It's time to give Richard Marquand his dues for directing Return of the Jedi

Nov 10, 2016
princess leia jabba bikini

Richard Marquand has more of an influence on Jedi than many people think he did

It's time to give Richard Marquand his dues for directing Return of the Jedi.

There's been a fair bit of scuttlebutt about the direction of ROTJ.

The worst of it has been that Marquand was out of his depth, his second unit did more directing that a second unit should and that George Lucas had to carry his hand the whole way through the production of one of the great movies.

And there may be some small elements of truth to those claims however the book The Making of Star Wars: The Return of the Jedi by J.W. Rinzler sheds some light on the development key plot points in the movie.  While Lawrence Kasdan was the script writer, Marquand came up with some key ideas that made it into the movie's final script.

Here's the exchange as taken from the Official Star Wars blog which covers the conversation held during a production meeting for the movie where three key people are discussing the rescue of Han Solo from the carbonite block held at Jabba's Palace:

MARQUAND: Can I suggest that Lando is actually in Jabba’s in disguise, that he has infiltrated?

KASDAN: The real problem is to figure out a plan; if you figure out a plan you can stick those people in anywhere you want.

MARQUAND: What if the next arrival is Chewie in chains, with a bounty hunter, which is in fact Leia dressed up. Luke’s not there yet.

LUCAS: I could go with that.

KASDAN: Then it’s a great Shakespearean court scene: girl dressed up as a boy. To work back from the skiff, I was wondering if Artoo, when Luke says these droids are my gift to you, instead of putting Artoo to work as a janitor, which is not doing that much good for us, what if Bib says, “We need a translator and Artoo is perfect for our barge where we lost our Artoo unit,” which is part of Luke’s plan.

KASDAN: How do you feel about [Leia] being the one that causes Jabba’s death?

LUCAS: That I could go for. She could strangle him.

MARQUAND: With the chain.


KASDAN: Why don’t the guards just shoot Luke? How is he fighting them?

LUCAS: Well part of it would be fun if he could fight them with his lazer sword, except I don’t know how he could get his sword in the middle of all this.

KASDAN: But that could be part of his plan — what if Artoo had it secluded in his —

LUCAS: That would be a good idea.

MARQUAND: That is brilliant. I love it.

KASDAN: Luke’s plan gets better and better, because Artoo is on the deck and he goes over to this little cubbyhole and ejects the lazer sword.


This shows clearly Marquand had some good ideas, ideas which became key moments in the Star Wars canon - Leia strangling Jabba is one of the greatest moments!

Extra special fact: It was Marquand that decided that Admiral Ackbar would be the orange alien we know and love. He selected him from some concept art that was lying around!

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