38 years after the Star Wars original trilogy wrapped up with Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (1983), the film — which followed Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977) and Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980) — has received a notable accolade in the United States.
The original Star Wars trilogy reached its first apex with this film, the third release in the “a galaxy far, far away” trifecta. Directed by Richard Marquand, from a story by, of course, George Lucas, Jedi launches Lucas’ original, legendary characters — [Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker] Luke [Mark Hamill], [Princess Leia] Leia [Carrie Fisher], Han Solo [Harrison Ford], C-3PO [Anthony Daniels], R2-D2 [Kenny Baker] and others — on a series of new adventures, which takes fans from the planet of Tatooine to the deep forests of Endor. Populated by intriguing new characters — including Ewoks and the gluttonous Jabba the Hutt — and filled with the series’ trademark humor, heart, thrills and chills, Jedi, though perhaps not quite up to the lofty standards of its two predecessors, still ranks as an unquestioned masterpiece of fantasy, adventure and wonder.
Other movie titles added to the National Film Registry this year include Strangers on a Train (1951), 1973’s The Long Goodbye (1973), A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) — Johnny Depp’s breakout role — The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) and Disney-Pixar’s WALL-E (2008).
Per the Library of Congress, the National Film Registry exists to ensure that certain iconic American films are chosen for “preservation” for future generations.
The Empire Strikes Back was already made part of the National Film Registry in 2010. Interestingly, A New Hope — which launched the Star Wars franchise and helped turn it into the pop culture phenomenon it is to this day — is not part of the Registry at this time.
Lucasfilm is currently continuing to explore the Return of the Jedi era with a number of projects. Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni’s hit series The Mandalorian takes place approximately five years after the Battle of Endor in the Star Wars timeline.
The series has already reintroduced original trilogy characters like a CGI de-aged version of Hamill’s Luke Skywalker and Temuera Morrison as legendary bounty hunter Boba Fett. Next up are two spinoff series set within the same era — The Book of Boba Fett is due to hit Disney+ on December 29, 2021, and Ahsoka does not yet have a release date.
More on Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi
The official description of Return of the Jedi reads:
Experience the triumph of the Force in Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi. In the epic conclusion of the saga, the Empire prepares to crush the Rebellion with a more powerful Death Star, while the Rebel fleet mounts a massive attack on the space station. Luke Skywalker confronts Darth Vader in a final climactic [lightsaber] duel before the evil Emperor.
Which Star Wars original trilogy film is your favorite?