Return of the Jedi (also known as Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi) is a 1983 American epic space opera film directed by Richard Marquand. The screenplay is by Lawrence Kasdan and George Lucas from a story by Lucas, who was also the executive producer. The sequel to Star Wars (1977)[a] and The Empire Strikes Back (1980), it is the third installment in the original Star Wars trilogy, the third film to be produced, and the sixth chronological film in the "Skywalker saga". The film stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, David Prowse, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew and Frank Oz.
Set one year after The Empire Strikes Back, the Galactic Empire, under the direction of the Emperor, 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, now a Jedi Knight, struggles to bring his father Darth Vader back to the light side of the Force.
Following Lucas and Kasdan's discussion on making Return of the Jedi, the film went into production. Steven Spielberg, 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.
The film was released in theaters on May 25, 1983, receiving positive reviews, although many felt that it did not match the cinematic heights of its predecessors. It grossed $374 million during its initial theatrical run, becoming the highest-grossing film of 1983. Several re-releases and revisions to the film have followed over the decades, which has also brought its total gross to $475 million. The United States Library of Congress selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry in 2021. After Lucas finished his six-film saga by making the prequel trilogy, Disney purchased Lucasfilm and produced a sequel trilogy. Additionally, it released The Mandalorian, the first live-action television series in the franchise, for the streaming service Disney+. The series and its spin-offs are set beginning five years after Return of the Jedi.