Though women fighter pilots were witnessed amongst the heroic crowd within the Rebel Cruiser briefing room earlier in RETURN OF THE JEDI, it was believed that none were seen in the actual final battle above Endor...until now, with the Blu-ray revealing that one of the brave A-wing pilots was indeed female (as seen in the above image, played by UK actress Poppy Hands) but, for reasons unknown (probably an accident made during the Post Production dialogue re-dubbing phase in the US) replaced with a male actors voice instead (with one line: "Got it"). Her character was seemingly killed mere seconds later by a TIE fighter.
The full undubbed footage of Miss Hands pilot, and a previously unseen older A-wing colleague (pictured above), both speaking classic STAR WARS combat and technical dialogue, can be found on the new Blu-ray release. Hopefully, someone like fan entrepreneur Jason Joiner will eventually find these actresses for signings and we'll get more behind the scenes filming info.
In further unknown reasoning, the footage of the two lady X-wing pilots (including actress Vivienne Chandler (pictured below)), filmed at Elstree Studios during March/April 1982, were not made available for this release. Perhaps they'll show up in the future, too...
With thanks to Chris Baker and Adywan for selected images.
UPDATE: 8/2014 Scenes of Vivienne Chandler as the X-wing pilot would be included on the e-book version of J.W. Rinzler's MAKING OF RETURN OF THE JEDI. The footage shows her character about to die in the Endor space battle, after heavy damage and stabiliser failure to her craft.
▶ Rare Return of the Jedi unedited scene | Star Wars Celebration Europe 2 - YouTube
|B/W deleted footage of Miss Chandler from ROTJ. With thanks to ADYWAN for the image.|
Get hold of the e-book here: The Making of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (Enhanced Edition) eBook: J. W. Rinzler, Brad Bird: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store