1982 was an incredible year for genre movies with E.T., Blade Runner, Tron, The Thing, and many other classics. 1983 had some great films too like WarGames, and love it or hate it, it was also the year the Star Wars saga concluded for the first time with Return of the Jedi.
The Star Wars films, as they’ve always been, were events when they came out, and I can still remember waiting on line to finally see Jedi with my family the week it came out. Originally it was entitled Revenge of the Jedi, and I remember seeing trailers with that title, but then it was changed because Jedis don’t believe in revenge.
Looking around the net, I also found a cool article written by Joal Ryan that has some interesting Jedi tidbits I didn’t previously know. Apparently David Lynch and David Cronenberg were both approached to direct the film, which would have been a trip in either case, but Lynch knew he wouldn’t have much control over the film if he agreed. (Everyone knows that Lucas steers the ship.)
Some other interesting trivia, Endor was going to be populated by wookies, but the ewoks were much cuter, and had better merchandising opportunities. And jumping ahead to Epsiode One, how about this for a casting choice…According to Giant Freakin Robot, Lucas wanted Tupac to play Mace Windu. (Samuel Jackson’s great, but imagine one of the illest rappers in Star Wars. Too bad he didn’t live long enough to read for George.)
Not to make any of us feel old, but it’s been over thirty years since Jedi came out. While it hasn’t held up as well as Empire, I can still remember seeing it opening week, and how exciting it felt once the last Star Wars film was finally unfolding on the big screen. There will certainly be long lines and anticipation for the next episode when it’s ready on December 18, 2015, and we hope it’s just as exciting for today’s generation as it was for us old school geeks.