36 years ago this past May, America saw the release of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, the third installment of the original Star Wars trilogy and the sixth episode in the ‘Skywalker saga’ of movies. It’s hard to deny the impact of the franchise as a whole, especially since that last movie made so much money. As Disney and various merchandising opportunities love to remind us, we love Star Wars and will likely succumb to the siren song of Disney+ off the strength of The Mandalorian trailer alone.
Then & Now Movie Locations, a fan BlogSpot (yes, a BlogSpot account updated in 2019), recently took a trek to Death Valley National Park and Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park to uncover some locations from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. Despite a bulk of of Star Wars iconography being nothing but big rocks, cliffs, deserts, and a few trees, the results of the blog’s trip are still pretty fucking cool, as a lot of photos taken seem to match up almost perfectly compared to their film counterparts.
They snapped a few photos of the desert location R2-D2 and C-3PO wandered before arriving at Jabba’s palace, which is just off 20 Mule Team Road in Death Valley National Park. The cave that the duo were seen in has since been collapsed by park services for safety reasons, and some of the terrain has shifted from traffic and wind, but most of the horizon still remains true to the film’s original footage.
They also grabbed a few shots of the Endor moon speeder bike chase located at Creek Redwoods State Park inside of Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park. It’s pretty wild that most of the park looks practically unchanged and those fallen tree trunks that lay against each other haven’t moved more than an inch. Aside from some greenery growing alongside the elder trees, the locale still looks distinctly Star Wars.
They also visited a few more desert settings to check out locations from Star Wars: A New Hope earlier this year, and we imagine one of these days they’ll chronicle the Rise Of The Skywalker filming locations, which you can catch a glimpse of in new footage released this morning.