4. Star Wars Episode VI – Return Of The Jedi (1983)

The ending of Return of the Jedi is undeniably a happy one. After all, every surviving character is seen celebrating, and those that died over the course of the trilogy are seen joining the Rebel’s revels as Force ghosts (even the recently redeemed Anakin Skywalker). It’s almost impossible to see anything ominous or read any troubling subtext into the ending of Return of the Jedi.

With the evil Galactic Empire’s biggest ever weapon destroyed and its Emperor killed, it seems peace has been restored to the galaxy. The Rebel Alliance has finally achieved their goal of overthrowing the Empire, and democracy is now free to take its place. However, the Star Wars sequel trilogy offers confirmation of the worst-case scenario: Return of the Jedi‘s ending isn’t happy at all.

The political unrest caused by the abrupt destruction of an Empire isn’t something to be scoffed at. As the sequels confirm, another radical group simply rose to power in place of the Empire and began building another colossal space weapon, proving that Return of the Jedi‘s ending was hardly the victory it appeared to be. Ultimately, the Rebels’ celebration of winning a major battle might seem to indicate a happy ending, but the galaxy’s troubles were far from over, and that’s actually been confirmed in Star Wars canon.