Timeline Breakdown - The Battle of Endor

Jobi-Wan

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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 and Droids. 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 below, and as always, may the Force be with you!
 
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I actually really love the Ewoks movies! I just saw them for the first time this year, after they were added to Disney+, and I was impressed. The costumes and effects are pretty good, and they have that ROTJ vibe. The second movie is particularly great, from the truly shocking opening to the touching goodbyes at the end. I thought they'd barely be related to Star Wars at all, but they really do feel like ROTJ spinoffs. It made me so happy to discover a vintage Star Wars production that I knew nothing about. ☺️
 
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I've adored these Ewok movies since I was a kid - they work perfectly with other 80s fantasy, such as Willow, Dark Crystal, etc. I would love a third film, and based on what LFL is capable of with live action series, like Mandalorian, I'm sure they could develop a hit. I actually wish there were some merchandising for these films, whether in TVC or Retro - they deserve some attention after all these years. There is actually a petition to get figures released, promoted by your pal, Eric Walker:


It would be cool to see RS help promote that campaign on the front page and social media!

Finally, it was nice to see these released on Disney+, after a while I would certainly support a Blu-ray release as well - while I own the DVD version, I'd like a BR with all the extras they can muster!
 
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