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This Is Where Return Of The Jedi Was Actually Filmed

1983 saw the conclusion of the original "Star Wars" saga with "Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi." Following a daring mission to save Han Solo (Harrison Ford) from the clutches of the vile Jabba the Hutt (Larry Ward), Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and company convene to take down a second Death Star being built by the Empire.

While the film has been seen as a slight step down from 1977's "Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope" (originally entitled "Star Wars") and 1980's "Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back," it nevertheless ended the trilogy with a bang and introduced several classic "Star Wars" elements. From the first major appearances of Jabba the Hutt and the Emperor (Ian McDiarmid) to the emotional powerhouse of a final lightsaber duel between Luke and Darth Vader (James Earl Jones) to its endlessly memorable lines ("hey ... it's me"), there's no denying this classic's place in the saga.

As with every "Star Wars" entry, the world in which "Return of the Jedi" takes place is every bit as important as its colorful assortment of characters. Not only did these different locations bring to life many iconic scenes within the film itself, but in the grand scheme of things, they have also remained staples of the franchise that have continued to be referred to and brought back within its various media. So just where did the gang make their last stand against the ruthless Empire?

The redwoods were home sweet home to the Ewoks

When one thinks of "Return of the Jedi," the location that first comes to mind is more than likely the planet of Endor, where the cute and cuddly Ewoks preside. Whether you love or hate the little fuzzy teddy bears that aid in the battle against the Empire at the end, it's hard to deny that their home planet is nothing short of beautiful and stands out in the trilogy as a whole.

While Yoda's (Frank Oz) muggy home on Dagobah certainly has a prominent forest that proves a challenge for Luke to navigate during his training in "The Empire Strikes Back," the lush greenery and immense trees that characterize Endor in "Return of the Jedi" are more classic woodland as opposed to foggy swamp. Luke, Han, Leia (Carrie Fisher), Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), R2-D2 (Kenny Baker), and C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) come to the planet to take down a shield generator that is protecting the second Death Star, only to engage in a battle with the Empire on the planet later on.

According to CNN, Endor's true location is the redwood forests of northern California. Most notably, the nail-biting speeder bike chase scene between Luke, Leia, and some stormtroopers was filmed in Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park and the Humboldt Redwoods State Park. The forest is known for its massive trees, which are among some of the largest living things on Earth, and is a popular hiking destination. Sadly, logging efforts in many of the filming locations have left most of its landscape unrecognizable today.

Other locations

Other California locations used for "Return of the Jedi" include Buttercup Valley, Imperial County, which stood in for the Great Pit of Carkoon, where Jabba the Hutt keeps his sarlacc, and Death Valley National Park. Death Valley National Park is notable in that it is the location where many of the exteriors of Jabba the Hutt's palace were shot, including C-3PO and R2-D2's entertaining conversation as they step up to the foreboding tower early on in the film.

The latter location became this film's Tatooine as opposed to the North African country of Tunisia, where the majority of the scenes set on Tatooine in "A New Hope" were shot, due to Lucas' bad experience filming the first "Indiana Jones" film, "Raiders of the Lost Ark" in the country (via The Worldwide Guide to Movie Locations). "Return of the Jedi" was also shot at Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire, England.