Star Wars: The Return of the Jedi (1983)- James Kahn

Following quickly on the heels of the novelisation of The Empire Strikes Back, Brian Daley delivered us one more Han Solo story, Han Solo and the Lost Legacy, which I read last year on vacation. Then, except for the ongoing Marvel comics series, it was all quiet on the Star Wars front until 1983, when the third film of the Original Trilogy debuted.

The third tale in the trilogy has fewer changes from the screenplay, almost all the action beats are the same, but there are some changes in dialogue, as well as some pieces in the narrative itself that are different.

After rescuing his friend, Han Solo, from the clutches of the vile gangster Jabba the Hutt, Luke Skywalker, now a Jedi, lends his abilities to the rebels on a final assault against the Empire, and a last confrontation with his father, the Sith Lord, Darth Vader.

Rapidly paced, the story moves very quickly, and knowing the material as well as I do, it was very easy to pick up the changes in dialogue and story. The one that interested me the most was the statement that Anakin Skywalker did not now that someone, it is not mentioned whether it is wife, or just a lover, was pregnant.

He had no idea.

But sometime after, he learned that he had a son. The fact that there were twins was hidden from him, just as it was in the film, so one wonders what the original story for the romance and pregnancy was going to be before it developed into the arc shown in The Prequel Trilogy.

There are lots of subtle changes in dialogue, and you can see where things were cut to move things faster, but one thing I found interesting was that in the final battle, Moff Jerjerrod, aboard the Death Star, had orders from the Emperor that if the defensive shield collapsed, he was supposed to destroy the forest moon of Endor. This added a little extra tension as Lando led the fighter assault on the Death Star.

Rereading the novel threw me right back to my youth, which was the last time I read it. I remember reading it on a camping trip, and once again, learning names of creatures and characters, something that was once again augmented by the continual collection of Topps trading cards – which had an image from one of the moments that was cut from the film, unless I’m mis-remembering, and I’ll have to dig out my set.

In the book, during his fight with the rancor, Luke leaps up and grabs the grating, before a pair of jawas rush out and smash his hands, forcing him to drop back down to face the monster. I have a strong recollection of seeing this image on a trading card, but didn’t even recall it until I came across the passage in the book.

And just like that the Original Trilogy came to its conclusion, the adventures my action figures has been on would continue, but would have to take these events into account.

There would be more adventures to come, but for now, it seemed to me, that peace reigned through the galaxy far, far away. Those stories are coming, but until then, may the Force be with you.

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