On November 10, 37 days before the theatrical release of Disney/Lucasfilm’s highly anticipated “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Marvel Comics published “Star Wars – Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.” This 112-page hardcover is the third and final volume of its remastered reissues of Marvel’s original adaptations of Lucasfilm’s Classic “Star Wars” Trilogy, which includes “Star Wars – Episode IV: A New Hope” and “Star Wars – Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.”
Written by Archie Goodwin and featuring illustrations by Colombian-born Marvel artists Al Williamson and Carlos Garzon, “Star Wars – Episode VI: Return of the Jedi” is based on the story by George Lucas and an early draft of the screenplay by Lucas and Lawrence Kasdan (“Raiders of the Lost Ark”). Set several months after the events of “The Empire Strikes Back,” the third act of the “Star Wars” trilogy pits the heroes of the Rebel Alliance against the powerful forces of Emperor Palpatine’s Galactic Empire.
“Luke Skywalker faces his destiny, remastered for the modern age! These are grim times for the Rebel Alliance. Han Solo is in the hands of the vile Jabba the Hutt. The Jedi Master Yoda grows weak. Emperor Palpatine is determined to turn Luke to the dark side. And Darth Vader nears completion of a new dreaded Death Star even more powerful than the first. To avert certain doom, the Rebels head to the forest moon of Endor – but will the native Ewoks be friends or foes? Before the Battle of Endor begins, Princess Leia faces dramatic revelations. And when Luke surrenders to Vader, the fate of the galaxy may rest on the ultimate father/son confrontation! It’s Return, remastered – read it!” – Back cover blurb.
The remastered edition of “Return of the Jedi” contains all four issues of Marvel Comics’ 1983 series. These issues are:
- “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi 1: In the Hands of Jabba the Hutt”
- “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi 2: The Emperor Commands”
- “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi 3: Mission to Endor”
- “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi 4: The Final Duel”
In addition, “Star Wars – Episode VI: Return of the Jedi” features an introduction by actor Warwick Davis, who was 12 years old when he was cast as Wickett, the Ewok who befriends Princess Leia when she’s stranded in a forest on the Sanctuary Moon of Endor during a skirmish with Imperial Stormtroopers.
In his foreword, Davis writes movingly about his love for comics and “Star Wars.” He explains that comics “allowed me to be a super hero, a villain or a monster. These small, unassuming publications were my gateway to adventure through my imagination, beyond the restrictions of my physicality and day-to-day life. During this time, video game systems did not exist in the form they do today and movies were not quite as exciting. However, one day in 1977, all that changed when ‘Star Wars’ was released onto an unsuspecting audience. At the age of 7, my previous encounters with cinema had been ‘Bambi’ and ‘Pete’s Dragon,’ but ‘Star Wars’ promised so much more.”
The rest of “Star Wars – Episode VI: Return of the Jedi” is divided into four chapters – one for each separate issue of the original 1983 Marvel Comics adaptation of the Classic Trilogy’s concluding Episode. Between these chapters, editors Michael Higgins and Jo Duffy continue their tradition of adding such extras as pin up galleries, samples of artwork from other versions of the comics adaptation (including the Hildenbrandt Brothers’ cover art for Dark Horse Comics’ 1997 Special Edition reissue), and even promotional ads from the 1983 issues.
The artwork and script by Williamson, Garzon, and Goodwin are essentially unchanged from the 1983 original editions or their various reissues. But like in the previous books of the 2015 remastered series, the original coloring by Christie Scheele and Bob Sharen has been replaced by Chris Sotomayor’s crew at SotoColor to appeal to 21st Century readers.
Also, as in the preceding volumes, “Return of the Jedi” comes with a free digital copy offer. Each copy of the book includes a code that lets Android and Apple iOS users download digital versions to smartphones, tablets, or personal computers. The codes are good till November 11, 2017, and the book provides readers with instructions on how to redeem them.
Unlike the remastered volumes for “Star Wars” and “The Empire Strikes Back,” “Return of the Jedi” doesn’t have any editor’s behind-the-scenes essay by the series’ chief writer, Archie Goodwin. This may disappoint some die-hard comics fans who enjoy reading how “Jedi” was adapted from an early draft of the Lucas-Kasdan screenplay. Perhaps Marvel Comics discontinued this feature for the four-issue series back in 1983 because of time constraints, or maybe editors Higgins and Duffy didn’t feel it was necessary to include an essay for this volume.
The front cover art by Adi Granov features Wicket, Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker and Han Solo in the foreground and Jabba the Hutt, Darth Vader, Palpatine and Boba Fett in the background. The back cover art by Bill Sienkiewicz features Luke, R2-D2, C-3PO and Chewbacca facing off against various Imperial troops, including Imperial Royal Guards and speeder bike scouts.
While far from perfect, the remastered edition of Marvel’s “Star Wars – Episode VI: Return of the Jedi” comic adaptation makes a worthy addition to any fan’s “Star Wars” library.
- Age Range: 9 and up
- Grade Level: 4 and up
- Series: Star Wars
- Hardcover: 112 pages
- Publisher: Marvel (November 10, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0785193693
- ISBN-13: 978-0785193692