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Star Wars in Greyscale: Return of the Jedi

And in a blink of an eye, we are at the end of the first trilogy! All we have left are, *Looks at notes* The movies no one likes, the one that’s a reboot/sequel/remake and um..That one. This is going interesting. But enough of that, let’s get into Return of the Jedi!


This one is late because mostly because spring finally hit my city and then it promptly hit me in the face. For a whole weekend, my face was in pain and when it wasn’t in pain, I was loopy on allergy meds. That, mixed with having problems sleeping, made for a very exhausted me. Admittedly, I also didn’t *want* to.

Yes, for the first time in YEARS, I didn’t want to watch Star Wars. I opened the media player on my laptop and miraculously found every excuse in the world to not watch Return of the Jedi. It was Jedi, for crying out loud, not one of the dreaded prequels (Which admittedly, I’m excited about). It wasn’t until I couldn’t procrastinate any longer and a mountain of laundry awaiting me that I took the leap. So into the crevasse we go!

Illustration for article titled Star Wars in Greyscale: Return of the Jedi

So one of the first mental notes I made as I watched it was “Oh, so this is when Lucas started with that nonsense”. As we enter Jabba’s palace, we got glimpses into Lucas’, um, racial biases? Remember how people have mentioned that Lucas was inspired by his favorite childhood serials? Well, you can really see it here, from Jabba smoking on a hookah pipe while lounging and a Twi’lek belly dances girl before him to the Ewoks design (Even when you take account that they based off of Lucas himself and bears, some designs are cringy). While I’m so not defending, you can still see those influence as Lucas used these caricatures as shorthand. Admittedly, I’m not too shocked about it as this is also one of the people responsible for Short Round in Indiana Jones and Jar Jar Binks.


One surprising thing that came from this was a new appreciation of Black Panther. Strange, I know but the battle of Endor along with Lando and Luke’s battles had surprising beat similarities, like

  • The privileged soldiers getting help from the lesser equipped but fierce allies, who don’t have a dog in this fight now but who knows about the future
  • The enemy troops having the upperhand for a while only for the tide to turn quite dramatically
  • Cutting between the primitive ground battle and the Pew Pew-filled dogfight in the sky
  • Our hero having the greatest fight in his life against someone who won their last fight
  • An emotional death in the middle

And while Star Wars cutting in between these three settings, the fight on Endor feels a little off whereas Black Panther handled the different settings smoothly. I highly recommend watching and comparing the two.


And while I’m here, I wanted to talk about my thoughts on the Princess Leia slave girl outfit. Leia was put in that dress and chained up because Jabba wanted to dehumanize her, a princess and a general. In turn, Leia literally used the chain to oppress her to destroy the monster who hurt her loved ones. As a black woman, I find it to be empowering, especially with how outspoken and bold Carrie Fisher was.


So some bulletpoint thoughts of the movie!

  • I watched this with my sister, MudderofCanton/AquabrainLives and she was horrified at the new CGI. She was frequently saying “Ew” beside me and commenting on things we never noticed before this experiment.
  • Speaking on CGI, I realized that the original episodes have at least 3 separate “generation” of CGI and remastering in them. I literally had a moment where I called something the “New new CGI” and the “Old new CGI”. There’s movies plagued with terrible reshoots and on set rewrites and then there’s *waves hand* this.
  • Mark Hamill is super dreamy in this movie, guys. He was cute in a Teen Beat way in A New Hope but wow, he looks good here.
  • With that said, he has a moment where he has a Joker’s smile on his face and I have confusing feelings on that.
  • I finally understand how Han’s small tantrum when he sees Luke and Leia talking because it SO doesn’t look platonic and greyscale gives it a very Secret Rendezvous look.
  • You really do feel the chemistry Carrie, Harrison and Mark had with each other in this one. That was really something the prequels lacked.
  • I now have a theory that Lucas doesn’t care about humans but cares about robots which explains how we don’t see one of our main protagonists until 20 minutes into the movie!

Well, that’s it for the original episodes! Tune in next week for my thoughts on The Phantom Menace. Until then, keep calm and Carrie on, everyone. 

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