Return of the Jedi Nearly Desecrated George Lucas’ Sacred Original Trilogy With One Deleted Scene

Return of the Jedi intended to include an ambiguous scene between Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker that was chopped out for the best.

return of the jedi, george lucas
credit: wikimedia commons/torfilm

SUMMARY

  • Return of the Jedi is a near-perfect conclusion to the original trilogy of George Lucas' Star Wars films.
  • A deleted scene featuring Darth Vader reaching out to Luke while the latter worked on his lightsaber threatened to derail the film's entire narrative flow.
  • Given the placement and context of the scene, it would have been redundant to show Vader and Luke interact and Luke using his lightsaber for no reason.
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Return of the Jedi serves as the epic conclusion to George Lucas’ sacred original trilogy, which is revered for its cinematic brilliance even today. The film not only delivers the kind of visual spectacle one expects from a Star Wars film, but also provides a resolution to several plot threads and character arcs in a compelling fashion.

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Darth Vader in a deleted scene from Return of the Jedi
A deleted scene from Return of the Jedi shows Darth Vader reaching out to Luke through the Force.

However, all the fluency of the film could have been desecrated had Lucas decided to keep one scene that was thankfully deleted. The scene features a brief interaction between Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker, through the use of the Force. However, the context and placement of the scene would have almost disrupted everything that Return of the Jedi executes successfully, and here is why.

Return of the Jedi Nearly Featured Darth Vader Reaching Out to Luke Through the Force

A deleted scene from Return of the Jedi, which was later revealed to fans, depicted Darth Vader reaching out to Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), through the force. Vader briefly attempts to ask him to join the dark side. As Vader reaches out to Luke, we see the young Jedi attempting to complete his lightsaber. It ends with Luke handing the completed lightsaber to R2-D2.

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Luke Skywalker in a deleted scene from Return of the Jedi
Luke Skywalker working on his lightsaber in a deleted scene from Return of the Jedi

While the scene plays out ambiguously, it is implied that Luke rejects the call. Based on the film’s narrative, it is safe to assume that this scene would have taken place near the beginning. The scene was likely meant to establish a connection between Luke and Vader through the force.

Juxtaposing the scene against the highly rigorous and personal task of crafting a lightsaber was likely intended to hint at the temptations of the dark side, which Luke is forced to confront later in the third act. However, assuming the context of the scene and its placement, it would have almost certainly disrupted the film’s narrative flow, something franchise creator George Lucas hates to compromise upon.

Return of the Jedi‘s Deleted Scene Might Have Destroyed George Lucas’ Original Trilogy

Including the deleted scene in the final cut would have presented several problems for the Return of the Jedi‘s narrative flow. Firstly, the scene would have presumably given viewers their first look at Luke, and his new green lightsaber even before he embarks on the deadly mission to save Han and Leia from Jabba the Hutt.

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Luke Skywalker
Luke Skywalker unveils his new lightsaber in Return of the Jedi

Showing Luke assembling the lightsaber would have depicted him as a know-it-all. It would have also stripped viewers of the wonder of seeing his new lightsaber directly in action as he calls out R2-D2 to launch it to him.

The deleted scene showing Luke handing over the completed lightsaber to R2-D2 would have already spoiled Luke’s clever move to escape a grim fate. At the same time, Luke’s cocky “free us or die” taunt to Jabba would also have lost meaning since viewers would have predicted his next move.

Moreover, the darker demeanor of the character in the deleted scene is completely opposite from the calmer, more composed presence of Luke, signifying his ascension to becoming a Jedi Master. Lastly, the scene also does not provide a clear motivation for Vader to reach out to Luke through the Force.

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At the same time, Vader reaching out at the same time when Luke is working on his lightsaber would have made the duo’s eventual interaction during the climax redundant since Luke would have been aware of Vader’s attempt to sway him to the dark side. Ultimately, this deleted scene was best left on the cutting floor, allowing Lucas to end the trilogy on a near-perfect note.

Return of the Jedi is streaming on Disney+.

Pratik Handore

Written by Pratik Handore

Articles Published: 459

Pratik is a writer at FandomWire, with a content writing experience of five years. Although he has a Bachelors in Hospitality, his fascination with all things pop culture led him to writing articles on a variety of topics ranging from latest streaming releases to unheard movie trivia. When not writing, you can find him reading manga, or watching classic TV shows.