Here’s The Real Reason Star Wars: Episode VI Was Originally Titled Revenge Of The Jedi

Return of the Jedi

Could you imagine if, in today’s obsessive film climate, a major franchise blockbuster announced a title, produced posters and marketing material with that title, and then up and changed it mere months before release? It may seem unreasonable now, but that’s exactly what happened to Star Wars: Return of the Jedi some three decades ago.

By now, most film buffs know that George Lucas’ third Star Wars pic was set to be titled “Revenge of the Jedi,” originally announced alongside a dark red and black poster that’s now selling for thousands of dollars online. But that’s just a small piece of the interesting title history.

As it turns out, Lucas always intended for the movie to be called Return of the Jedi. After all, the plot revolves around Luke Skywalker attempting to bring his father Darth Vader back to the light side of the force, not seeking retaliation for his previous defeats. The “Revenge” subtitle was actually the idea of producer Lawrence Kasdan, who felt Lucas’ original idea was too weak.

While it’s widely contested as to why Lucas agreed to the first adjustment, it’s commonly believed that he changed it back to reflect the values of the Jedi, as only the dark side would seek revenge. Therefore, it’s only apt that the Star Wars creator would circle back around to using the heavier word in the subtitle of Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, decades later. That movie sees Anakin’s initial turn to the Dark Side of the force, though the prequel series didn’t do a great job explaining why exactly his fall, and the subsequent extinction of the Jedi, would constitute revenge.

The final film in the Skywalker saga, appropriately titled Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, is set to hit theaters later this year, and if the trailer is any indication, it sounds like it could actually feature the revenge of the Sith. But, will this movie cap off the Sequel Trilogy as perfectly as Star Wars: Return of the Jedi closed the originals? We’ll have to wait until December 20th to find out for sure.