They may have been cut from the final film, but you can watch them all on Disney+.
Star Wars: Return of the Jedi arrived in theaters on May 25, 1983, bringing an end to the original trilogy in memorable fashion. Marking its 40th anniversary, StarWars.com presents “Jedi at 40,” a series of articles celebrating the film that brought us Jabba’s palace, Ewoks, Luke Skywalker’s final confrontation with the Emperor and Darth Vader, and so much more.
It’s always a good time to revisit Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, especially when the film is enjoying its 40th anniversary. But while many scenes are fun to watch on repeat — from searching the shadows of Jabba’s Palace to discover new creatures to attempting to identify all the Ewoks on Endor — if you’re watching Return of the Jedi on Disney+, don’t overlook the moments that didn’t make the film’s final cut. These five sequences feature footage of the main heroes and villains of the film, lesser-known characters like Moff Jerjerrod, and extras who never made it onscreen.
Battle of Endor: The Lost Rebels
The Lost Rebels is a collection of clips showing rebel pilots, officers, and soldiers in deleted clips intended to be part of the Battle of Endor. The first two pilots shown are actors Poppy Hands and Ann Murray; Hands’ pilot did appear in the film as a character later named Sila Kott, but her voice was dubbed over by a male actor. Other lines that can be placed into the epic space battle include “It’s a heavy fire zone down there,” “I’m in range,” “I’m losing power,” and “Get clear. She’s going to blow!” as well as a Mon Calamari pilot who nails the delivery of the line “Fried Calamari tonight!”
The compilation even gives us a few lines of dialogue from rebel General Madine — who plays a small yet important part in Return of the Jedi. While we don’t see Madine during the Battle of Endor in the final film, here we get a glimpse of his ship’s command bridge. These shots, as well as several second unit shots in Jedi, were directed by George Lucas.
Even if you don’t remember Moff Jerjerrod’s name — it’s never actually uttered onscreen — if you’ve seen Return of the Jedi, you probably felt a tad bit sorry for the Imperial officer who gets very nervous around Darth Vader at the beginning of the film. Jerjorrod’s role — as the Commander of Death Star II — is significantly expanded with this collection of deleted scenes.
One scene includes Jerjerrod and two of the Emperor’s Royal Guards trying to slow Vader down on his way to see Palpatine, which results in Vader choking Jerjerrod through the Force. The next section shows an alternative sequence where the Emperor orders Jerjerrod to destroy the Endor moon if the rebels succeed in blowing up the shield generator. A later scene shows Jerjerrod and several Imperial officers following that command.
The Rebel Raid scenes extend the sequence where Han, Leia, Chewie, and rebel soldiers force their way into the Imperial shield generator building. In a delightful alternative take, after an Imperial officer calls Han and Leia “rebel scum” Solo brashly retorts “scum?” to the officer in a charming way only Han could pull off.
The very first sequence filmed for Return of the Jedi on January 11, 1982 at Elstree Studios wouldn’t be seen by audiences until years after the film released. While Jedi cuts directly from Han, Luke, Leia, and the gang escaping Jabba’s Palace on a sand skiff to a shot of the Millennium Falcon and Luke’s X-wing in space, the original idea was for the rebels to reunite in the midst of a Tatooine sandstorm.
Wearing protective goggles, Luke tells Han and Leia that he can’t come with them because “I have a promise to keep … to an old friend.” Shortly after, Han takes Luke aside and thanks him for coming after him before Luke puts a black glove on his injured hand and prepares to leave in his X-wing with R2-D2. When the sandstorm sequence was cut from the film for pacing concerns, these lines of dialogue and important character moments were shifted to the shots from space.
Vader’s Arrival and Reaching out to Luke
Another early deleted scene in the film comes right after Darth Vader suggests Moff Jerjerrod finds new ways to motivate Death Star II workers. Vader is shown in his mediation chamber — which was actually a shot pulled from The Empire Strikes Back — calling out to Luke through the Force. Meanwhile, Luke and R2-D2 are safely inside a Tatooine cave as Luke works on his new green-bladed lightsaber and hands it off to his loyal astromech. In the final edit of the film the first shots the audience sees of Tatooine are of C-3PO and R2-D2 making their way to Jabba’s Palace.
You can find these Return of the Jedi deleted scenes on Disney+ under “Extras,” where you’ll also find an original trailer for the film.