Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi brings the Original Trilogy to a spectacular conclusion as the Rebel Alliance strikes a critical blow against the Galactic Empire, destoying the Emperor and redeeming Anakin Skywalker in the process.
These events are represented by more LEGO Star Wars sets than the other Original Trilogy films and I think the coverage provided over the last seventeen years has been fairly comprehensive on the whole, although there are a number of notable exclusions from the range as well as several characters, vehicles and locations which should be revisited and are worthy of discussion in my opinion.
A year has past since the Empire defeated the rebels on Hoth and their power is still growing with the construction of a second Death Star nearing completion. Darth Vader arrives on the battle station and berates the officer tasked with overseeing the project, Moff Tiaan Jerjerrod, who appears in one of my favourite deleted scenes from across the entire Star Wars saga. I would be delighted to see a Moff Jerjerrod minifigure and one might be included in an updated version of 7264 Imperial Inspection, although not for a few years given the recent release of 75094 Imperial Shuttle Tydirium.
Meanwhile, the rebels are engaged in a mission to rescue Han Solo from Jabba's palace on Tatooine. R2-D2 and C-3PO approach the palace with instructions to deliver a message to Jabba the Hutt but are quickly put to work as the crime lord refuses to return Han to his friends, instead keeping him frozen in carbonite. The droids meet EV-9D9 beneath the palace and this memorable character appeared in 4480 Jabba's Palace from 2003 but has not been seen since.
9516 Jabba's Palace is an excellent set but there is considerable room for improvement and I think many fans would welcome a larger model of the building. A new version of EV-9D9 would be a good start but it would also be brilliant to see an expanded throne room which might include some new aliens from Jabba's entourage. I am not sure whether Sy Snootles could be adequately represented in minifigure form but it would certainly be interesting to find out!
Leia later arrives at the palace in the guise of Boushh, an Ubese bounty hunter. She drags Chewbacca into the throne room and insists that Jabba pay a bounty for the Wookiee, finally reaching an argreement with the crime lord after some nervous negotiations. Leia returns later and frees Han from Carbonite but they are accosted as they attempt to escape. Han is thrown into a cell while Leia is chained to Jabba's dais as the newest addition to his entourage.
Luke is next to enter the palace and he attempts to persuade Jabba to free Han, Leia, Chewbacca and the droids using a Jedi mind trick, but to no avail. He is instead dropped through a trapdoor into the Rancor pit where Luke is lucky to avoid being eaten, only surviving by dropping a heavy gate onto the neck of the monstrous creature. This famous scene was recreated in 75005 Rancor Pit which fits beneath 9516 Jabba's Palace and includes a fantastic Rancor figure. Few improvements could be made to the pit but it would be nice to see the Rancor included again in a larger model of the palace.
Jabba is infuriated by the demise of the Rancor and immediately sentences the rebel prisoners to death, choosing to throw them into the nearby Sarlacc where they will be slowly digested over a millennium. This deadly creature resides in the Great Pit of Carkoon and appeared most recently in 9496 Desert Skiff. It is rumoured that a new model of the Bantha-II Cargo Skiff will be released in January but I am not convinced that this is necessary as it will be difficult to improve upon the excellent set from 2012.
Most of Jabba's allies travel across the Dune Sea to watch the execution take place and the crime lord himself spectates from his luxurious sail barge. Like Jabba's palace, the sail barge has been seen in two LEGO sets: 6210 and 75020. Neither model is perfect but each one is worthy of merit in my opinion. The design from 2006 looks great from the exterior but lacks detail inside while the more recent offering uses the interior space more effectively but certain areas of the hull are not properly finished. A combination of the two sets would be almost perfect and I hope the vehicle will see a return at some point in the future, although not for a while as 75020 Jabba's Sail Barge was only retired last year.
The Khetanna is one of a handful of vehicles from across the entire saga which is the right size to be constructed at true minifigure scale and released as an Ultimate Collector's Series set. I am not sure whether the popularity of the craft would warrant such a large model but it is certainly something that I would buy if it were available, particularly if a few lesser known characters such as Umpass-stay, Tessek and Saelt-Marae were included.
Luke, Han and Chewbacca are readied for execution on a cargo skiff while Leia, R2-D2 and C-3PO watch on. Lando Calrissian also observes, having infiltrated Jabba's gang disguised as a guard. Luke is ushered to the edge of a platform, ready to fall into the Sarlacc's maw, but surprises his captors as he leaps into the air and catches his lightsaber which has been launched from a hidden compartment inside Artoo. He makes short work of the guards on the skiff but Boba Fett, who has been spectating from the sail barge, proves more of a challenge. He is able to briefly entrap Luke but his jetpack is activated in the chaos, launching the bounty hunter into the Sarlacc.
Meanwhile, Leia destroys the controls for the lights inside the sail barge and throttles Jabba with her chain. His guests ignore his cries as they try to escape but many encounter Luke and are killed. The droids leap off the side of the barge as Luke and Leia activate the deck gun before swinging to safety, leaving the Khetanna to explode. The entire group depart Tatooine for the rebel fleet near Sullust but Luke and R2-D2 take a different route, instead returning to Dagobah and Yoda.
Luke arrives to find Yoda ill. The Jedi Master assures Luke that his training has been satisfactorily completed and reluctantly confirms that Darth Vader is his father. Yoda also states that Luke must confront Vader and the Emperor before dying and becoming one with the Force as Obi-Wan did. Luke departs in his X-wing but is met by Obi-Wan's ghost as he leaves. Obi-Wan also informs him that he has a twin sister and Luke immediately senses that he is referring to Leia. I think a Dagobah set is long overdue as it has only previously appeared at minifigure scale in 4502 X-wing Fighter but I would favour a model based on Episode V, despite the lure of a ghostly Obi-Wan Kenobi minifigure.
The rebel fleet has already assembled by the time Luke arrives. Bothan spies have informed the Rebel Alliance that the second Death Star is nearing completion and that the Emperor is personally overseeing the final stages of its construction, providing a perfect opportunity for the rebels to attack. The incomplete state of the battle station leaves it relatively vulnerable but it is still protected by a formidable energy shield which is projected from a moon of the planet Endor and a strike team will need to deactivate this shield if they are to have any chance of destroying the Death Star.
The planning room appears in 7754 Home One Mon Calamari Star Cruiser and I think this formed the best part of the set. It is a shame that the scene has not appeared in a set since as I think a much smaller model could do the location justice while also providing a vessel for a range of potentially appealing minifigures. Updated versions of the rebel leaders could prove very popular, particularly given that Mon Mothma will soon be thrust back into the limelight as she appears in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
The task of deactivating the shield falls to Han. He and a small team of rebel commandos land on the forest moon, using a stolen Imperial Shuttle to bypass the Imperial blockade, apparently undetected. Luke accompanies the team but quickly realises that his presence endangers the mission as Darth Vader is able to sense him using the Force. The Emperor learns of Luke's arrival but assures Vader that his son will soon join them on the Dark Side.
I think 10212 Imperial Shuttle is one of the best Star Wars sets ever released and 75094 Imperial Shuttle Tydirium provides a thoroughly impressive alternative to the larger model. The popularity of the vehicle will surely mean that a new set will be released at some point in the future but it might be difficult to better previous iterations and I would rather see an upgraded model of another class of shuttle.
Imperial Scout Troopers guard the shield generator on Endor but they are defeated after a dangerous speeder bike chase through the forest, represented in 1999 by 7128 Speeder Bikes. This set includes Luke Skywalker in his Endor garb but he has not appeared since, an issue which I hope will soon be resolved. Leia is knocked off her speeder during the pursuit and the other rebels are ensnared in a net while searching for her. This is revealed to be the work of Ewoks, diminutive creatures which inhabit the forest and hunt using cunning traps and ambush. C-3PO emerges from the undergrowth and his golden plating stuns the Ewoks, who proclaim him a god. They take the other rebels prisoner to be eaten at a feast in C-3PO's honour.
10236 Ewok Village includes this scene as well as several others which take place on the forest moon. C-3PO asks the Ewoks to free his friends but they refuse so Luke uses the Force to levitate C-3PO and the Ewoks quickly relent. Leia has also found her way to the village with the help of an Ewok named Wicket and the reunited group plan their next move against the Empire.
While C-3PO entertains the Ewoks with tales of their adventures, Luke resolves to seek out Darth Vader. Leia begs him to flee instead but he refuses, insisting that he can draw Vader back to the Light Side of the Force and revealing that they are siblings. He surrenders to Imperial personnel and is brought before Darth Vader. The Sith Lord appears sympathetic towards Luke for a moment but boards an Imperial Shuttle with his son to take him before the Emperor. This scene was represented by 7201 Final Duel II, although Darth Vader was only available in 7200 Final Duel I. I like the architecture of the enormous landing pad in which this discussion takes place but it would not be appropriate for an official set due to its extraordinary size and relative obscurity.
Luke is defiant before the Emperor but is shocked to hear that the Empire is aware of the impending attack and that his friends will soon be caught in a trap. Luke maintains his composure initially but launches into a frenzied attack as the Emperor predicts the destruction of the Rebel Alliance, only for his lightsaber to be blocked by Vader. This delights the Emperor and a duel ensues while its architect watches from his throne.
The duel was recently represented in 75093 Death Star Final Duel but it also appears in 10188 Death Star as well as the upcoming 75159 Death Star. The former is an excellent set but this would have been a perfect opportunity to include a Moff Jerjerrod minifigure as he stands outside the Emperor's throne room with a pair of Royal Guards and refuses Darth Vader entry in a deleted scene.
While Luke duels Vader on board the Death Star, the remaining rebels join forces with the Ewoks and enter the shield bunker with ease. They begin setting explosive charges but are captured by Imperial troops. The forces massed outside the bunker appear unassailable but the sudden arrival of hundreds of Ewoks overwhelms the garrison and the rebels are able to resume their work as they try to enter the shield generator station once more.
8038 The Battle of Endor is among my favourite LEGO Star Wars sets but I think a larger model of the shield bunker would prove popular and the original set was retired several years ago. Perhaps the AT-ST could be removed given the imminent release of 75153 AT-ST Walker, thereby allowing a greater number of pieces to be devoted to the bunker itself.
The rebel fleet jumps into hyperspace and arrives at Endor to find the energy shield still operational. They break off the attack just in time but are caught between the superlaser of the Death Star II and a fleet of Star Destroyers so are forced to engage in a desperate battle. Lando Calrissian pilots the Millennium Falcon alongside Nien Numb and leads waves of rebel fighters against the Imperial forces.
On the surface of the forest moon the battle is won and the shield bunker is destroyed. Admiral Ackbar realises immediately and a group of fighters, led by the Millennium Falcon, flies into the exposed superstructure of the Death Star II while the main fleet continues to occupy the Star Destroyers. The fleet consists of several Mon Calamari Cruisers, CR90 Corvettes GR-75 Medium Transports and Nebulon-B Frigates. Only the Corellian Corvette has been seen in a LEGO set and it would be interesting to see any of the others but I think the Nebulon-B Frigate would be particularly appealing as this could feature scenes from The Empire Strikes Back as well as Return of the Jedi.
On board the Death Star the duel between Luke and Darth Vader continues, with Luke eventually getting the upper hand as he swipes angrily at his father and cuts his hand off. The Emperor's cackling breaks Luke's intense focus and he once again refuses to join the Dark Side. This angers the Emperor and he hurls Force lightning at the Jedi while Vader looks on, torn between his loyalty to the Empire and his love for his son. He finally picks up the Emperor and throws him down the reactor shaft, just as the rebel fighters arrive at the main reactor and destroy it. They are pursued by TIE Interceptors which have not appeared since 6206 TIE Interceptor was released in 2006. That set looks rather dated today and I would be glad to see an updated model. This would provide yet another opportunity to include Moff Jerjerrod as Imperial Officers have often appeared in recent TIE Fighter sets.
Luke realises that his father has been mortally wounded and removes his helmet to reveal the scarred face of Anakin Skywalker. Luke speaks with his dying father before escaping on board an Imperial Shuttle. The Millennium Falcon also escapes the exploding Death Star just in time, rejoining the main fleet along with the surviving fighters.
News of the Galactic Empire's defeat spreads quickly across the galaxy and enormous celebrations are held. Meanwhile, the rebels celebrate their victory alongside the Ewoks on the forest moon of Endor and our heroes are reunited. Luke steps aside for a moment and is met by the spirit figures of Yoda, Obi-Wan and a redeemed Anakin Skywalker. These would make great promotional minifigures but it is unclear whether the kind of plastic used for translucent colours would be appropriate for a minifigure and we have yet to see an entirely translucent figure as a result. Perhaps a ghostly Anakin Skywalker, played by Sebastian Shaw, would make a good May the Fourth polybag.
All three continue to watch as the celebrations proceed, safe in the knowledge that the Empire and the Dark Side have been defeated.
As usual I am going to conclude by pitching set descriptions for three sets which I think would adequately complete the Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi range. I have used some artistic license where necessary to create what I believe to be plausible sets and tried to spread them across various price points.
75221 TIE Interceptor - £39.99, $39.99, €49.99 - TIE Fighter Pilot, Moff Jerjerrod, Death Star Trooper.
- Hunt down the rebels with the TIE Interceptor!
- Open the cockpit and seat the pilot at the controls.
- Fire the spring-loaded shooters.
- Includes TIE Interceptor and three minifigures!
75222 Endor Shield Bunker - £89.99, $99.99, €99.99 - Han Solo, Princess Leia, Rebel Commando, Wicket, Widdle, Lieutenant Renz, Stormtrooper (x2).
- Fight the Empire on the forest moon of Endor!
- Turn the gear to open the sliding blast doors.
- Remove the roof to reveal the detailed control room and shield generator.
- Place the charges and press the buttons on top to watch the bunker explode.
- Launch rocks with the catapult and fly the Ewok glider over the battlefield.
- Combine with 75153 AT-ST Walker to expand the battle!
- Includes shield bunker, Ewok glider, catapult and eight minifigures!
75223 Nebulon-B Frigate - £109.99, $119.99, €119.99 - Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, 2-1B Medical Droid, Mon Mothma, Crix Madine, Nien Nunb, Rebel Fleet Trooper (x2).
- Expand the rebel fleet and challenge the might of the Empire!
- Remove the roof to access the bridge and seat two minifigures inside.
- Reveal the detailed medical bay by removing the roof panels.
- Place minifigures inside the Bacta tank and on the examination table.
- Explore the engine room at the back of the vessel.
- Fire the spring-loaded shooters.
- Place the Nebulon-B Frigate on a stand for display.
- Recreate scenes from Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi!
- Includes Nebulon-B Frigate, mini Millennium Falcon and eight minifigures!
Let me know whether you agree or disagree with my suggestions in the comments below and post your own ideas.
Also, if you have not taken a look the seven previous instalments then you can do so by following these links:
- What's Missing? The Phantom Menace
- What's Missing? Attack of the Clones
- What's Missing? Star Wars: The Clone Wars
- What's Missing? Revenge of the Sith
- What's Missing? Star Wars Rebels
- What's Missing? A New Hope
- What's Missing? The Empire Strikes Back
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the subject of the final 'What's Missing?' article and it will be published later this month.