I remember a time before TPM when the "unmasking" of Darth Vader was kind of an unpopular decision made by George Lucas in ROTJ. But after TPM came out, Jar Jar Binks wiped the memories of everybody who had a problem with that it seems. Today I think it was handled perfectly, but as a child I remember being kind of disappointed about who was behind the mask. I know there is no logic to it, but as a child I was thinking that it would be a scary monster. When I was young I thought he didn't need the mask, but just used it to hide his scary face. I expected him to look like Darth Maul or a man with Grey skin, yellow eyes, etc. For awhile I wished Luke would have never removed the mask and it would remain a mystery.
One thing I wish could have been changed about the movie is who directed it. Steven Spielberg would have done a better job than this Richard Marquand. I heard that he didn't even do much directing on the movie. Somebody took his place early on when they found out he wasn't a good fit for the job. When I watched video of Richard Marquand on the set of ROTJ directing from "Returning to Jedi", he looked stiff as a rock and scared out of his mind. The guy didn't even look like he knew anything about star wars, liked it or knew what he was doing. He looked baffled by the whole thing. Does anybody know what the story with Richard Marquand directing ROTJ was all about?
I really wish Steven Spielberg could have directed it. He was George's first choice for ROTJ. I don't know why George couldn't use him just because he was in a film union? What is the story on why Steven Spielberg couldn't direct ROTJ? Having Irvin Kershner come back would have been even better. But it sounds like Irvin didn't come back because he couldn't take all of George's controlling ways during ESB. Am I correct?
Here are two reviews from 1999 of ROTJ from imdb.com.
Has anyone else noticed a certain trend ..., 9 September 1999
Author: Spleen from Canberra, Australia
`Star Wars' ended with Luke Skywalker's assault on the Death Star. We followed Luke and Luke alone. `The Empire Strikes Back' split the action at the end into two streams: we saw Leia and Han fighting for their freedom, and Luke Skywalker confronting Vader. `Return of the Jedi' split things three ways: Endor, Death Star, rebel fleet. And what do you know, `The Phantom Menace' divides the final action into FOUR streams. If this trend continues things will start to get silly. They already have.
It's tempting to view `Return of the Jedi' as a sour omen of things to come. Lucas hired Richard `"whatever you say, George"' Marquand to direct his third Star Wars movie, which accounts for the general sluggishness. He threw in pointlessly cuddly Ewoks. Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher abandon the more adult romance of the previous film in order to play unconvincing second fiddles to all these furry things. While John Williams's score retains its power, his source music is pretty weak. Compared to the first two movies the dialogue is bland. (It would get much blander come 1999.) The story is an unimaginative re-hash of earlier work, except for Lucas's idea that bigger is better. If the rebels have to do THREE things at once to travel INSIDE the EVEN BIGGER, DEADLIER Death Star with MORE SHIPS THAN EVER BEFORE in order to achieve an EVEN GREATER victory, it will surely make things more exciting - right? Whatever you say, George.
Special effects are particularly disappointing. They're actually weaker than in the first two movies, with unbelievable - and I mean, literally unbelievable - muppets strewn all over the landscape. (The blue vinyl elephant thing in Jabba's court gets my vote for most ridiculous alien.) Oddly enough the digital adjustments of 1997 only made matters worse. The computer-generated pop singer Lucas created looks every bit as fake as that stupid animal with the big lips it replaced - it merely looks fake in a different way; and, furthermore, the presence of the computer creatures makes the puppets look more fake than they would otherwise look, and vice versa. Perhaps it doesn't matter very much. The special effects, creature effects, costumes AND art direction, had all deteriorated, with or without digital vandalism.
Yet despite all this the release of `The Phantom Menace' makes `Return of the Jedi' look better than ever. The chief difference between the two is that the latter, unlike the former, has a reason for being made in the first place. The story begun in the first two movies needed a conclusion. It DIDN'T need a prologue. If the conclusion stumbles a bit, well, we must take the rough with the smooth: obviously the story had to end SOME way. In any event, `Return of the Jedi' isn't a bad movie. It coasts on the energy of the early movies, but it gets where it's going. If you've just watched the earlier films this one still brings a lump to the throat. Yes, it could have been much better. Be thankful it wasn't worse.
A touching end, 11 May 1999
I'm sick of people whining about Ewoks! True, they're not the best thing that ever happened to Star Wars, but they DID happen, so deal with it! Besides, they ARE cute, and I don't care if they're marketable. Yubb Nubb!
This movie always leaves me in tears. It's perfect. The end could not be better. I'm excited for The Phantom Menace because it will suddenly throw the focus of the whole story from Luke to Anakin. I love how he is revealed at the end - it would be too unresolved any other way. So those of you who are complaining that Vader's helmet was removed, take a moment to think about it. It's very effective. Vader, the man who hid behind a mask for 20 years, is finally revealed as a sick-looking man. He is not entirely machine - he's vulnerable.
I don't know how the casting director happened to pick such good actors in A New Hope. They all do so well. They are believable characters. Hamill does an excellent job with his dramatic character development. Fisher does a fine job being a female role model (I mean, come on! She killed Jabba even when so many others had failed!). Harrison Ford - need I say more?
The music is once again brilliant. It's so very touching and significant when you can pick out character themes at different parts of the movie. The best climax is when Luke shouts "NOOO!" and jumps out to fight his father in the Final Battle. John Williams is nothing short of a genius! What an amazing man!
Already, the movie has so much more meaning for me because of Episode I. I can't wait to finally see it in the theatres (CAN I WAIT???) and then watch the original trilogy yet again.
Biggs in ANH edit idea
ROTJ opening edit idea