Where Star Wars was a 13-episode extravaganza and Empire was a 10-episode expansion, Jedi was a mere six episodes. Frankly it barely cleared the threshold for needing to even produce the thing. I didn’t even know it aired in 1996 and it wasn’t until this spring that I gave it a whirl.
Mark Hamill and Billy Dee Williams do not return. Only Anthony Daniels does. All the other regular cast returns, including the excellent Brock Peters as Darth Vader. I had to get used to the new guys and, a couple of times, I forgot who was speaking. Probably my bad, but still.
The Jedi radio drama does what neither of the other two did: incorporate Expanded Universe things into the story. The Expanded Universe is the global term used to describe any Star Wars story/character/ship/whatever that is not in the films. Thus, in Radio Jedi, we get the scene in which Luke goes to Tatooine, lives in Obi-Wan Kenobi’s house, and constructs his new, green lightsaber. This sequence originally was featured at the end of Shadow of the Empire. Plus, Coruscant is mentioned by name. It’s a nice thing to include, these extras, as it gives a broader scope to the entire story.
Whereas Star Wars and Empire’s radio presentations were chock full of fun, new scenes, there isn’t a lot with Jedi. Among the more interesting ones are these:
- a scene in Jabba’s palace where Boba Fett taunts the recently-thawed Han Solo and Chewbacca. I always had the impression that Fett was just a good bounty hunter with little hatred for Solo. Not so anymore.
- the scene when Leia, disguised as the bounty hunter, Boushh, defrosts Han, Bib Fortuna is with her. It’s almost as if Fortuna is helping Boushh. Irritatingly, this thread is dropped.
- Lando and Leia talking after she’s been captured by Jabba.
- Lando and Han talking before they all escape. We learn that Chewie filled Han in on Lando’s good deeds.
- the scene where the heroes escape Tatooine but also have to evade the Imperials who have set up a sort of blockade knowing that they’d try to rescue Han.
Make it a point to listen to the first two radio dramas. You won’t be disappointed. As far as the Jedi radio drama, listen to it once, just to say you did.