Star Wars Episode VI – Return of the Jedi: 11 Little Known Facts

Jabba the hutt's palace in Return of the Jedi


The original Star Wars trilogy concluded with 1983’s Return of the Jedi, which was the third mega hit in a row for the franchise. We saw Luke and his friends finally take down the empire, we met the Ewoks, and we saw Darth Vader turn against his wicked master. 

Here are 11 little know facts about the film… 

1) It took 6 puppeteers to animate Jabba the Hutt 

Crime lord Jabba the Hutt is one of the most iconic characters in the Star Wars universe, but it took a lot of work to bring the giant slug to life! At any one time, six puppeteers were working hard to animate the huge puppet, which weighed 2000 pounds and cost half a million dollars to make. 

2) Salacious Crumb gave Anthony Daniels a panic attack 

In one scene at Jabba’s palace, C3PO has his eye chewed by Salacious Crumb; the skinny rodent like creature with big ears. During this scene, Anthony Daniels (the actor inside C3PO) suffered a bad panic attack, and begged for the crew to get him up.

3) Carrie Fisher mothered Warwick Davis on set 

Carrie Fisher took great care of Warwick Davis, who played Wicket the Ewok. The dwarf actor was just 11 years old at the time, and had to spend a lot of time in his baking hot costume. In between scenes, Fisher would give him cookies and chocolate milk. 

4) The emperor had to rotate his chair by shuffling his feet 

The mechanism that made the Emperor’s chair spin around didn’t work correctly during filming, so the actor Ian McDiarmid had to shuffle his feet to make the chair swivel. The crew marked the floor so he’d know where to stop for the chair to be in shot of the camera. 

Lucasfilm / 20th Century Fox

5) Yoda was added into the film after Lucas spoke with a child psychologist 

George Lucas went and spoke to a child psychologist when working on Return of the Jedi. He came to realise that children under 13 would think that Vader was lying about being Luke’s father. That’s why Lucas wrote in the scene where Yoda confirms Luke’s parentage. 

6) The famous line was almost, ‘it’s a trick!’  

The line, ‘it’s a trap!’ is one of the most famous quotes from Star Wars, and has been parodied countless times; even becoming the title of one of Family Guy’s Star Wars specials. But in the original script, Admiral Ackbar shouts, ‘It’s a trick!’ instead. A test audience didn’t respond well to it, so they amended the line. 

7) The crew pretended they were filming a horror movie named Blue Harvest to deter attention 

The famous set for Jabba’s sail barge was filmed in Arizona, in an area renowned for dune buggy hobbyists. To try to keep their interest in the filming to a minimum, they claimed to be shooting a horror film called ‘Blue Harvest,’ and fenced off the set. They even printed ‘Blue Harvest’ shirts and hats for the crew to wear. 

The Rancor monster from Return of the Jedi
Lucasfilm / 20th Century Fox

8) The rancor’s growls were actually from a dachshund 

Grotesque and bloodthirsty, the rancor was one of the most memorable beasts from the series, with its sharp teeth and towering height. Most terrifying of all, though, were its growls. Those sounds were actually recordings of the sound director’s pet dachshund, which had been slowed down to deepen the noises. 

9) The original title made Star Trek II change theirs 

During production, the film was originally titled The Revenge of the Jedi. However, the producers decided that it’s not very Jedi-like to seek revenge and so they changed it to Return of the Jedi. However, Star Trek II had already changed their title from The Revenge of Kahn to The Wrath of Kahn to avoid any conflict with The Revenge of the Jedi. Oops! 

10) Spielberg was first choice to direct Return of the Jedi

George Lucas wanted his longtime friend Steven Spielberg to direct this third installment in the Star Wars saga. The director was his first choice for the director’s chair, having just directed Raiders of the Lost Ark for Lucasfilm. However, Spielberg was a member of the Director’s Guild, which Lucas had struck serious beef with whilst making The Empire Strikes Back, and so Spielberg had to decline. 

11) Lucas wanted a bleaker ‘spaghetti western’ ending for the film 

In the original script, Lucas had wanted to end the film with Luke Skywalker wandering off into a desert, alone and exhausted, much like the closing shot of many a spaghetti western. However, Lucas realised that they’d be able to sell more merch if they ended the film on a happier tone, and so they wrote in the celebrations on Endor. 

There you have it – 11 pieces of trivia around Return of the Jedi! Check out the original trailer below…

Return of the Jedi trailer

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Now you’ve explored some amazing Return of the Jedi trivia, why not go back to the start of the original trilogy? Here are some cool facts about A New Hope: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About A New Hope 

Then, march forward to the 1980 sequel Empire Strikes Back, and unturn some more amazing movie trivia: 11 Little Known Facts About The Empire Strikes Back