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As is commonly known, the working title of Return of the Jedi was, for some time, Revenge of the Jedi. This was even used on early promotional material and on a teaser trailer.

In this video by Techmoan on the old video format VHD, his copy of Return of the Jedi seems to bear the correct title in English, while the Japanese title translates to Revenge of the Jedi.


(Skip to 15:30)

I can easily imagine a scenario where the working title (Revenge of the Jedi) was translated to Japanese, then changed to Return of the Jedi without retranslating it.

Was at any point in time, Return of the Jedi released as Revenge of the Jedi in Japan?

Or is there another explanation?

  • Based on a very brief look at covers, it looks like posters were released that said "Revenge of the Jedi". When the film was retitled, the Japanese text wasn't changed since the word used isn't a literal translation. My Japanese isn't up to the task of answering this properly, I'm afraid. – Valorum Feb 17 '17 at 9:34
  • @Valorum Yes, the title was changed quite late in the production process. Apparently, George Lucas sold off posters with the Revenge-title to members of the fan club. I also once saw a jacket with that title on an episode of Storage Wars. – SQB Feb 17 '17 at 9:56
  • Isn't the whole point of return revenge? As they show in every movie. – Manoj Kumar Feb 17 '17 at 22:11
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    @ManojKumar: Uh ... no? Return can simply mean return to power, return into one's previous position, return into the system, etc. It does not imply any particular interaction with whoever interrupted the protagonists' maintained presence (or whether that was anyone's fault at all). – O. R. Mapper Feb 18 '17 at 0:21
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The writing on the DVD VHD case in your picture says "ジェダイの復讐" (Jedi no fukushu), which indeed means "Revenge of the Jedi." (ジェダイ is "Jedi" spelt phonetically, whereas "復讐" means revenge.)

The Japanese Wikipedia page appears to say that it was released as ジェダイの復讐 originally and later changed to its current title, ジェダイの帰還 (Jedi no kikan), which means Return of the Jedi. Part of it says (translation courtesy of Janus Bahs Jacquet in the comments):

In America the original publication title was Return of the Jedi, while in Japan the original publication title was Revenge of the Jedi, but later on both were changed to the current title

So it seems that it was called ジェダイの復讐 (revenge) for some time in Japan before being changed to ジェダイの帰還 (return). The page goes on to discuss the reasons for the change, and you can get some of the meaning of it from a Google translation of the page.


ETA: Since I was curious I asked a Japanese person. She says she remembers it as ジェダイの復讐 (Revenge of the Jedi), and never heard it in Japanese as ジェダイの帰還 (Return of the Jedi) until just now when she looked it up online. But she said she also knew it by its English title, Return of the Jedi. Valorum posted some links in the comments to materials from 1983 that say "Return of the Jedi" in English, but "ジェダイの復讐" in Japanese, like this:

enter image description here

After reading the Japanese Wikipedia page, my Japanese friend told me the Japanese title wasn't changed until 2004, with the change being driven partly by fans asking for the name to be changed.

  • 1
    Actually, it's not a DVD; it's a VHD. – SQB Feb 17 '17 at 15:51
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    A more precise translation would be, “In America the original publication title was Return of the Jedi, while in Japan the original publication title was Revenge of the Jedi, but later on both were changed to the current title”. Not entirely sure what precisely these publication titles are, though—they might just be the first title published, or they may have been the official titles of the movie when it came out. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Feb 17 '17 at 16:47
  • You might find this interesting - From the Star Wars Scrapbook; i.stack.imgur.com/jBnaY.jpg + i.stack.imgur.com/GZzoH.png. The latter is a cinema ticket – Valorum Feb 18 '17 at 20:41
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The film was released as "Return of the Jedi" but some of the posters had the older title "Revenge of the Jedi".

The original teaser trailer for the film carried the name Revenge of the Jedi. In December 1982, Lucas decided that "Revenge" was not appropriate as Jedi should not seek revenge and returned to his original title. By that time thousands of "Revenge" teaser posters (with artwork by Drew Struzan) had been printed and distributed. Lucasfilm stopped the shipping of the posters and sold the remaining stock of 6,800 posters to Star Wars fan club members for $9.50.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Return_of_the_Jedi#Title_change

Sample Poster

Japanese Poster

http://www.propstore.com/product/star-wars-ep-vi-return-of-the-jedi/large-japanese-revenge-of-the-jedi-poster/

Based on IMDB article, it was not released in Japan as Revenge of the Jedi.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086190/releaseinfo

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    Notice that the famous "Revenge of the Jedi" poster is actually based on the Cloud City battle scene from The Empire Strikes Back, not anything from Return of the Jedi. – Buzz Feb 17 '17 at 11:34
  • I intended to link to exactly that fragment of the Wikipedia article, but I see now I haven't. That Japanese movie poster is a good find, though. Its Japanese title seems to match with that on the cover of the VHD. I'll rewatch to see if it matches with the title on the booklet, since that's what he translated. – SQB Feb 17 '17 at 11:55
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    For me, what's more interesting is that the English title changed but the Japanese writing didn't. – Valorum Feb 17 '17 at 12:24
  • I wonder how much those posters are worth now :o – Oubliette Feb 17 '17 at 15:54
  • @Valorum Judging by Japanese Wikipedia/Google searches, the "Japanese title" did also get updated at some point. – Ixrec Feb 17 '17 at 20:12
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The article on Japanese Wikipedia (unedited translation of Google Translate) says:

Originally published title in the United States was "Return of the Jedi" ("Jedi's return"), the original title published in Japan was "Star Wars / Revenge of the Jedi".

And further:

However, in Japan, production of related products in the name of "Revenge of the Jedi" has already progressed, and since they sought impact subtitles aiming at box office success, they were published as [citation needed], "revenge of the Jedi" in 1983 It was also followed by the "special edition" published in 1997 [4]. In the summer of 2000, fans of this series made a titlist signing campaign in Japan but it did not come true [citation needed], the release of "Star Wars Trilogy DVD - BOX" in 2004, finally translated the original in Japan "Return of the Jedi" has been changed to.

As I understand from the text, the title "Return of the Jedi" was introduced in Japan in 2004.

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    "They were published as [citation needed]"? Man, I would have loved to get a poster of that! ...on a less flippant note, those "[citation needed]s" basically mean the Japanese wiki doesn't know either. The English one has a source for its claims. – Jeroen Mostert Feb 17 '17 at 13:42
  • @JeroenMostert The English page hase ZERO mentions of words with "japan"-root. So there is no a single evidence or reference about Japanese release on the English page. – Pushkin Feb 17 '17 at 13:46
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    I mean the English wiki has sources for the claims mentioned in the other answer, not pertaining specifically to the Japanese title/release. The fact that posters were produced in English with the other title is of course not direct evidence for anything released in Japan, nor did I mean to imply that. – Jeroen Mostert Feb 17 '17 at 13:49

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