Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Return of the Jedi (1983)
(aka Star Wars: Episode VI)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Return of the Jedi (1983) (aka Star Wars: Episode VI)

In the final (third) episode of the original Star Wars trilogy's science-fiction space adventure - the epic conclusion by director Richard Marquand - the top grossing (domestic) film of the year:

  • the film's opening included the series' trademark scrolling roll-up text, disappearing into infinity in the stars as it described the time-period, after the display of the preface - "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away... Luke Skywalker has returned to his home planet of Tatooine in an attempt to rescue his friend Han Solo from the clutches of the vile gangster Jabba the Hutt. Little does Luke know that the GALACTIC EMPIRE has secretly begun construction on a new armored space station even more powerful than the first dreaded Death Star. When completed, this ultimate weapon will spell certain doom for the small band of rebels struggling to restore freedom to the galaxy... "
  • as already noted, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) had returned to his home planet of Tatooine (with his two droids C3PO and R2D2) in an attempt to rescue his space-pilot friend Han Solo (Harrison Ford) (still in carbon freeze and encased in carbonite) from vile, hookah-smoking crime lord/gangster Jabba the Hutt, a grotesque and repulsive slug-like creature; the two droids approached Jabba's fortress palace in the distance and were met at the gate by a mechanical arm with an electronic eyeball
  • meanwhile, the evil Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), the Sith mastermind who had engineered the creation of the Galactic Empire and the fall of Anakin Skywalker was plotting and planning the doom of the Rebellion by constructing a new, second more powerful Death Star space station - to be placed in orbit around the forest moon of Endor, although it was falling behind schedule
  • there was a daring rescue attempt by Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) (disguised as a masked bounty hunter) to free Han Solo from Jabba the Hutt; she freed him from the wall where he was encased and revived him; he asked: "Who are you?" and the bounty hunter replied: "Someone who loves you"; temporarily blinded, he recognized her voice - and kissed her; she rushed him: "I gotta get you out of here," but they were immediately captured by rhino-faced guards, and imprisoned along with Chewie
  • one of the film's most iconic images was of captured and enslaved Princess Leia, wearing a gold-plated metal bikini and held prisoner as a chained-up, dancing harem 'slave girl' by crime lord Jabba the Hutt in his palace on the planet of Tatooine
  • Luke arrived to free Chewie and Han, when Jabba activated a trapdoor and Luke was dropped into a pit with a monstrous Rancor, a drooling beast with sharp-fanged teeth, beady eyes and giant claws; in an exciting segment, Luke defended himself in Jabba's pit with the imposing and fierce Rancor beast and crashed a heavy metal door down onto the head of the beast to kill it
  • subsequently, a battle broke out between Jabba the Hutt's luxury sail-barge Khetanna and the skiff - accompanied by the threatening carnivorous desert beast (the Sarlaac) with a large gaping maw located in the hollow of a sand-pit; Luke avoided having to walk the gang-plank, used his light-saber, attacked the guards, and freed the prisoners; the struggle resulted in Jabba's death (strangulation by Leia using her chains), the explosive destruction of the barge, and the liberation of the captured rebels
  • the sinister, black-robed Emperor arrived during an impressive sequence in the under-construction Death Star replacement, where he was greeted by thousands of storm-troopers who were standing at attention, and was met with Darth Vader (voice of James Earl Jones); the Emperor advised Vader to be patient about Luke: "In time, he will seek you out. And when he does, you must bring him before me. He has grown strong. Only together can we turn him to the dark side of the Force...Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen"
  • meanwhile, Luke returned to Dagobah, thinking he would finish his Force-training with aging 900 year-old Yoda - who was about to die: ("Soon will I rest. Yes. Forever sleep. Earned it I have"); Yoda told Luke that he hadn't completely mastered the Force until he confronted Darth Vader: "One thing remains, Vader. You must confront Vader. Then, only then, a Jedi will you be. And confront him you will"; as Yoda faded in strength, he confirmed that Darth Vader, once known as Anakin Skywalker, was Luke's father ("Your father he is"); before the Jedi Master became one with the Force and faded into oneness with it, he revealed one more thing: "Pass on what you have learned. Luke, there is another...Sky - walker"
  • a ghostly image of Ben (Obi-Wan Kenobi) appeared and Luke asked why he hadn't been told the truth about Vader: ("You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father"); Ben explained that what he had told Luke before was true - that Anakin Skywalker was for all intents and purposes 'killed' when he became Darth Vader: "Your father was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true from a certain point of view"

Yoda with Luke

Yoda's Dying Revelations to Luke

Ben's Ghostly Appearance to Luke
  • in addition, Ben spoke to Luke about the second Skywalker mentioned by Yoda - it was a reference to his twin sister Leia: "The other he spoke of is your twin sister...To protect you both from the Emperor, you were hidden from your father when you were born. The Emperor knew, as I did, if Anakin were to have any offspring, they would be a threat to him. That is the reason why your sister remains safely anonymous"; Luke guessed, insightfully that Princess Leia was his twin sister: "Leia is my sister!"
  • a dangerous mission was embarked upon to Endor by the freed rebels (Solo, Leia, Luke, the two droids, and Chewie), where the strike team's objective was to destroy the shield generator that protected the orbiting second Death Star station via an energy force shield
  • there was a thrilling "Speeder Bikes" chase sequence at breakneck speeds through the dense trees and foilage with POV shots on the forested moon of Endor, when Luke and Leia battled against Imperial Stormtroopers on scout patrol that had detected them; they were soon aided by furry bear-like alien creatures known as Ewoks
  • in the Endor Bridge scene, Luke explained his worries to Leia: "Vader is here, now, on this moon...I felt his presence. He's come for me...I have to face him...He's my father"; he also discussed the sibling connection he had with Leia: "The Force is strong in my family. My father has it. I have it. And my sister has it. Yes. It's you, Leia"; she admitted that she wasn't very surprised knowing they were related: "Somehow, I've always known"; Luke knew he must confront his father, and believed he had to stay and confront Vader, because there was good in him: "He won't turn me over to the Emperor. I can save him. I can turn him back to the good side. I have to try"; to accomplish his goal of meeting Vader, Luke surrendered to Imperial troops
  • in another passionate and exciting sequence set in the throne room of the Emperor (on the Death Star), Jedi Knight Luke engaged in a climactic light-saber duel with his own father - the Dark Lord Darth Vader (Luke's father, Anakin Skywalker, who had been converted to the Dark Side) - the cackling evil Emperor Palpatine predicted the defeat of the Rebels and watched their struggle; when Vader read Luke's thoughts, he learned that he had a twin sister: "Obi-Wan was wise to hide her from me" - and he threatened to also turn Luke's sister Leia to the dark side: ("If you will not turn to the Dark Side, then perhaps she will"), Luke angrily severed Vader's prosthetic hand (Luke noticed how he was becoming like Vader - now they both had artificial bionic hands)
Luke's Sparing of His Father

Luke's Light-Saber Duel with Darth Vader

Vader's Severed Prosthetic Hand, Connecting the Two
  • at the end of the duel, Luke was not goaded by the Emperor into killing Vader when he had the chance - he decided to spare him: ("Never! I'll never turn to the Dark Side. You've failed, Your Highness. I am a Jedi, like my father before me"; although mortally-wounded, Vader made a redeeming choice to save Luke and kill the enraged Emperor (who was threatening Luke with purple bolts of lightning and slowly killing him), in order to save his son; Vader/Anakin Skywalker heaved up and hurled the Emperor's body down a long shaft into an abyss in the Death Star battle station, where his body exploded in a burst of energy and was torn apart by the Death Star generators
The Demise of the Emperor

Luke Zapped by Emperor's Lightning Bolts

Darth Vader Angered by Emperor

Emperor Palpatine

Vader Picking up Emperor

Emperor Hurled Down Long Shaft

Emperor's Body Exploding
  • afterwards came the amazing sequence of the unmasking of Darth Vader (David Prowse); mortally-wounded and breathing laboriously as he lay dying in Luke's arms, Vader asked Luke to remove his mask-respirator: ("Help me take this mask off...Just for once, let me look on you with my own eyes"), but Luke protested: "But you'll die!," to which Vader responded: "Nothing can stop that now. Just for once, let me look on you with my own eyes"; when he removed his father's mask, Luke saw the face of a sad elderly, bald man with a scarred, withered and pale white face who ordered Luke to flee the second Death Star with his last dying breaths: "Now, go, my son. Leave me." Luke disagreed, and vowed to save his father: "I've got to save you." Vader replied: "You already have, Luke...You were right about me. Tell your sister you were right" - and then Vader, after renouncing the Dark Side of the Force, and with the redeemed face of Anakin Skywalker (Sebastian Shaw), died in his son Luke's arms
  • after the eventual destruction of the Death Star's shield deflector on Endor, the Rebels commenced an attack on the unprotected Death Star's main reactor, and the space station was obliterated (as the Millennium Falcon escaped)
  • Luke had taken an Imperial shuttle and escaped from the exploding Death Star with his father's corpse, and that evening on the forest moon of Endor (as the rebels celebrated the destruction of the Death Star, their ultimate victory over the Empire, and the demise of the Emperor), Luke privately burned his father's armored body in a funeral pyre
  • meanwhile on Endor, Leia told a stunned Han that Luke was her brother, and she and Han kissed
  • in the final scene with his Rebel friends, Luke looked at the happy, reunited ghost-spirits of Ben "Obi-Wan" Kenobi, Jedi master Yoda and then Anakin (his father) smiling upon him - and he waved them goodbye

C3PO and R2D2 Approaching Jabba's Palace Gate

Leia's Failed Rescue of Han - Just After a Kiss

Jabba the Hut

Princess Leia Chained and Imprisoned by Jabba the Hut

Luke's Fight-Encounter with Rancor Beast in Pit

Jabba's Captured Rebels (Luke, Chewie and Han) on Skiff

The Monstrous Sarlaac and Luke on Gang-Plank

The Desert Battle Ending with the Death of Jabba and the Sail-Barge's Explosion

The Arrival of the Emperor at the Death Star

Speeder Bike Chase on Endor

Luke and Leia -- Siblings

End of Duel: Luke's Unmasking of Darth Vader (Anakin)

The Destruction of the Death Star

Vader's Helmet Burning in Funeral Pyre

Luke's Look Upon Anakin (His Father), Yoda, and Ben


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