In the original version of “Return of the Jedi,” Oola was dropped down into the rancor pit and that was it. In the special edition, she got more screen time. As Taylor said, “To be the only person brought back is extraordinary, isn’t it? I was blown away!” She was even more so when she found out that Lucas himself was going to direct her additional scenes since original director Richard Marquand had since passed away. She recalls him greeting her with, “Oh Femi, you look great. It’s really good to have you back on board,” saying he was “so friendly and his executive producer, Rick McCallum, was too — I can’t say enough great things about Rick.”
In fact, it was McCallum’s idea to give Oola a death scene … well, right up to the point where we think she’s about to be killed. “You don’t actually see me get killed,” Taylor said. “I guess I could have escaped.”
As someone who has long lived on vibes from the rancor meme where Luke dropping the gate on the creature’s head merely injures him, I appreciate this so much. It always broke my heart to see his trainer cry. I can’t even kill a bug and I blame this movie. It’s kind of lovely to think that maybe she actually escaped. I mean, I know that’s not the actual implication, but my headcanon says she did — so there.