Star Wars producer Gary Kurtz parted ways with George Lucas after The Empire Strikes Back over creative differences. Kurtz felt that merchandise sales were driving the story.
I hadn't read details of Kurtz and Lucas' original outline for Return of the Jedi, but they're intriguing.
“We had an outline and George changed everything in it," Kurtz said. “Instead of bittersweet and poignant he wanted a euphoric ending with everybody happy. The original idea was that they would recover [the kidnapped] Han Solo in the early part of the story and that he would then die in the middle part of the film in a raid on an Imperial base. George then decided he didn’t want any of the principals killed. By that time there were really big toy sales and that was a reason.