Hey there, Rebelscum
fans! We hope you’re all Ewok fans, because we’re continuing our coverage of the Battle of Endor this week with our “Timeline Breakdown.” Make sure to check out our “Expand Your Mind
” article first to learn about the development of Return of the Jedi
and the behind-the-scenes details surrounding the concept for Endor. Throughout the week, we’ll be adding in more articles, videos, and insights into merchandising opportunities.
Today with our “Timeline Breakdown,” we’re exploring a topic within the Star Wars
universe that this writer is particularly fascinated with: Ewok media. Although they sparked blowback from some fans, the Ewoks were extremely popular upon the debut of Return of the Jedi
in 1983, and Ewok related merchandising was flying off of the shelves. Lucasfilm realized there were more stories to tell within the forest floor of Endor.
With Lucas putting off production on another trilogy for at least a decade, Star Wars
storytellers turned to the Ewoks. Lucas was cautious about making more television films following the notorious failure of The Star Wars Holiday Special
, and took greater control when planning a series of Ewok spin offs. Leftover costumes and concept art for Return of the Jedi
was repurposed, and Warwick Davis’s character Wicket became the central character.
1984’s Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure
was released on ABC, and the 97 minute adventure was even released theatrically in some overseas markets. Although it worked on a much lower budget than the original films, the film’s production incorporated cutting edge matte painting, stop motion visuals, and costumes. It centered around the Towani family which crashes on Endor’s first moon. The children Mace and Cindel befriend Wicket, and aid the Ewoks search for their parents.
Compared to the original trilogy, Caravan of Courage
was closer in line to the fantasy adventures of Jim Henson, particularly The Dark Crystal
. There is no mention of the Force, as the Ewoks developed their own magic. The fearsome creature known as the “Gorax” became a terrifying new antagonist for the Ewoks.
Although the film is incredibly dated now, it was a major success back in 1984 and earned Emmy awards. Lucasfilm commissioned a sequel, 1985’s Ewoks: The Battle for Endor
, which was very much “The Empire Strikes Back
of the Ewoks
saga.” Opening with a devastating attack on the Ewok village that kills many of the main characters from the first film, the adventure centers on Wicket and Cindel as they protect Endor from outer space marauders.
The films were only briefly released on VHS and Laserdisc, and were largely out of print in the U.S. after a brief double-feature release in 2004. Finally, the two films were released simultaneously on Disney+ this April.
Alongside the release of the two films in 1985, the Nelvana animation company that created the animated segment of The Star Wars Holiday Special
released the spinoff animated series Ewoks
was actually the more successful of the two, and was renewed for a second season and received its on Marvel Comics series.
What say you, Rebelscum
fans? Do you include the two Ewok
movies in your Star Wars
movie rankings? Are you awaiting a third installment? Let us know in the forums
, and as always, may the Force be with you!