"Return of the Jedi," the third film in the original "Star Wars" trilogy, was released on May 25, 1983. Lucasfilm, the production company founded by "Star Wars" creator George Lucas, is celebrating the film's 30th anniversary with a new book documenting the making of "Jedi." ("Star Wars" and "The Empire Strikes Back" already have books of their own.) "The Making of Return of the Jedi" won't come out until Oct. 1, but HuffPost Entertainment will have an exclusive excerpt later this week in time for the official anniversary on Saturday.
In the meantime, we present the very first look at the book's trailer, above, as well as an interview with the book's author, J.W. Rinzler. Ahead, Rinzler's best quotes on topics ranging from Harrison Ford's Han Solo death wish to the rumors of rampant, behind-closed-doors Ewok sex.
On sex among the actors who played Ewoks:
I don't know how much of that has been exaggerated over the past but, yeah, a few people had funny stories about having to knock on any doors that contained private places. I think there was one Ewok couple that did get married a few years later, which is not in the book, but that did happen. What they said, normally little people aren't used to seeing so many other little people at the same time -- so it was kind of a new experience for them.
On the trials of the director of "Return of the Jedi," the late Richard Marquand:
Certainly George did not want to have a repeat experience of "Empire" in terms of the time and the budget ... George wanted coverage of every scene, which he didn't really get as much of with ["The Empire Strikes Back" director] Irvin Kershner. It made it harder to do what he does in the editing room -- and for George, that's where some of the most important filmmaking takes place, so he really wanted to get that footage and he was determined to get it for "Jedi." And Marquand was kind of wondering at some points, "What's my job?" Kershner was kind of -- not exactly doing it like Hitchcock -- but more like Hitchcock. Saying, "I know what this is going to look like. I know how it's going to cut together." That forces the editor into a single way of cutting it together, and George didn't want to be handcuffed that way.
On Harrison Ford's attitude toward "Return of the Jedi":
Obviously, Harrison Ford career had taken a mega leap with Indiana Jones and he had just done "Blade Runner." So, he was doing really interesting work. I think he was as interested as always, but he just felt that in terms of the character arc of [Han Solo], it would serve the story more if he died. And it's well known that he was really pushing that. But George didn't want to kill off a major character -- or even a minor character -- in "Jedi." But in the story conference [with Lucas, Lawrence Kasdan, Richard Marquand and producer Howard Kazanjian], I think you can see in hindsight that what happened was that Han and Leia, their storyline, didn't receive as much attention as it might have. It's not really Ford losing interest as it is neither character has as much to do in "Jedi" as they did in "Empire."
On George Lucas' divorce:
That's not something I want to play up at all. It's obviously in the book, and George is the one who talked to me about it ... but he brought it up and basically kind of wanted it in the book because it was obviously having a big effect upon him at the time. As he said, he just had to drag himself to work during post-production every day.
On the legacy of "Return of the Jedi," compared to "Star Wars" and "The Empire Strikes Back":
In a way, "Jedi"'s trajectory is similar to "Empire'"s. They both got mixed reviews, and a lot of the actors back then in 1982 didn't even like "Empire" that much. They really preferred "Star Wars" and they preferred "Jedi." Then, over the years, "Empire" has kind of appeared as a lot of people's favorite. I was taking to Guillermo del Toro about this. Already with "Jedi," you have another generation of filmgoers going to the theater. And for people like me, "Jedi" was already a kind of "The Phantom Menace" in that we're like, "You've got to be kidding me with these Ewoks. I just cannot relate to this. These are little people in suits and it looks ridiculous." There's already a generational divide. But those kids who were seven and eight who saw Jedi -- for a lot of people, "Jedi" is their favorite film. And del Toro is saying it will be the same way for the prequels.
Mike Ryan is senior writer for Huffington Post Entertainment. You can contact him directly on Twitter.
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