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30 years: Your Memories of Waiting for ROTJ

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I was born after all three of the CT were released. In fact, I don't really even have any memories of when I "first" watched the original trilogy. So here's my question for those of you who lived through those original releases:

What was it like to wait 3 long years between TESB and ROTJ? Did you ever daydream about what might come next? What did you picture?

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I remember seeing the trailer on Jonathan (I didn't touch them honest) King's Entertainment USA and then seeing Lando and gang's arrival at the Death Star on kids weekend show No.73 (I believe after Peter Mayhew had a bit of chat about being in the film).

I taped both onto Betamax and watched them on a loop for ages.

So much so that now and then I get the strangest feeling that Sandi Toksvig appeared in a Star Wars film (I get a similar feeling about Graham Norton in relation to Doctor Who).

The school was full of speculation about the appearance of Red Boba Fetts flanking the Emperor and the film being set around the wreck of the first Death Star.

When the film was released the whole family were set to see it as they had with the previous two but my dad took it into his head to discipline me for some minor child felony (not tidying my room or something) by telling me I wasn't going to see the thing (Harry Chapln did a song about this sort of thing, parents BE WARNED).

I didn't care about him not paying (I was old enough to pay for my own ticket) it was the break with tradition that upset me and I refused to come down from my room for two days.

In the end the film was exciting but a bit of a let down.

Then Lucas said there wouldn't be anymore (Harry Chapin probably did a song about that sort of thing too).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6Dp2OfIT_M

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I was in third grade that summer.  I ordered the ROTJ Storybook from the Scholastic book order (remember those?  Do they still have that?) and everyone in Ms. Niehart's class wanted to read it. 

 

I was turbo-popular for about a week.

"It's my first day!"
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RE: The Peter Mayhew thing, maybe my memory is cheating.

Here is Peter on the show (which I must have seen) but I can't see the trailer so maybe that was another episode.

I was definitely down south visiting the folks for some reason (I saw every film in Brighton which is one of the reasons I was so upset about being told I couldn't see it with everyone else).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6Dp2OfIT_M

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I remember some Mcquarrie paintings of the early scenes appearing way, way beforehand, and then extrapolating the whole movie from that. The movie was pretty close, if cheaper. And I also expected Jabba to appear in his marvel comics form.  (I wasn't there opening night but I can confirm people chanting "Throw him in! Throw him in!" When Vader saves Luke.)

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Even though I saw all 3 OT movies in the theater, Jedi was the first one I was old enough to really enjoy the hype. I was going into 5th grade when Jedi came out, so I was a full blown SW fan at that point, and couldn't get enough of it.

My first memory was in the summer of 1982, and I was over a friends house eating lunch and her mom said, "I just read that the 3rd SW movie is going to be called Revenge of the Jedi!" I was so stoked, as the first thing I though was Luke was going to kick some ass and this was his revenge against Vader.

I remember leading up to Jedi that because there was no internet that you could actually goto the movie and not worry about spoliers. I told my one friend (who saw it before me) not to tell me if Vader was Luke's father. The only he said was that Luke is a badass in Jedi and chokes the guards at Jabba's palace to get in.

After I saw iit with my 2 older brothers, I was on a high for days. I was young enough not to be bothered by the Ewoks like I am now, and I was fascinated with the talk between Luke and Obiwan on Dagobah and that there was a backstory behind all of these movies.

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I remember, and this is the gods honest truth, that I heard a rumor that the next movie was going to be called "Planet UBX40" (I know) and the story was going to involve the Wookie race! I dont know were I got all this from but I told everyone In the school yard.

I actually remember buying the "Revenge of the Jedi" figures before seeing the movie. And no I dont have any :-(

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I too remember a film magazine with two of Ralph's painting of the sail barge battle and one of Bib Fortuna in the entrance to Jabba's palace being shown very early.

And there was the teaser trailer at the Star Wars/ESB doublebill run which was just still images.

Seeing Luke dressed in black in an elevator with Vader (apparently on good terms) got tongues wagging.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6Dp2OfIT_M

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lpd said:


 

I remember, and this is the gods honest truth, that I heard a rumor that the next movie was going to be called "Planet UBX40" (I know) and the story was going to involve the Wookie race!


Must ... refrain ... from stealing ... idea ...

“Okay, I’m goin’, takin’ off. See ya… bye….” — Chip Douglas

“This concludes our broadcast day. Click.” — Chip Douglas

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I recall the Ewoks' appearance being spoiled on tv. (Can't remember if it was local or network.) This was after months of major secrecy. Kenner had blacked out their pictures in the toy catalogs, even the cardbacks, and IIRC, photography was not allowed in their toy fair booth that year.

Some ROTJ puzzles, (not by Kenner) hit store shelves ahead of the film, and a news report on the pre release mania flashed a picture of Artoo and Wicket that was on the box. Damn you mainstream media! ;)

On the flip side of the coin, none of the other aliens really were kept secret, except for Jabba. (Admiral Ackbar was the mail away "preview" figure much like Boba Fett was before ESB.)  Boushh was listed as a bounty hunter, but the true identity was preserved until after the movie was out.

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Where were you in '77?

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Ya'll are lucky. ROTJ is my favorite and I wasn't born until ~5 years after it was released theatrically. :-(

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I heard a theory on the school bus that it was really Boba Fett that was Luke's father. Since he was the best bounty hunter in the galaxy, he must have missed deliberately when he shot at Luke on Cloud City. It makes complete sense if you ignore all the facts.

I collected the ROTJ trading cards (with gum!) to get my fix of pics and spoilers during the wait. There was usually a few months between the US release and our local theatre showings. so there were spoilers galore. I totally knew those black blobs were ewoks.

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lpd said:

the story was going to involve the Wookie race

That was true until they changed it to Ewoks.

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 (Edited)

That was never on the cards for ROTJ though was it?

Back at the beginning when the Vietnamese as big apes were in the end of the only planned Star Wars film it might have happened but by the time that idea got to Episode VI they were always little bears.

Please correct me if I'm wrong.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6Dp2OfIT_M

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I remember reading an awesome theory in Starlog that Vader was a clone of Anakin. The clone wars were believed to have been called that because they needed more warriors, and so Jedi knights were cloned. Vader was seduced, and felt inferior to the original so he killed Anakin. This, he was Luke's father and not at the same time. I was so ready to believe that going into the movie when I was 12!

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Bingowings said:

That was never on the cards for ROTJ though was it?

Back at the beginning when the Vietnamese as big apes were in the end of the only planned Star Wars film it might have happened but by the time that idea got to Episode VI they were always little bears.

Please correct me if I'm wrong.

I think in the early stages (like late 80 early 81), the original wookiee concept was split into the very short ewaks and the really tall yuzzem. The ewaks were kind of creepy looking at first. 

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In Toronto there was a couple who got married in line for ROTJ. I still have the newspaper article.

And they say people went nuts for Episode I!

The Secret History of Star Wars -- now available on Amazon.com!

"When George went back and put new creatures into the original Star Wars, I find that disturbing. It’s a revision of history. That bothers me."

--James Cameron, Entertainment Weekly, April 2010

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zombie84 said:

In Toronto there was a couple who got married in line for ROTJ. I still have the newspaper article.

And they say people went nuts for Episode I!

I hope that couple is still together, or did they divorce while in line for Episode I? Was that at the theater that used to be on Yonge near Eglinton? That was the Star Wars theater.

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There wasn't much fuss in denmark but I remember being excited over going to scotland and seeing it 2 month before the Danish premier, unfortunately I was going with one of my friends and he didn't speak a word english so I end up translating for him all through the movie.

I went a watch it again the next day......by myself

by the way I was 14 at the time and the reason for going was some boy scout summer camp.  

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I remember waiting in anticipation for RotJ.  Empire left so many unanswered questions for me.  Was Darth Vader really Luke's father?  Would it be possible to unfreeze Han?  How would it end?  How would the rebels overtake the massive forces of the Empire?  Would Luke turn to the dark side if he killed Darth Vader, so he was damned if he did and damned if he didn't? Luke didn't have a lightsaber anymore.  Could he get another one?  A bunch more I can't think of right now.


Then I remember the first magazine articles and pictures showing a bit of what was to come.  I felt Revenge of the Jedi seemed strange and thought it was interesting that they changed the name and a good idea.  I was excited to see Luke had a new lightsaber and thought the green version was cool.  I was a bit surprised to see Leia dressed up in a funky bikini and felt that it didn't really go with Star Wars. After seeing it, the whole Jabba part always kind of sucked for me and I always was looking forward to get past that part of the movie (yes Carrie Fisher looked great, but it wasn't Star Wars for me).  Seeing Han in the pictures was cool but spoiled the fact that he would be unfrozen.  I liked the new ships with the wings that folded up.  I couldn't wait to see the movie and when I did, I got to see it twice which was unusual for me. 

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Being born in '77, ROTJ is the only installment of the OT that I remember seeing in theatres. Prior to seeing it, I remember buying a package of ROTJ cookies that were shaped like the characters, and being excited about seeing who the "pig guys" were going to be. My parents had also bought me a Bib Fortuna figure, and I thought he looked really neat (I liked that his cape was made of cloth, unlike the plastic capes that my Vader and Obi-Wan figures had).

When I saw the movie itself, I thought it was fantastic. I remember thinking how cool it was to finally see Jabba after hearing about him in the previous two films. I also liked the Sarlaac pit and speeder bike sequences (for years afterward, any time I played with my SW figures outside, I'd dig a hole in the sand and  throw my guys into the Sarlaac). And, of course, I thought the Royal Guards looked pretty awesome.

The coolest thing for me as a kid, though, was the "drama" of the whole thing. The conversation between Luke and Leia at the Ewok village, Han finally dropping his guard and saying "I'm sorry" to Leia, Ben telling Luke the truth about Vader, Vader and Luke's conversation before being taken to the Emperor-- it all felt very epic to me, like the story and the characters were really culminating in something big and emotionally satisfying, and that is what, to this day, keeps me digging this movie.

“It’s a lot of fun… it’s a lot of fun to watch Star Wars.” – Bill Moyers

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Remember buying my yuzzum-T-shirt and my yuzzum-jeans when I went to see it... and afterwards I ate my yuzzum-burger, and it was awesome!

Happy 30th Annive... sorry, happy 16th.. oh, happy 9th... dammit..! Happy 2(1 & 1/2) year anniversary Return of the Jedi!

We want you to be aware that we have no plans—now or in the future—to restore the earlier versions. 

Sincerely, Lynne Hale publicity@lucasfilm.com

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^Thanks a lot for this post. Now I must wash my eyes out with some bleach ;-)

“Okay, I’m goin’, takin’ off. See ya… bye….” — Chip Douglas

“This concludes our broadcast day. Click.” — Chip Douglas

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ROTJ is the only OT film that I saw on opening day.

I was a new Star Wars fan, and had seen SW and ESB theatrically for the first time in '82.

I awaited ROTJ with great anticipation. It was the only film of the 3 who's secrets had not been revealed to me before I saw the movie.

I devoured every TV report, newspaper article and every issue of Bantha Tracks & Starlog which provided photos and reports of the film for months and months prior to the release. Then of course, was the great first REVENGE trailer, soon followed by the news that the title had been changed!

I remember seeing a photo of Death Star II and thinking it was the remains of DS I. Photos and clips of Luke's new black attire were fodder for speculation for months. Like Bingowings, I also remember a lot of discussion about the shot of Luke and Vader in the elevator. We were actually wondering if there was a chance that Luke turned to the dark side (gasp!)

I still get chills when I watch the first few minutes of ROTJ, before any of the main characters appear; I feel like I'm right back in that theater seat in 1983, not knowing what was going to happen. As the film progressed, I was actually worried that Luke might die!

I saw ROTJ 3 or 4 times that summer.