Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi is a 1983 American epic space opera film, the third and final installment in the original Star Wars Trilogy and the sequel to The Empire Strikes Back (1980). It was directed by Richard Marquand and produced by Howard Kazanjian for Lucasfilm Ltd. with the screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan and George Lucas was from a story by Lucas, who was also the executive producer. It was also the first film Star Wars film to use THX technology. The film is set one year after The Empire Strikes Back. Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Anthony Daniels, David Prowse, James Earl Jones, Alec Guinness, Kenny Baker and Peter Mayhew all reprise their roles of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Leia Organa, C-3PO, Darth Vader, Obi-Wan Kenobi, R2-D2 and Chewbacca from the first two films in the original tirlogy, with Billy Dee Williams and Frank Oz who reprise their roles of Lando Calrissian and Yoda from The Empire Strikes Back. They are joined by Ian McDiarmid who plays Emperor Palpatine.
The Galactic Empire, under the direction of Palpatine, is constructing a second Death Star in order to crush the Rebel Alliance once and for all. Since the Emperor plans to personally oversee the final stages of its construction, the Rebel Fleet launches a full-scale attack on the Death Star in order to prevent its completion and kill the Emperor, effectively bringing an end to his hold over the galaxy. Meanwhile, Luke Skywalker, a Jedi apprentice, struggles to bring Darth Vader, who, he finds out, is actually his father Anakin Skywalker, the fallen Jedi, back to the Light Side of the Force.
David Lynch and David Cronenberg were considered to direct the project before Marquand signed on as director. The production team relied on Lucas' storyboards during pre-production. While writing the shooting script, Lucas, Kasdan, Marquand, and producer Howard Kazanjian spent two weeks in conference discussing ideas to construct it. Kazanjian's schedule pushed shooting to begin a few weeks early to allow Industrial Light & Magic more time to work on the film's effects in post-production. Filming took place in England, California, and Arizona from January to May 1982. Strict secrecy surrounded the production and the film used the working title Blue Harvest to prevent price gouging.
The film was released in theaters May 25, 1983, six years after the release of the first film A New Hope (1977), receiving mostly positive reviews. The film grossed between $475 million and $572 million worldwide. Several home video and theatrical releases and revisions to the film followed over the next 20 years. Star Wars continued with a prequel trilogy consisting with The Phantom Menace in 1999, Attack of the Clones in 2002, and Revenge of the Sith in 2005. Return of The Jedi received a sequel, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, on December 18, 2015, as part of the new Star Wars sequel trilogy.