more of Luke Skywalker and what he has been doing in the years since Return of the Jedi (and before becoming a cranky old hermit by The Force Awakens). Now that we know Ahsoka is going to bring Grand Admiral Thrawn back (someone who personally knew Darth Vader) and is rumored to bring Luke Skywalker back, now is the perfect time for fans to revisit where the Original Trilogy left the Rebels and the Empire in that galaxy far, far away.