Wednesday marked the 33rd anniversary of the release of Return of the Jedi, Episode VI in the original trilogy, which found our heroes defeating Jabba The Hutt, galavanting around the forest moon of Endor with those cute and fuzzy Ewoks and Luke Skywalker not only acknowledging that Darth Vader was indeed his father, but joining forces with him to defeat the Emperor.
It just so happens that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences — you know, the folks who give out the Oscars — found in its archive a very old, rarely seen teaser trailer for Return and subsequently released it. The clip, just 32 seconds long, is very boring; it’s nothing but still photos and title cards set to familiar sounding music. But there are two distinct factors that make it somewhat notable nonetheless.
First, the movie goes by its original title, Revenge of the Jedi, in the clip. Star Wars creator George Lucas later changed the Revenge to Return before the movie was released. And secondly, a title card found within announces that the movie will be arriving in theaters at Christmas of 1983 and not on May 25 of that year. Obviously the release date was moved up after the teaser was initially created and shown.
In an article the Academy released alongside the teaser, there’s a note that suggests it was acquired from a British theater and was attached to a double feature re-release of the first two films of the trilogy in the U.K. dated May 30, 1982. There is also an image of an early poster for the movie, emblazoned with the title Revenge of the Jedi. Clearly, the marketing of the movie was fairly far down the road when Lucas changed his mind about the title.
Pretty interesting, eh? Just when you think you know all there is to know about the Star Wars saga, along comes a little nugget like this. Check out the unearthed teaser above.