Old Friends

40 Years Ago, Star Wars Dropped Its Most Fun Movie Ever. Now It's Back In Theaters

But not for long. Get tickets ASAP

American actress Carrie Fisher on the set of Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi directed by ...
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It’s not a trap! On May 25, 1983, Return of the Jedi completed the story of Star Wars, and an entire generation was never the same. Now, four decades later, the upbeat, happy-ending blockbuster has swung back into movie theaters for a very limited run, and, unsurprisingly, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Lando Calrissian, and Chewbacca are cleaning up. Although the 40th-anniversary theatrical re-release of Return of the Jedi was announced with little fanfare, and released on only 475 screens total, by May 1, 2023, the classic film slipped into the top 5 for overall box office revenue in the U.S.

This means that Return of the Jedi is beating Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves as well as Air, and is right behind John Wick: Chapter 4. That said, the renaissance of the Ewoks and everyone’s favorite green lightsaber won’t last for long. This theatrical re-release of Return of the Jedi ends very, very soon.

Return of the Jedi 40th re-release dates

The cast of Return of the Jedi.

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According to several sources, including StarWars.com and Fandango, despite the success of the re-release of Return of the Jedi, these limited screenings will end on May 4, 2023. But, because the final screenings are on “May the Fourth,” AKA Star Wars Day, it’s possible that Return of the Jedi could see another box office surge before it leaves theaters.

Which version of Return of the Jedi is this?

Anakin Skywalker repping for all the aging millennial dads out there.


Interestingly, the theatrical version of Return of the Jedi playing for this anniversary is a cut of the film that has never been in theaters before. While most Star Wars diehards would assume that Lucasfilm has simply re-released the 1997 “Special Edition” of the film, they would be partly wrong. Although this re-release includes many of the changes made to the film for its 1997 re-release, this version also includes the larger changes to the film’s ending, specifically the inclusion of Hayden Christensen as the ghost of Anakin Skywalker into the final moments of the movie. This alteration first appeared in 2004 when the Star Wars Trilogy first hit DVD.

In other words, this re-release is the first time Return of the Jedi has been in theaters on a large scale with Hayden Christensen retroactively added. If you love Hayden Christensen the way we do, this isn’t a problem.

Return of the Jedi 40th movie tickets

The ultimate lightsaber battle.

Sunset Boulevard/Corbis Historical/Getty Images

Tickets for Return of the Jedi are on sale now and will be through May 4, 2023. Your best bet for finding a theater near you is probably Fandango. But, if you are planning on taking the kids to what is almost certainly the most family-friendly Star Wars movie, best get tickets soon! The chances of Return of the Jedi tickets selling out before May 4, seem high. We’re not sure, but we feel a big tremor in the force.

Here’s Fatherly’s guide to watching Star Wars movies with kids for the first time.