The Original Ending for Return of the Jedi Did Not Include an Ewok Party

Far be it from me to argue with the business acumen of George Lucas -- after all, the filmmaker and current scourge of the geek universe was smart enough to include merchandising rights in his original deal for Star Wars -- but did he really ruin what would have been a killer ending to Return of the Jedi because of toy sales?

Producer Gary Kurtz -- who parted ways with Lucas before Return of the Jedi because of his disdain for the "second Death Star" conceit -- has revealed that the original ending for the original trilogy was much more bleak than you could have imagined. Kurtz spoke with the LA Times:

"We had an outline and George changed everything in it," Kurtz said. "Instead of bittersweet and poignant he wanted a euphoric ending with everybody happy. The original idea was that they would recover [the kidnapped] Han Solo in the early part of the story and that he would then die in the middle part of the film in a raid on an Imperial base. George then decided he didn't want any of the principals killed. By that time there were really big toy sales and that was a reason."

The discussed ending of the film that Kurtz favored presented the rebel forces in tatters, Leia grappling with her new duties as queen and Luke walking off alone "like Clint Eastwood in the spaghetti westerns," as Kurtz put it.

Other than the fact that under no circumstances could anyone ever compare the acting stylings of Mark Hamill to Clint Eastwood's "Man with No Name," this sounds positively awesome. So naturally it didn't happen. But hey, those Ewoks were pretty cute. Don't act like you didn't have an Ewok doll when you were growing up. Just me?

· Did 'Star Wars' Become a Toy Story? Producer Gary Kurtz Looks Back [LAT/Hero Complex]


  • matt says:

    I like to end the movie with the Luke at the Darth Vader funeral pyre scene. (I just stop it right at the pan upwards to the fireworks). It's a nice way to end the movie; it's not too downbeat but it's not sickly sweet either.

  • S.T. VanAirsdale says:

    Don’t act like you didn’t have an Ewok doll when you were growing up. Just me?
    Yup, just you.

  • Christopher Rosen says:


  • Dimo says:

    Yub Yub! I remember what a big deal it was when they finally released Ewok action figures. I must admit that my not fully formed 10 year old mind was very excited. Kids are stupid.

  • The Winchester says:

    I still have the Ewok village playset.
    But that was made of plastic, and not nearly as fluffy.

  • The Winchester says:

    Now that I think about it, the playset made from a David Lynch version of the above tale would be just about the greatest (and most disturbing) playset ever constructed.

  • pinkyt says:

    Probably an unpopular opinion, but I am glad they didn't go with a downbeat ending. After "The Empire Strikes Back", I can't imagine what the implications of NOT rebounding with a happy ending would have been for a generation of children's psyches (we were screwed up enough to begin with). I do, agree, however, that "Return of the Jedi" was way to Ewok-centric.

  • Not the only one! I had a stuffed Wicket I adored! Sadly, he was sexually assaulted during my dog's puberty and had to go to the tree village in the sky (the trash can).

  • anonymous says:

    I agree Pinky T. There was definately too much of the Ewoks but I'm fine with the happy ending .

  • Mr. Dave says:

    Wow, that would be an interesting movie. Victory but with losses. And I guess in that version there still would have been Wookies fighting (instead of Ewoks) so I suppose Chewbacca might have returned to his people, or flown off with Lando in the Falcon.

  • Matt Glass says:

    Capitalism Trumps all.

  • JAVIER says:

    I can almost imagine the death scene of Han Solo.
    Han Solo:(on his dying last breath) "I love you too...."
    Princess Lea:(All teary eyed and choked up) "I know. (Sigh) I know...

  • Robert C says:

    I think a bittersweet ending would have made it the best Star Wars ever. They win - at a cost.

  • Liz says:

    I'd hear rumors of this alternate ending before, and I wondered: were they completely deranged? KIlling Han off, after the audience waited 3 freakin' years to see him rescued?? That is not just depressing, it's horrendously bad storytelling -- not to mention it would have traumatized the little kids who made up most of the Star Wars fan following.
    Lucas has been wrong about some things but he was dead right on this one. Star Wars was comedy, not tragedy; it required a happy ending. Anyway, we eventually got a miserable unhappy ending with Revenge of the Sith.

  • movies says:

    Geeze, I cant stand that song. My little brother had to sing that at some school event. So for weeks he was singing that stupid song and decades later, it still stuck in my head.

  • rk says:

    Just wait until Ron D Moore re-makes it twenty years from now. He will make sure we see Darth torture Lea in the first one and we will see every disgusting thing Jabba the hut did to Lea when she was captured.
    Just remember the Darker the Better.

  • Joanna says:

    KILL HAN SOLO!??!!! That's crazy!!! So happy George Lucas changed his mind. Would have hated the depressing ending. The Ewok song is pretty catchy too. (the older version and the newer version although I miss the old one). YUB YUB!

  • Open your eyes and face reality. The best way to you to finance your plan for global domination has already been answered. If you have to ask the question, apparently you're not smart enough to realize what's really in front of you.

  • Jason Goemaat says:

    A dead Han Solo 1/2 way through the movie "sounds positively awesome"? Depressing endings aren't Star Wars.

    I hate the new ending music (is that a pan flute?), I thought the original one with vocals was great. Enough complaints have been made about changing to the young Anakin ghost (why not a young Yoda or Obi-wan), but I hate that they added the views from other planets celebrating. Not only was it an obvious CGI test for the prequels, but it took away from the personal feeling of the original ending. I mean we followed these characters through three movies, why show a planet celebrating that we've never seen once? Why show cloud city when none of the characters have probably even visited in years and no one is left what was ever mentioned by name?