This past Saturday Return of the Jedi celebrated the 30th anniversary of its release. While Jedi is often overshadowed by the first two films of the original trilogy, there’s a lot to love in the formerly final Star Wars film. Sadly, I forgot to get Jedi a birthday present, so it’ll just have to make do with this love letter instead. Here are my 30 favorite things about Return of the Jedi.
James Earl Jones
He’s awesome in all three films, but his appearance opens up Jedi, and he is in fine form. It’s amazing how threatening he can make simple phrases like “Perhaps I can find new ways to motivate them,” or “The Emperor is not as forgiving as I am.” There are plenty of reasons why they should never remake the Star Wars films, but trying to find a better voice for Darth Vader has to be near the top of the list.
How can you not love ‘em? They’re supposed to be guards, but I’m pretty sure a two-year-old could outrun them and kill Jabba five or six times while they’re having a heart attack in the palace entryway. Somebody get those poor guys a treadmill or something.
Jabba’s Droid Torture Chamber
It makes no sense when you think about it for any length of time at all, but I love the over-the-top cruelty of a droid torture chamber. Couldn’t you just program them with a “CONSTANT SEARING PAIN” subroutine and save on labor costs? Not if you’re Jabba the Hutt, you couldn’t.
“Boba Fett? Boba Fett? Where?”
I was forced to suffer through the special edition Blu-ray for this article, and I’d forgotten how much more obnoxious Fett’s appearances are after George Lucas’ latter-day tinkerings. It’s a classic case of “less is more”…which is a lesson I wish Lucas had embraced sometime in the early 1990s. Still, I do love Boba Fett’s ignominious departure into the belly of the Sarlacc. And don’t give me that whole “But in the Expanded Universe he…” nonsense. I don’t care what happened to him later. He got knocked into a giant space vagina by a blind man, and that’s not the sort of thing you can live down.
Jabba the Hutt
Thankfully I scorched out the part of my brain that remembered Jabba’s godawful retroactive CGI appearance in A New Hope, so in my universe he exists only as a big, gorgeous, amazing, slimy slug puppet, just as the Force intended. The laugh, the diet, the tendency to make passes at chained, bikini-clad human women I’m not even sure he has the correct parts to interface with…he’s all class, that Jabba.
Luke Skywalker: Jedi Knight
It’s hard to believe that the starry-eyed farm boy from A New Hope could ever become a confident, capable Jedi knight, but that’s what we get when Luke arrives at Jabba’s palace. He strolls in like he owns the place, Force-choking Gamorreans here, Jedi mind-tricking a Twi’lek there, generally acting like he grew a pair of shy brass balls in the aftermath of Empire. The badassery of his reintroduction, and the entire scheme to rescue Han, proves how far he has come.