Anyone that has read this column over the last decade can probably pinpoint the things that have stood out as key pieces in my personal collection. One of the items I've often referenced but may not have ever spotlighted is the Return Of The Jedi issue of Time Magazine.
I'm sure I don't need to state this, but in case there are some Star Wars fans that have never read Time Magazine, let it be known that the weekly publication based out of New York City has been enlightening minds since March 3, 1923. The focus has often been politics and world events, and through almost a hundred years of publication, it has remained neutral. In fact, to my knowledge, there has never been a period of time that the editorial team has slanted the issues in one direction or the other. Occasionally there would be a pop culture event that overshadows world economic affairs, and the cover would -on rare occasion- feature something in the field of entertainment, and though this the following statement hasn't been exhaustively researched, my personal attention to the magazine in the years that I've been alive and capable of reading, no single pop culture event has been featured as a cover story more than the epic tale in A Galaxy Far, Far Away...
Like every other publication in print in 1977, the issue that featured the first Star Wars was reactionary, but all other issues that sported a Star Wars cover was planned meticulously to coincide with whatever special milestone Lucasfilm was treating us to.
In 1983, with a printed date of May 23rd, the Return Of The Jedi covered edition of Time Magazine stands alone as a pivotal moment for Star Wars fans that can read between the lines. In more ways than not, this issue of the popular magazine told us of the future. It was the first printed suggestion of the next three films, and what it would take for them to be realized. That means this one single issue of one of America's finest and most respected publications was in fact the light at the end of the tunnel, even if it came to us before we entered the tunnel.
No collection is complete without a copy of this one single issue of Time, and no Star Wars fan can ever fully appreciate what the sixteen year wait was like for fans that read the story printed in this issue when it was published.