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Star Wars 6: Return of the Jedi
With serial number

1983       Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher

RETURN OF THE JEDI is the first of George Lucas's STAR WARS films featuring key location sequences which were photographed in the United States. Yunia, Arizona, and Crescent City, California two strikingly different sites were chosen to represent the desert planet Tatooine and the forested moon Endor. Both locations are off the track customarily beaten by major studio productions and they both provided exactly what the filmmakers were looking for: unearthly natural scenery that was relatively accessible and relatively sparsely populated.

Following seventy-eight days of filming inside the EMI- Elstree Studios located in the London suburbs, the cast and crew of RETURN OF THE JEDI moved to the Buttercup Valley, near Yuma, Arizona. Located near the California border on the Colorado River, Yuma is a three-hundred year old town that boasts three hundred sunny days per year and is home for seventy-five thousand people. Although tourist brochures describe Yuma and the Buttercup Valley as "Arizona's Best Kept Secret," during the weekends and holidays it becomes the dune buggy capital of the world, sometimes

drawing up to fifteen thousand enthusiasts. The dunes themselves are among the largest and most beautiful in the world.

British production designer Norman Reynolds, a double Oscar winner for STAR WARS and RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, was given a million dollar budget to clear the valley of vegetation and construct a four acre stockade to house his 30,000 square foot platform which is topped by a sixty foot, fully-rigged, anti-gravity Sail Barge. The true significance of this set will remain a closely kept secret until RETURN OF THE JEDI opens on May 25, 1983.

The JEDI crew was in the area for six months, employing more than fifty local residents and pumping more than two million dollars into the local economy. Associate to the Producer Louis Friedman was relieved to discover that, almost without exception, "I could find anything we needed locally. I just had to look a bit longer and harder." Assistant art director Chris Campbell concurs: "The merchants here really helped us a lot. They realized that with an operation of this size, when we ordered a product, we needed it all - not just a gallon or two." Some of the things they needed were two million gallons of water (drawn from the All American Canal) to continually dampen down and grade the only possible access road and sixteen thousand pounds of nails to keep the massive Sail Barge structure steady. Click here for more



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Star Wars 6: Return of the Jedi

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