The defense I’ve heard for Han’s characterization in ROTJ is that it shows how Han progression in becoming a more selfless person. Yeah, he’s initially jealous of Luke, but when he snaps at Leia out of that insecurity, he then gives her a sincere apology, something old Han would have never done.
And at the end of the film he tells Leia he’s okay if she has chosen Luke over him, basically wanting her to be happy.
I mean it makes sense, it does show Han becoming less self-centered. I just think where its effectiveness gets brought into question is the fact that we don’t get any of this jealousy stuff until, ironically enough, after we have already found out that Luke and Leia are twins. So you could argue Han’s growth is sincere, but it feels like it is meant to be played for laughs rather than taken seriously partly because of this.
I also feel like Leia’s affirmation of her love when she rescues him (“Someone who loves you” and the subsequent kiss) should quell Han’s doubts that she no longer loves him, which might be adding to why Han’s jealousy doesn’t work for many. Though to be honest, there is not a lot of it, just the scene where Luke leaves the Ewok village and after the Death Star blows up.
So I guess for fan editors, it comes down to cutting this stuff out, but having even less of Han in the movie than there already is, or keeping it to give Han that extra bit of growth despite the silliness of it. I think the issue with keeping it is that it feels a little tacked on, rather than being thought-out character development for Han. I don’t think Ady mentioned if he was doing anything rergarding this in his ROTJ: Revisited thread but I’m curious about it.
John_ is definitely right though, the personality traits that made Han and Leia so compelling are pretty much nonexistent in ROTJ, and there’s not much that can be done to improve it unfortunately. Just feels like everyone is happy too soon in this movie, no one argues anymore. I’m sure it has a lot to do with Lucas wanting this film to be the happy ending to the trilogy, but one could also argue that after what they went through and finally being reunited, they are just happy to be together again.
Regarding Luke, I get what you’re saying Snooker and do like Ray’s approach. Having the Dagobah stuff before the rest has been a change suggested by others for several reasons in the past.
I think the major thing you would lose from this change is the mystery and build up you get by having Luke be a reveal in the film. That, and seeing Luke’s saber during the Sarlacc battle for the first time are great moments. To me, Luke has grown a lot, but I think a lot of his confidence is partly show in front of his enemies, like Jabba and the Emperor, but I also think it is partly him displaying his faith in the Force. There are moments when we see the old Luke though, like him being afraid of the Rancor, hiding from Vader during their duel, getting caught in the Ewok net, and his conversations with Yoda and Obi-Wan.
I think there are also pros and cons to implying he has trained more with Yoda in the interim. As presented in the films, Luke didn’t train anymore with Yoda, but did a lot of learning on his own between films. To me, I think it makes sense that he would try to learn on his own for awhile after feeling lied to by Obi and Yoda. Also, the way Luke acts through a lot of the film, especially the Jabba sequence, feels very dark side of Luke. Force choking, threats, killing dozens of people. It would make sense that these are things Luke would’ve learned on his own rather than being taught these things by Yoda.
Though I think what Ash said, and at least mention how Luke has continued his training during the crawl, or has gone to “find himself” or whatever could help just give the audience a little more context.
Anyway, I can see the arguments to have it the other way though too.
A little off topic, but I went back and watched through a little of the Jabba sequence while writing this up and I noticed a few other things. Awhile back I suggested that the plan to rescue Han was to actually get everyone to the Sarlacc in order to get out of Jabba’s palace and escape on a skiff. While watching the film again I noticed that when 3PO is telling them their punishment, after Luke kills the Rancor, and as soon as 3PO mentions the Sarlacc, Luke clearly nods his head. To me, this is another indication that this is what Luke wanted to happen.
This, plus ignoring 3PO’s warning about the trap door, Lando giving Leia a reassuring look after Luke falls into the pit, and Luke’s continued confidence and threats toward Jabba really seem to point in that direction.