Keanu Reeves Reveals He Was Disappointed By ‘Return Of The Jedi’
Do You Agree With His Take?
Say it ain't so, Keanu! Actor Keanu Reeves (Bill & Ted Excellent Adventures, John Wick, The Matrix trilogy) revealed during an interview with The Guardian that he felt "let down" by Return of the Jedi when he first saw the final installment of the original Star Wars trilogy at age 19. The film continued the storyline established in A New Hope and carried through in The Empire Strikes Back, which many fans consider one of the best Star Wars movies in the franchise. Return of the Jedi attempted to tie up many of the loose ends in The Empire Strikes Back, which included Han Solo being frozen in carbonite, then taken captive by bounty hunter Boba Fett, the revelation that Darth Vader is Luke’s father, Luke dealing with losing his right hand and lightsaber in a duel with Vader, and the Rebels narrowly escaping the Empire in the end.
Reeves makes this admission in response to the author of the interview mentioning the original Matrix trilogy and acknowledging that the second and third Matrix movies were a letdown from the first Matrix movie for many fans, who were initially excited about the 1999 blockbuster hit. Reeves relates this to the original Star Wars trilogy and is quoted as saying;
"Wow, I wonder, are they gonna do this, and will they do that…? And then I was, like, ‘Oh no. Oh no.’"
Reeves does not elaborate much in the interview about what he felt let down by, regarding the film. However, his experience with the film was not unique. Over the years, many Star Wars fans and critics have expressed varying opinions of the film, feeling let down or disappointed. Some general criticisms of the film have included things like an overly convoluted plot hatched by Luke to rescue Han Solo, the Ewoks, which Lucas decided to use instead of Wookiees, and the Empire's decision to build a second Death Star. Planet killers have nonetheless become a relatively prominent staple of the franchise.
Reeves, however, perhaps again conscious of the earlier Matrix sequels, was forgiving of whatever he felt the film's flaws were, stating;
"So I totally get it. I know that experience as a filmgoer. But I just try to let films be. I try to think about what the creators were going for. It's their work of art, man. So I try to come to their art and meet it wherever it is."
For all of its flaws, Return of the Jedi was nonetheless recently inducted into the National Film Registry for being an "unquestioned masterpiece of fantasy, adventure, and wonder.” Additionally, it was nominated for (and won) several awards over the years since its release in 1983.
Return of the Jedi is actually my personal favorite of the Skywalker Saga. It is probably the Star Wars movie I enjoy watching the most, primarily because of the resolution of the family drama between Luke and Vader/Anakin and the thrilling space battle over Endor. It ends on such a satisfying high note that subsequent Star Wars films have not replicated. Return of the Jedi was the first Star Wars movie that I remember seeing in the theaters at seven years old (thanks to my older sister), though I mainly remember watching it countless times when I was a kid. Compared to when Reeves saw it, the age that I saw it may have colored my perception of it some, as I really did not think seriously about any of its flaws (if I could even see them at the time). In fact, I was so oblivious to them that I read a review of it when I was a little older and was surprised at the negative review it got, as opposed to the glowing one that I was expecting.
However, many examples of major film and television franchises, including Star Wars, let down fans at their conclusions. The last Star Wars film released to date, The Rise of Skywalker, felt like a big letdown for many Star Wars fans, particularly as the epic conclusion of the nine-part Skywalker Saga. Likewise, fans of HBO's Game of Thrones undeniably felt let down by its concluding season, after all the hype that had been building up around it. While Avengers: Endgame was not viewed harshly by many fans per se, some felt that Avengers: Infinity War was the better movie and that Endgame suffered by comparison. Writing endings for major film and television franchises is probably one of the most demanding jobs out there, and I try to give them credit for daring to try. But sometimes, no matter what, things get built up to the point that it is seemingly impossible to wrap everything up in a manner that manages to satisfy everybody.
Written by Mara Butler
Syndicated from Culture Slate