Return of the Jedi will celebrate its 30th anniversary of its release on May 25. To celebrate, The Huffington Post’s Mike Ryan wrote a pretty engaging article on the upcoming book The Making of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. Author J.W. Rinzler details how the third installment in the Star Wars trilogy’s title went from Revenge of the Jedi to Return of the Jedi, and George Lucas’ rough ideas of how Anakin Skywalker became the Sith Lord Darth Vader.
This gives insights into George Lucas‘ vision of what would become the Star Wars prequel trilogy, but from the vantage point of the early 1980s, while Return of the Jedi was still in production. Although there are some conflicting details, it’s surprisingly accurate to what audiences eventually saw in the produced Star Wars prequels, beginning with The Phantom Menace in 1999.
At the time, Lucas described the Force as something that anyone could learn to use, as if it were a martial art or yoga. He also said that Yoda was not a real Jedi, but rather a teacher of the Jedi Arts, ergo Jedi Master. As such, Lucas said audiences would never see Yoda fight, a decision he obviously reversed for Attack of the Clones in 2002. There is also no mention of midi-chlorians.
Other than that, Anakin Skywalker’s rise to power and fall from grace seems to be spot on with what we saw in 2005’s Revenge of the Sith. Lucas also explained how Luke and Leia were separated while they were babies, and why one went to Tatooine, while the other went to Alderaan.
You can read the excerpt from The Making of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, which features an interview with George Lucas, Empire Strikes Back co-writer Lawrence Kasdan, and Return of the Jedi director Richard Marquand, over at The Huffington Post.