George Lucas cranked up the cuteness quotient at the end of Return of the Jedi in order to sell more Ewok merchandise, says producer Gary Kurtz in this LATimes interview.
“I could see where things were headed,‚Äù Kurtz said. ‚ÄúThe toy business began to drive the [Lucasfilm] empire. It‚Äôs a shame. They make three times as much on toys as they do on films. It‚Äôs natural to make decisions that protect the toy business, but that‚Äôs not the best thing for making quality films.‚Äù
He added: ‚ÄúThe first film and ‚ÄòEmpire‚Äô were about story and character, but I could see that George‚Äôs priorities were changing. The emphasis on the toys, it‚Äôs like the cart driving the horse.”
More on Gary Kurtz’s nobler plan for the end of the trilogy after the cut. Topping this post is a further reworking of Jedi’s ending for the 1997
vandalism remastering job Lucas did to ‘enhance’ the original trilogy. On the next page you can take a look at the compromised ending as it appeared in 1983. Admittedly, the yub nub campfire chant will not be remembered as John Williams’ finest hour, but was it wise to tack on the misguided updates above that already look dated a decade later?