TimeLine : The Making of Return of the JediStar Wars: 1944-1974 . 1975 . 1976 . 1977
The Empire Strikes Back: 1978 . 1979 . 1980
Return of the Jedi: 1981 . 1982 . 1983
- George Lucas approaches David Lynch to direct the next Star Wars film. Lynch, who had just received an Academy Award nomination for The Elephant Man declined the offer in favor of directing the film Dune.
- George Lucas adopts his daughter Mary.
February 20, 1981
- George Lucas creates his first handwritten draft of Revenge of the Jedi.
February 24, 1981
- George Lucas creates a second rough draft of Revenge of the Jedi.
March 9, 1981
- NPR begins a 13 part radio dramatization of Star Wars featuring Mark Hamill and Anthony Daniels.
June 9, 1981
- Actor Natalie Portman is born.
June 12, 1981
- George Lucas completes a revised rough draft of Return of the Jedi. Mon Mothma is introduced in this draft.
- Raiders of the Lost Ark is released in theaters.
July 13 - July 17, 1981
- George Lucas, Howard Kazanjian, Lawrence Kasdan and Richard Marquand meet in San Francisco to discuss the story of Revenge of the Jedi.
Kasdan was pushing for major characters to be killed - including, at one point, Luke Skywalker himself. The team also wrestled with the issue of Ben Kenobi's declaration in the first film that Darth Vader had killed father Skywalker and how to explain the films new revelations.
Richard Marquand is given the chance to choose a creature from the newly created designs that would fill the role of Admiral Ackbar. Marquand chose the orange Calamari creature designed by Nilo Rodis-Jamero.
September 21, 1981
- Lawrence Kasdan completes a second draft of Revenge of the Jedi.
- Kenner releases the fourth set of Star Wars action figures. This set included AT-AT Driver, Han Solo Bespine Outfit, Dengar, Ugnaught, Rebel Commander, 2-1B, Lobot, Yoda, Princess Leia Hoth Outfit and Imperial Commander.
November 1, 1981
- Lawrence Kasdan completes a revised version of his second draft of the film, now titled Return of the Jedi.
November 4, 1981
- An updated "Creature List" is created for Revenge of the Jedi. The list is as follows: 1 - Ree Yees, 2 - Mon Calamari and Ackbar, 3 - Tooth Face, 4 - "The Mole" / Elom, 6 - Squid Head, 7 - Ishi Tib, 9 - Nien Nunb, 10 - Wol Cabasshite, 14 - Gamorrean Guard, 17 - Bubo, 21 - Max Rebo, 24 - Sic Six, 28 - Sy Snootles, 29 - Bib Fortuna, 30 - Weequay, 31 - Yak Face, 34 - Droopy, 35 - Prune Face, 36 - Amanaman, 37 - Ephant Mon, 37 - Salacious, 38 - Cane Adiss, 39 - Rock Wart, 40 - Hoover, 41 - Toadstool Terror, 42 - Yuzzum, 43 - Oola, 45 - Barada, 46 - Nikto, 48 - Pote Snitkin, 49 - Wooof, and 55 - Wiebba Wiebba.
November 11, 1981
- Lawrence Kasdan makes more revisions to his second draft of Return of the Jedi.
December 1, 1981
- Lawrence Kasdan and George Lucas create a third draft of Return of the Jedi.
- Casting for Revenge of the Jedi takes place.
Alan Rickman auditions for the part of Moff Jerjerrod. Ben Kingsley, known for playing Gandhi in the 1982 film of the same name, auditions for Emperor Palpatine.
December 15, 1981
- At least some casting takes place including the role of Mon Mothma, which was eventually given to Caroline Blakiston.
December 19, 1981
- Lawrence Kasdan makes some revisions to the third draft of Return of the Jedi in which he adds the Sandstorm scene that was cut from the film, a longer segment on Dagobah and Lando's death.