Preserving the Jedi

“Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi” enters the National Film Registry vault


Photo by JD Hancock,

This is a toy recreation of the Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader lightsaber duel as depicted on the original “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi” movie poster.

“Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi” was a part of the 2021 inductees in the National film Registry class. The National Film Registry was created under the National Film Preservation Act of 1988 to preserve American films. Once selected, the best copy of the film will be found by the Library of Congress. They will store it in their vaults at the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center.

The inductees are selected by the Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden, after discussing the films with the members of the National Film Preservation Board. The board members are not the only people that get to nominate a movie; they also take into account the films nominated by the public, all according to

The Librarian of Congress chooses these films based on the “cultural, historical or aesthetic” significance of the movie. The only requirement by the board is that a film has been out for at least 10 years, all according to

“Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi” is among the annual 25 movies selected by the librarian; some of the other films inducted in 2021 were: “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring,” “A Nightmare on Elm Street” and “WALL•E.”

This addition makes for the third Star Wars film in the National Film Registry. “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope” and “Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back” was added in 1989 and 2010, respectively.