It was May 25, 1983. Return of the Jedi hit theaters and changed the Star Wars franchise forever. Considered one of the greatest films of the Skywalker saga, ROTJ had the job of covering a lot of ground – and it did that, plus much more.
In addition to typing up major events between the trilogy’s hero, Luke Skywalker, and his father, Darth Vader, it further fleshed out the planet Tatooine, which audiences first glimpsed in Episode IV: A New Hope. We also saw resolution to a major plot point that was hinted at in the first two films – the tempestuous relationship between Han Solo and Jabba the Hutt, which culminated in the former being frozen in a slab of carbonite and whisked away from Bespin by Boba Fett.
2023 will mark 40 years since ROTJ hit the big screen. During the last few years, Del Rey has been releasing the From A Certain Point of View novels, which explore stories from 40 different characters from the canon universe. The first two, set during A New Hope and Empire, respectively – gave us stories from a huge range of characters, from Qui-Gon Jinn, Yoda, Wedge Antilles, and Obi-Wan Kenobi, to Boba Fett, Greedo, Darth Sidious, and even the wampa from Hoth. The last book, The Empire Strikes Back, was released in 2020, so fans are no doubt clamoring to hear what’s next from the series.
Well, strap in. We’ll be taking a look at which characters are most likely to be featured in ROTJ, each with their own rich backstories. Keep in mind that lots of these characters had their stories told in Tales from Jabba’s Palace (1996), which was an anthology novel that came out just prior to the Special Edition of ROTJ, which had added more background characters like Sy Snootles, Lyn Me, and Rystáll Sant. However, Tales from Jabba’s Palace is now considered to be part of the Expanded Universe – so we haven’t had a truly canon look at some of these characters – yet.
Boba Fett is one of the most popular Star Wars characters across all media, print or otherwise. He now has his own series streaming on Disney+ – The Book of Boba Fett, which is getting rave reviews from fans for its in-depth look at what makes this bounty hunter tick. We first saw Boba in 2002’s Attack of the Clones, where he lost his father Jango in the Geonosis arena.
The Book of Boba Fett has really hit upon the trauma caused by that loss, and Boba’s subsequent search for a home. It’s certainly a theme that could be explored in the ROTJ novel, perhaps exploring the history of the relationship between Boba and Jabba. Was Jabba more than an employer for him? Was he something of a father figure? In the beginning of that series, we see Boba literally take over Jabba’s throne as Tatooine’s criminal kingpin after killing Bib Fortuna. This book, however, would examine where his head was in the events prior to that. You know, the part where he’s dragged by the Sarlaac Pit and disappears into its maw, forever forgotten by Luke and the others?
There’s lots of ground to cover prior to the moment Boba emerges alive from the Sarlaac, and hopefully that’s done well in the upcoming novel. Considering Boba was featured in the first two books of the series, we can safely assume he’s going to appear here, as well.
The protocol droid didn’t get his own point of view featured in the last two books, surprisingly, but he arguably serves a much bigger role in Episode VI. He successfully infiltrates Jabba’s palace with R2-D2, unwittingly becoming enslaved by the Hutt in the process. His disgust and dismay at being among Jabba’s entourage was one of the highlights of the film. He also gets a major plot point just prior to the Battle of Endor, when the Ewoks believe he is a god. If not on Tatooine, it would be interesting to see what his thoughts were when he arrived on Endor.
We know that in the events between ROTJ and Book of Boba Fett Bib Fortuna somehow makes the climb from Jabba’s majordomo to his replacement as crime lord. During that time, Bib gained a great deal of weight, which was a sign of fortune among the Twi’leks.
He’s an absolute must-have character for this book, because we need to see how he achieved his dream of succeeding Jabba. In the Expanded Universe, he gets an unpleasant fate when his brain is removed by the B’omarr monks and put in a jar inside a spider-walker. His canon fate is not much of an improvement, either, as he’s shot by Boba. But it would be interesting to get inside his head and see what his motivations were, or perhaps find out how he became involved with Jabba in the first place.
Jabba the Hutt
No book about ROTJ would be complete without including Jabba. Although fans got their first glimpse of him in A New Hope, he made his grand entrance in the final film of the original trilogy. Despite outward appearances, Jabba is an extremely intelligent character, and it would be cool to see what goes on in that huge Hutt head of his.
He’s a decidedly evil character, but even bad guys have their histories and motivations. What was it like growing up in the Desilijic clan? What was it like being the most powerful crime lord in all of the galaxy, with a bevy of alien creatures under your control? Hopefully the book covers all of that, and examines why it’s sometimes more fun to be bad than good.
Jabba’s unfortunate Twi’lek dancer got her own story in Tales from Jabba’s Palace, which provided such an interesting inside look at this character that I can’t wait to read more. A look at Oola’s life prior to her enslavement at the palace would be the most interesting take, because we already know her grisly fate with Jabba’s pet Rancor.
We don’t get many opportunities to hear stories from female alien characters, and Oola would only add to that (hopefully) growing list. In the Expanded Universe, she ran into Luke just prior to being taken to Jabba’s palace, so it will be interesting to see if that remains true for canon.
Wicket Wystri Warrick was the first Ewok to encounter the Rebels when they arrived on Endor for their final battle against the Imperial forces. He could give us interesting insight on Ewok culture in general. What was life like for these furry creatures prior to the Empire’s invasion? What made them so fearless? Wicket also makes a small appearance with his son in The Rise of Skywalker, so perhaps the book could provide background for the events that happened to him prior to that film.
The ambitious senator from Chandrila ascended the ranks during the days of the Rebellion. Mothma’s character was originally created solely for her cameo in Episode VI, but she saw a more prominent role in the Expanded Universe, where she became the first Chief of State when the New Republic was created shortly after the Battle of Endor.
Fans will also remember Mon Mothma had a brief appearance in Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, as a much younger version of herself. Mothma’s inclusion in the book would add the political component that is always present in the forefront of Star Wars.
Master Yoda at last becomes one with the Force in ROTJ, at approximately 900 years old. He has a story featured in the first two books, and it would only be fitting to cover what his thoughts were in those final moments before drifting away.
From the moment he saw him on Dagobah, Yoda was skeptical of Luke and his ability to learn the ways of the Jedi. Initially, Yoda believed it would be Leia who would be the one to restore balance. However, Yoda had the opportunity to see Luke grow and mature as a Jedi, and he serves a major role not only in the original trilogy, but in the prequels as well. There is no such thing as too much Yoda.
Along with Yoda, we see the demise of Anakin Skywalker. The betrayal that Vader is planning against the Emperor is hinted at in the previous novel, in a story from Darth Sidious’ point of view. Sidious, of course, knew Lord Vader wanted to sway Luke to the dark side and overthrow him as father and son, but we didn’t know how he had learned that information until that story came out. Surprisingly, Vader hasn’t had a story featured yet in the series, although the Emperor was featured in the first two. It only seems right that he gets a place at the end, when he’s spending his final moments with Luke onboard the collapsing Death Star.
Readers should remember that each book has included 40 characters, some of which were created purely for those novels. The possibilities are virtually endless for who we could see in From A Certain Point of View: ROTJ.
By the same token, there’s no telling which authors will show up for the collection, but you can almost bank on recent stars who have helped craft the currently-popular High Republic novels – Cavan Scott and Claudia Gray, both featured in the previous books. For fans who really know Star Wars, hopefully we’ll see stories from all of the gang at Jabba’s palace, like Max Rebo, Sy Snootles, Malakili and his pet Rancor, and Salacious Crumb…among many others.
Here’s to finding out next year!