By now you've seen Revenge of the Sith get reviewed, critiqued and thoroughly dissected by geeks on message boards all over the Internet. It'd be interesting to imagine what everyone would have posted when the previous trilogy wrapped up. No, wait, we don't have to imagine, because that happened!

Yes, there was some form of an Internet back when Return of the Jedi came out, and yes, these are real. In between games of Global Thermonuclear War, compu-savvy nerds in 1983 logged on to their BBS systems and chatted about how many seconds remained until Return of the Jedi's release. Any info that came their way, they had to proclaim loudly!

Wed, 11-May-83
Naperville, Il. a small drug store on the outskirts of Naperville nestled in the
cradle of a shopping center lies a few choice virgin copies of

                RETURN OF THE JEDI (comic book)

it contains answer to the many questions that you have agonized over.

More hints to follow.....

May 18 1983, 1:12 am
The rumour has it that TESB will show up in videotape this fall.
Once it does this, I plan to rent it and Part 4:ANH.  Then show them
both and have everybody trek down to whatever cinema is running ROTJ
at the time.

        Brad Templeton - Waterloo, Ont. (519) 886-7304

I can't be held responsible for anything that happens if you try to call that number.

Here's some "talkback" posts created shortly after the release of the movie.

May 26 1983, 11:20 am

      RAH!  yeah!  Yay!  ****!  Go see it!  Production quality better
    than ever.  Harrison Ford delivers superb acting job.  All plot lines
    brilliantly tied up.  I was incredibly happy with the movie.


May 25 1983, 5:42 pm
Winner. Perhaps not quite as crafty an ending as I had hoped,
but a reasonably satisfying ending.  I felt very good leaving
the theater (not because I was leaving, but because the movie
was so good).

I am afraid that the movie is possibly not suitable for very
young children; parents may wish to check it out ahead of time.
There are some scenes which are a little violent and possibly
scary for young children.

General consensus of 12 of us: 10 out of 10, possibly the
best of the three.  We are all going to go see it again
before making any critical analysis of plot or effects.
The overall feeling was good, however.  The crowd for the first
showing at Atlanta's Phipps theater (the only Atlanta 70mm
print) applauded and cheered many scenes throughout the movie,
and gave a standing ovation at the end. Of course, some of
these folks were die-hards who camped out all night to be
first in line.

Bottom line: the film could have been a tremendous let-down
after the first 2 and all the attendant speculation.  It was
not a let-down -- it was a very pleasant experience. I would
easily rate this a $6 or even $8 movie -- even the second
time around!

Gene Spafford

June 13 1983, 9:44 am
I just went to see The Return of the Jedi this weekend
and it just struck me that the rebels have real problems.
For one thing it seems that the qualification for being
a rebel general is a past history of criminal behavior
i.e. Han who is a self confessed smuggler and Lando who
is a gambler and runs an illicit mining operation are
promoted almost as fast as they join up. Second it seems
that there is a general for every forty or fifty
soldiers (meaning that there are 2-3 colonels, 4-6
majors, 8-12 captains, 10-15 lieutenents, 10-15 sargents
and one enlisted man, who has to do all the work, in
each rebel unit).  Notice that the last living Jedi
Knight(Darth doesn't count for this) who personally has
saved the rebelion from anileation by destroying the
death star, who led the expedition to save a key figure
of the rebelion from certain death when she was trapped
inside the death star, who is unblemished criminaly and
in support of the rebelion with his heart and soul is
only a commander.  Princess Leia who is a member of the
Imperial Senate(the last check on the Emporer's power),
responsible for getting the Death Star plans to the
rebelion so it can be destroied, who is a princess, of
high repute and a mainstay of the rebelion takes orders
from generals (i.e. is not one herself).  It's a shame
Jabba the Hutt died if he had joined the rebels he would
have commanded the Rebel forces for sure and probably
gone on to become the father of thier galaxy (hopefully
not in a literal sense).
Of course the Imperial forces are not in such great
shape either.  Well lets burn the brother of the
Emporer's right hand man over a couple of droids.  Lets
use three aircraft carriers to chase one small motor
boat and better yet lets make two of them crash while
doing so and let the motor boat escape while we do.
What's that Lord Vader, you say you need another set of
admirals because the ones you have are all used up.
Yes, uhm Yes sir, but that's the forth set this week and
admirals don't grow on trees.  Yes Lord Vater I'll see
what I can do.  OMIGOD! a fighter hit the bridge of the
ship and were being pulled into that planet our only
chance is to dock with the death star!  What do you mean
the docking facilities weren't completed?! OOOPs...

                                Well that's entertainment,
                                        Tom Harris

June 17 1983, 11:41 am
Saw RotJ last night and have to admit I was *extremely* disappointed. Lots
of good stuff, but too much silliness. This may sound strange, but I felt
it to be much less 'real' than the first too. my credibility is willing to
be stretched pretty far, but not that far. I'll flame away for a while and
then get to the stuff I liked and a conclusion. Some examples...

The creatures! Way too many FAKE-looking creatures. Especially in Jabba's
den. That blue smurfy thing really bothered me. Also the 'orc-like' creatues
that greeted visitors to Jabba-- big soft things with dull teeth and flab.
The guy with the tail growing out of his head was good, though. I was also
disappointed in Jabba, himself. Looked like an overgrown hefty bag with fake
eyes. Nice job on the tongue, though. There were simply too many muppets and
soft-looking creatures, especially for a den of villainy.

Princess Leia sure took being chained to Jabba, the epitomy of slime, pretty
well, casually sleeping against him when Luke walked in.

Luke's New, Improved, Green Light Saber, and violence in general. When I saw the
ad in the paper for this movie, it had a small subtitle that said something
like 'May be too intense for young children'. When? Was I the only one that
noticed when our gang was escaping from Jabba while suspended over the pit
creature that Luke's light saber didn't cut ANYONE? Just knocked 'em overboard
to let the pit swallow them. Is there a 'stun' setting on the handle? And when
Leia strangled the air bag, well, I just expected something a little more
like someone getting strangled, instead of just a couple of gasps and two
Tablespoons of green slime. I'm not into gore, or anything like that, but
this movie didn't even attempt the 'violent realism' of the first two. The
only blood (of any color) in the entire movie was the small amount under
Leia's bandage after she was shot with a blaster.

Ewoks. Oh boy, now the rebel alliance has been saved by Teddy Bears. Give me
a break. Oh, sure, their cute as can be, but what the hell are they doing
fighting Imperial Stormtroopers? Ewoks are the kind of creatures that make us
want the rebels to win because they get slaughtered or something; they are
not the kind of creatures that beat Stormtroopers. And with what weapons did
they beat a squadron of the Imperium's best? Sticks with little rocks on the

The Rebel Alliance. We really rooted for these guys in SW and TESB. Boy was
the Imperium evil then-- blowing up whole planets and stuff. Now it is the
Rebels who are on the offensive. That's okay, but I found that I didn't really
hate the Imperial forces as much this time. Sure, they did nasty things, but
what was the Rebel's reaction when the Death Star II blasted the rebellion's
two largest cruise ships out of existence? 'Oh no, the Death Star is oper-
ational!' No mourning for the thousands who must have lost their lives
instantaneously? Why didn't Luke feel the souls crying out, as Obi-Wan had
when the planet was destroyed in SW. Sure, there were definately more people
on the planet, but Obi-Wan was in another part of the galaxy, while Luke
was within sight of this destruction. I guess I just didn't feel for the
rebellion as strongly as I used to, but I don't think it is my fault as much
as the director's.

Now for the good stuff. My favorite scenes were all aboard the DS II. I really
thought this stuff was good, and I wish the rest of the movie had been more
like this. Luke's conflict with himself, Darth, and the Emperor was very well
done. Also the scenes of the rebels flying through the innards of the DS II
were fantastic. I liked most of Luke's scenes; I really felt for him more than
anyone else. I thought that his conflict could have been a more major part of
the movie, and I wouldn't have minded if he had not survived it, as long as he
won his inner conflict first. I also really enjoyed the sky cycle scenes. I wish
I had one of them to truck around on. I think I'd stay away from forests,
though. I think that the acting in this movie was the best of the three, at
least on the parts of Luke, Leia, and Han.

Conclusion. It may sound from my flames above that I didn't like RotJ. This
is not true. I truly enjoyed it, but I was disappointed because it left the
spirit of episodes IV and V. It was simply TOO CUTE to 'be believed'. I am
afraid that I will not pay to see this movie again, as I did SW (17 times)
and TESB(12 times), at least not in the near future. Oh, well. I hope that
Episodes I-III and VII-IX (if they are made) return to the spirit of adven-
ture that was in SW and TESB, but seems to be lacking in RotJ.

Flame away!


I guess this proves the Internet term "flame" is a LOT older than any of the others....

May 27 1983, 6:32 pm
These are some impressions of Return of the Jedi.

The visuals are nothing short of fantastic.  I especially liked Jabba's
floating `barge'.

Before I go further with specifics, let's hit a few general points.
SW-ANH and TESB were good enough to stand by themselves. NO WAY for this
flick.  There was very little continuity of action, and contrary to
other folks who have said that Mark Hamill can't act, I feel that he had
the only believably written part in the story.  The dramatic pace of the
show was very badly handled, and many important scenes weren't believable.

Now specifics.

  Jabba was ok, but there some things that weren't believable.  The
glimpse after Luke destroys the Jabba's monster where some of Jabba's
folk mourn for it is not realistic.  In a place such as Jabba's hall
where fear and pleasure alternate, it seems unlikely that the guards,
who might at any moment be terminated, would have had either the time
(high turnover in a place like that) or the inclination to gain
affection for the beast when they stood a chance of being a meal
for it sooner or later.  And it just doesn't WORK in the film.
  And the pace was wrong.  The original picture of Jabba and his hall
was a little comical, but it grew frightening very quickly.  From a purely
technical point of view, the comic relief should have been held awhile.
  When Leia was releasing Han, she said she was ``Someone who loves you ...
a lot.''  This was not all that realistic.  Think about it -- she is
trying to get him out of there.  The greeting card schamltz would have
waited.  And we would have seen Leia PROVE her love by enduring Jabba's
abuse.  How many women would allow themselves to be raped by another
species (submitting to bestiality) in order to pull off an impossible
rescue of a man who might not love them?  This should have been brought
into sharper focus.  Even a remark from Han would do it.

  When Leia strangles Jabba, it seems to be a little too pat, too easy.
It seemed too melodramatic, as well.

  And Jabba, being apparently a lover of torture (applied to others) would
probably have carried the cat-and-mouse with Luke a little further.  Next,
why did Luke wait until they were about to make him walk the plank before
fighting?  After all, he could have jumped/flew out of the monsters
pit immediately.  Was he just playing cat-and-mouse with Jabba?  If so, his
demeanor with Jabba (``You should have bargained.  I will destroy you.'')
was all wrong.  Luke would almost certainly have been more coy.  And this
is not acting.  It is writing.  Yes, acting might have saved the day.
(``-offhandedly: You SHOULD have bargained. I -gravely: WILL -quietly:
destroy you.'')  But let us not fault Hamill for not being Brando.

  In the opening, the introduction reads ``Little does he know that the
Empire is building a new Death Star'' or some such.  OUCH!  I had to
pull the corncobs out of my ribs -- and it got worse when Luke found out
AFTER rescuing Han abouth the new Death Star.  That tidbit of information
was carried into the movie by an unmitigated Deus Ex Machina.  If it was
important enough to rate explanation in the opening, why was it tossed
into the plot exposition with that kind of devil-may-care attitude?

In the big scene -- the scene with the Emperor -- the Wrath of the Emperor
is badly handled.  He jumps up and gets VERY physical, throwing sparks
all over the place to zap Luke.  Why?  He does these things with his mind.
It would have been far better if he sat with his eye closed as the sparks
engulfed Luke -- and as Luke resisted by clearing his mind of hatred.
And, just as the Emperor is about to overcome  Luke, just as all his
energy and conciousness are focused on Luke's destruction, Vader smites
the Emperor with Luke's light sabre and they both are engulfed in a
blaze of glorious purple (not blue, please) sparks.  A horrible scream
is heard, and the Emperor's body disappears.  Then he appears in
``holographic'' form, and, with a look of panic and terror, fades
thinner and thinner until only a shadow is left.  Finally the shadow
fades as well.  That is how it COULD have been.

  Why didn't the battle with the Empire's fleet more closely track the
battle between Luke and the Emperor?  Yes it might have been corny if
overdone, but is could have been believable>

  If Yoda, on his deathbed (contrived, no?) tells Luke that Luke had learned
all he needed from Yoda, why was it that in TESB Yoda wanted Luke to stay?
And why wasn't Yoda available in ``holographic image'' just as soon as
he died?  Ok, it's not unreasonable, but not explained either.

  And why didn't Anaken Skywalker, after his salvation from The Dark Side
of the Force, disappear immediately upon dying?

  And, if Leia is strong of the Force, and has experienced it (when Luke
called out to her near the end of TESB) why didn't she at least have
some view of the Three Transfigured Jedi (Obi-Wan, Yoda, and Anaken (sp?))
when Luke could see them? At least to feel their presence?

  Then there were the scenes where the furry litle people are destroying
the two-legged tanks (whatever they are called).  They find about six or
seven ways to do it, and this is a little TOO much comic relief.  Also,
they could have been saved for a whole bunch of action-twists, each
alternating with a hopeless or disasterous situation.

  And why was the rebel cruiser able to withstand the planet-bursting
blasts of the ``fully operational Death Star''?  If it had been only partially
operational, it might have been more credible from BOTH the point of view
of the cruiser and the point of view of the amount of time needed to
complete the station.

  Oddly enough, Obi-Wan's explanation of how he had not lied was
believable -- perhaps because that is the way I would have written
it myself.

  What else?  Well, in going from the destruction of Jabba, to Yoda on
his deathbed, and back to the battle group, the pace was lost.  After
the first drawn-out and terrible vanquishing of an enemy, we should
either set up for a higher tension or see some kind of escape valve
(eg comic relief) before the vastly different type of emotions needed to
deal with the Yoda scenes -- and we should have had a little more
build-up on the way back.  The placement and handling of the Yoda
scene destroyed the flow of the action.

                        Well, I could say a lot more, but
                        this should be enough to start things
                                        Mark Terribile
                                        Duke of deNet

A lot more, huh? I think this guy made up 40% of the entire Internet in 1983. Now check out this one.

May 27 1983, 6:42 pm

        After seeing "Return of the Jedi" Wednesday, I was left with
    a question. I'm pretty sure that Episodes I, II, and II will be
    about Anakin (Darth Vader) Skywalker and how he was drawn to the
    Dark Side of the force (what is the offer he couldn't refuse?).
    But, what will Episodes VII, VIII, and IX be about? Will the
    Empire rise into power once more, lead by a sinister, new leader?
    Or will a new enemy terrorize the galaxy?

                        "The emporer is less forgiving than I am . . ."
                        Danny Espinoza

Irony is neat, isn't it? Next on the path of geekly inevitability: endless analysis.

Jun 8 1983, 11:02 pm
Fess up-
Wasn't your conception Obi-wan's astral nature blown to bits
when he sat on a log?

June 10 1983, 1:37 pm
As to RotJ and the Luke-Vader struggle, there is DEFINITELY a clatter
after Luke throws away his light sabre. It takes a while (he throws it
hard?) and it is way off to stage left and comparatively faint, but I
have noticed it each time.

June 15 1983, 10:13 pm
The first time I saw RotJ, I wondered about one of Han's lines just before
the rebels took off to attack Death Star II.  He said something like, "I
get the feeling I'm never going to see her again," referring to the Falcon.
Since Lando and the Falcon escaped unharmed from the explosion of the Death
Star, I felt that line was somehow out of place.

Now a friend who's seen an unreleased version of RotJ tells me that in that
version, the Falcon was consumed at the last moment as it was escaping from
the exploding Death Star, presumably killing Lando and co-pilot.  This
seems like a much more dramatic (though perhaps less mass-appealing)
ending.  My friend says that there are other differences from the released
version, as well.

When I get to see this for myself I'll report any other differences I see.
Does anyone know if either of the other Star Wars movies had unreleased
versions, and what the differences were?

                                        -- Roger

June 15 1983, 7:12 pm
The SW first release was not the same as the SW - A NEW HOPE release
which came out when SW-ANH and SW-TESB were playing back to back --
at least as shown at the University Theatre in Toronto.

Specifically, the ANH release was more than 15 minutes shorter. When
I first saw it (after seeing SW many, many times in all-day, pay
first thing in the morning and stay all you want Northern Ontario
theatres) I could have told you which scenes were deleted, but it
all blurs now.


I don't know about Roger, but Laura is right--a few scenes that made Episode IV feel more like a stand-alone movie were trimmed in all later releases once the film became a success.

Only nerds had Internet access then, so you can imagine their posts got a little too algebraic for a movie like this. Check out that second guy.

June 5 1983, 3:35 pm
Vader died because his life support system got zorched by The Emperor.  I
thought this was one of the weakest moments of the film.  His normally
stentorious automatic breathing apperatus developed a definite hitch and
a squeak which almost made me laugh out loud.

                        Byron Howes
                        UNC - Chapel Hill

June 5 1983, 9:45 pm
In the rebels' holographic simulation (a beautiful effect), the Death
Star is shown in a geostationary (well, endorstationary) orbit.  It is
also shown as being only a few Death-Star-radii from the surface, and
certainly less than one Endor-radius.

There is a contradiction here.  For the stationary orbit to be that
close, either the planet spins in only a few hours, or it has very light
gravity.  The scenes on Endor's surface showed no evidence of either of
the above.

Possible fixes: even when only partially operational, the Death Star
could levitate; or maybe the shield generating station also provided
levitation until the Death Star's engines came on line.  Or maybe the
planet did have very light gravity, but there was a humongous mascon
right under the shield station, providing "normal" gravity in the
immediate area.  Except that you would expect a lake to collect...

And then again, some WEREN'T so bright.

May 31 1983, 3:38 pm
I've heard that Ben Kenobie (or whatever) and good old DV
          fought many years ago and DV was thrown into a volcano.
          Well, somehow DV survived (Lucky, huh?) and the result
          is his UGLY head.  Well, That's my favorite ( it might
          even be true!) story on how it happened (The head I mean.)
          Therefore, DV could be Luke's Dad.

                Ben Walls

June 1 1983, 7:18 pm
I thought everybody knew that Darth was a cute guy until he
    was thrown into a volcano.  Just in case some of you didn't, that
    is indeed how he got so ugly.


    p.s. I couldn't hardly understand Yoda, either.  But then, I
    could never understand Fozzie Bear from the muppets, and of
    course, they sound exactly alike.  It looked like they were
    using a different puppet for Yoda than last movie.  Anyone
    else think that?

June 4 1983, 1:49 pm
You may not have noticed it,
but as Han and Chewie were trying to
rescue Lando, you could see Boba Fatt trying
to fly out of the monster, being held in
by one of the 'tentacles' (which later tried
to pull Lando in).

Then again - since Boba was covered head
to foot with weapons, why didn't he just blast the
monster's tentacle holding him down?

                Rogue Vaxhacker

June 4 1983, 1:55 pm
In my last article I said "Boba Fatt".
Make that "Fett"...unless you think his
body armor was a big flab-retainer.

        Rogue Vaxhacker

If you've ever watched Yoda say "There IS another" in Empire Strikes Back and wondered if nerds would go nuts over such a hint as badly as they would now, the answer is a loud yes. Even after the movie came out, many of them still didn't believe it was Leia, though according to this poll the majority had already figured it out prior to the ROTJ release.

Subject: Results of 'Other' Poll
Newsgroups: net.sf-lovers,net.movies

It is February 1st 1983 -- premiere day for "Star Wars" on HBO, so...

Here it is folks!  The results of the poll that asked the question:

'Please give your opinion on about whom Yoda was talking when, in
"The Empire Strikes Back", he said to OB-Wan, "No, there is an Other",
referring to someone (besides Luke?) who could restore the republic.'

For the record, I did not include people who made more than one guess,
unless they indicated one much more strongly than the other, in which
case I discarded the weaker guess.

I feel I must tell all you potential poll takers not to fear a deluge
of response.  This was one of the hottest items on the net two months
ago, and look -- well under 100 responded!  I shall keep a list of
names and votes, so that I can congratulate the correct people when
"Return of the Jedi" comes out.

54 total votes, 22 different votes

 16.7%:  Princess Leia
 11.1%:  Han Solo
  9.3%:  Don't care
  9.3%:  Boba Fett
  7.4%:  Someone New
  7.4%:  Lando Carlissian
  5.6%:  Darth Vader
  5.6%:  nobody
  3.7%:  Wedge
  1.9%:  Leia's and Luke's son
  1.9%:  FtG
  1.9%:  Leia's and Han's son
  1.9%:  Won't know in R.o.t.J.
  1.9%:  Luke's father
  1.9%:  Lost relative of Luke
  1.9%:  Don't know
  1.9%:  Mr. Spock
  1.9%:  OB-2 Kenobi
  1.9%:  R2D2
  1.9%:  Luke's severed hand
  1.9%:  Obi-wan Kenobe
  1.9%:  "Other"==>"Luke gets another shot at success"

Now Star Wars is over for definate, at least until Lucas dies and some guy gets the rights, then makes a third trilogy based on notes Lucas made and forgot he had. But that won't be for a while, and Star Trek is also dead, making me wonder where all these nerds are going to go. Insert satisfying closing observation here.