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Ewoks: The Battle for Endor is a 1985 television film set in the Star Wars universe co-written and directed by Jim and Ken Wheat from a story by George Lucas. A sequel to Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure, it focuses on Cindel Towani, the human girl from the first film, who, after being orphaned, joins the Ewoks in protecting their village and defeating the marauders who have taken control of the Endor moon.

Ewoks: The Battle for Endor
Ilm-ewok2.jpg
Genre
Screenplay by
Story byGeorge Lucas
Directed by
  • Jim Wheat
  • Ken Wheat
Starring
Theme music composerPeter Bernstein
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
Production
Executive producer(s)George Lucas
Producer(s)
CinematographyIsidore Mankofsky
Editor(s)Eric Jenkins
Running time94 minutes
Production company(s)Lucasfilm
Distributor20th Century Fox Television
Release
Original networkABC
Original release
  • November 24, 1985 (1985-11-24)
Chronology
Preceded byCaravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure

Along with Caravan of Courage, the film is set between the events of Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back and Episode VI – Return of the Jedi.[1][2]

PlotEdit

Nearly six months have passed since the events of the first film;[3] the Towani family's star cruiser is almost completely fixed and Jeremitt is putting the final touches on the craft. While the family is preparing to leave the forest moon of Endor, the Ewok village is attacked by a group of Marauders led by Terak and his witch-like sorceress Charal. Many Ewoks are killed. Cindel escapes, but is forced to leave her family to their doom at the hand of the Marauders.

While running away from the carnage, Cindel and Wicket meet Teek, a small, fast native of Endor. Teek takes them to the home of Noa Briqualon, a human male who is angered by their uninvited presence and throws them out. Eventually he proves himself to be kindhearted, letting Teek steal food for Cindel and Wicket, and inviting the two in as they attempt to build a fire for warmth.

At the Marauders' castle, Terak orders Charal to find Cindel, assuming she knows how to use "the power" in the energy cell stolen from Jeremitt's star cruiser. Meanwhile, Noa, Cindel, and Wicket are becoming friends. It is revealed that Noa is rebuilding his own wrecked star cruiser, only missing the energy cell. Cindel is awakened one morning by a song her mother used to sing. She follows the voice to find a woman singing, who transforms into Charal and takes her to Terak. He orders Cindel to activate "the power", but she cannot, and is imprisoned with the Ewoks. Outside, Noa, Wicket, and Teek sneak into the castle, free Cindel and the Ewoks, and escape with the energy cell.

Terak, Charal, and the Marauders pursue them back to the ship, where Wicket leads the Ewoks in defense of the cruiser as Noa installs the energy cell. The Ewoks put up a valiant effort, and are nearly beaten by the time Noa powers up the ship and uses its laser cannons to fend off the Marauders. Cindel goes to save Wicket and is captured by Terak, as the other Marauders retreat. Terak and Noa face off, with Wicket finally coming to the rescue, killing Terak and simultaneously leaving Charal trapped in bird form. Shortly thereafter, goodbyes are said, and Cindel leaves Endor with Noa on his starship.

CastEdit

ProductionEdit

Creation and crewEdit

The film, shot in the middle of 1985 in Marin County, California, was directed by Jim and Ken Wheat, executive produced by Lucas, and written by the Wheat brothers, based on a story written by Lucas. Co-director Ken Wheat explained the production and inspiration of the film:

Lucas guided the creation of the story over the course of two four-hour sessions we had with him. He'd just watched Heidi with his daughter the weekend before these took place, and the story idea he pushed was having the little girl from the first Ewok TV movie become an orphan who ends up living with a grumpy old hermit in the woods.

We'd been thinking about the adventure films we'd liked as kids, like Swiss Family Robinson and The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad, so we suggested having space marauders, which was fine with George — as long as they were 7 feet tall, of course! The rest of the brainstorming was done along those lines. Joe Johnston (the production designer and second unit director) and Phil Tippett (the creature supervisor) were involved in the second day's story session, and they contributed an assortment of bits and pieces.[4][5]

Lucas’ involvement during production was primarily in the design and editing stages, according to Wheat. The film's working title was Ewoks II.[6]

EffectsEdit

Both Ewok films were some of the last intensive stop-motion animation work Industrial Light & Magic produced, as in the early 1980s, the technique was being replaced by go motion animation, a more advanced form with motorized articulated puppets that moved while the camera shutter was open, capturing motion blur in the otherwise static puppet, eliminating the harsh staccato movement often associated with stop motion. However, the budgets of the Ewok films were such that go motion was simply too expensive for the projects, so stop motion was used to realize creatures such as the condor dragon, the blurrgs, and the boar-wolves.

The Ewok movies proved an opportunity for Industrial Light & Magic to hone a new technique in photographing matte paintings, called latent image matte painting. In this technique, during live action photography a section of the camera's lens is blocked off, remaining unexposed, and a painting is crafted to occupy that space. The film would then be rewound, the blocked areas reversed, and the painting photographed. Since the painting now existed on the original film, there would be no generational quality loss.

MusicEdit

The musical score for Ewoks: The Battle for Endor was composed by Peter Bernstein. Selections from the score were released on LP by Varèse Sarabande in 1986.[7] The release was known simply as Ewoks, and also contained cues from Bernstein's previous score to The Ewok Adventure.

Alternate versionsEdit

  • In a home video release, the following two scenes were deleted: when being chased by Terak's men, Wicket races for Noa's house but Noa tells him the only chance they have got is the star cruiser. Then a scene that happened shortly after where the men went inside and burned down Noa's house.
  • When Cindel has a nightmare about bad guys coming into Noa's house, a scene was cut from the television broadcast, in which Cindel rushes to Noa's bed to wake him up, but instead finds Terak in the bed and wakes up. The television version just shows Cindel waking up after the men break in.
  • Cindel's lines: "Do something, Wicket! Use your sling! You hit the ring!" have been altered to "Do something, Wicket! Do something!" for the DVD release.
  • In the original TV broadcast of the film, the end credits were rolled over the final scene, but in all home-video releases of the film, the end credits are rolled over a traditional black background after the final scene.[citation needed]

Role in greater Star Wars continuityEdit

Several elements from the film have gone on to appear in other works from the Star Wars Expanded Universe, which was declared non-canon and rebranded to Legends in 2014.[8]

  • Ewoks (1985–1987) was an ABC animated series featuring the Ewoks that ran for two seasons. It incorporated several elements introduced in the two Ewok films, such as the appearance of Queen Izrina of the Wisties.
  • Star Tours (1987) - When Disney and Lucasfilm joined forces for the Star Tours ride, Lucasfilm suggested that certain characters be included in the Safety Guide video before the ride began. However, an Ewok costume from An Ewok Adventure (opposed to another Ewok costume from Return of the Jedi) and Teek were included in the instructional short.[citation needed]
  • Tyrant's Test (1996) - According to the official continuity of Star Wars Legends, the character of Cindel Towani went on to appear in Tyrant's Test, the third book of Michael P. Kube-McDowell's Star Wars book series, The Black Fleet Crisis Trilogy. In the novel, set over ten years after The Battle for Endor, Cindel is shown to have grown to become a reporter on Coruscant. During the Yevethan crisis, Cindel received the so-called Plat Mallar tapes from Admiral Drayson, and leaked the story of the only survivor of the Yevethan attack of Polneye. The report was meant to garner sympathy among the people of the New Republic and the Senate and it worked. The Expanded Universe timeline states Cindel decided to join the New Republic and go into journalism after witnessing the Battle of Endor.
  • The Illustrated Star Wars Universe (1997) by Kevin J. Anderson explains the origins of Charal the witch who kidnaps Cindel in The Battle for Endor in relation to The Courtship of Princess Leia, in that it reveals that she was once one of the Nightsisters, a dark side force-using sect of witches from the planet Dathomir.
  • HoloNet issue #49 (2002) was an issue of the in-universe news report. In the "regional" section of this issue, the article "Moddell Starship Search Abandoned", explains that the search has been called off for the rescue of Salek Weet and Noa Briqualon, which had been funded by Salek's father, Jimke Weet. The search was said to have been called off due to the fact that Jimke had to file bankruptcy due to his expenses in the search.
  • Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided (2003) is a MMORPG. In the game, when exploring the forest moon of Endor, the player can run across the base of the Sanyassan Marauders, who were originally seen in The Battle for Endor.
  • Geonosis and the Outer Rim Worlds (2004) was a sourcebook for the Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game. In it, Terak's son Zakul takes over rule of his Marauders after Terak's death. The book gives Terak's bio and stats. It explains his death, and the rise of his son, Zakul.

Canon appearances of elements introduced in the film include:

AdaptationsEdit

In 1986, Random House published a children's book adaptation of The Battle for Endor called The Ring, the Witch, and the Crystal: An Ewok Adventure. The book was written by Cathy East Dubowski, and utilized the film's story and images from the film.

ReleaseEdit

Ewoks: The Battle for Endor initially premiered as an ABC TV special on November 24, 1985. It was released theatrically in the UK as a limited run in the Spring of 1986. After the run had disappeared due to low box office receipts, it appeared on home video in late 1987 on MGM/UA and re-issued for retail in 1988 and 1990. The US later released on VHS and Laserdisc in 1990 through MGM/UA Home Video.

The film was released on DVD with its predecessor as a double feature collection entitled Star Wars: Ewok Adventures on November 23, 2004 via 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. One film was on each side of a single double-sided disc, with no bonus material.

In January 2019, Disney and Lucasfilm released the film on Amazon's Prime Video service. It is available to rent and buy in Standard Definition.[10]

The upcoming streaming service Disney+ has announced no plans to host the Ewok films, prompting Eric Walker to start a petition for Disney to add them.[11]

ReceptionEdit

At the 38th Primetime Emmy Awards, Ewoks: The Battle for Endor and the CBS documentary Dinosaur! were both juried-awarded Emmys for Outstanding Special Visual Effects.[12] The film additionally received two nominations for Outstanding Children's Program and Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Miniseries or a Special.[13][14]

In his review for The New York Times John Corry faulted the production's source of inspiration, saying "The problem with Ewoks: The Battle for Endor isn't that it's badly done; on the contrary, it's wonderfully well done. But when it's over it's over, and there is no residue. Mr. Lucas and his colleagues find their inspiration in their own technology, and there should be other places to look."[15]

Pointing to the main characters and plot elements, one pair of writers concluded that both Battle of Endor and its predecessor Caravan of Courage are fairy tales despite occurring in a science fiction setting. They point to magical phenomena in both films, which is a fantasy element. They argue that in a science fiction story, the hero wants to disrupt or challenge the hierarchy of a supposed "utopian" society; whereas in both Ewok films, society is not challenged or disputed. Additionally, they argue, that while the Star Wars saga also has fairy tale tropes, it adhered more towards science fiction.[16] Another author agreed that the films are fairy tales, whereas "Science explains all magic."[17]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Chee, Leland (Tasty Taste) (June 14, 2006). "Star Wars: Message Boards: Books, Comics, & Television VIPs". StarWars.com. Archived from the original on 2007-03-05. Retrieved November 2, 2018.
  2. ^ Anderson, Kevin J. (1995). The Illustrated Star Wars Universe. New York: Bantam Books. pp. 115, 132–33. ISBN 0-553-09302-9.
  3. ^ Alter, Ethan (December 15, 2015). "Star Wars: How the Ewoks Came to TV 31 Years Ago". Yahoo!. Retrieved March 1, 2017.
  4. ^ Robb, Brian J. (2012). Star Wars : the unauthorised inside story of George Lucas's epic. London: Robinson. ISBN 1780333994.
  5. ^ "Battle for Endor Writer Interview". TheForce.Net. February 11, 2000. Retrieved September 3, 2018.
  6. ^ Robb, Brian J. (2012). A Brief Guide to Star Wars. Little, Brown Book Group. p. 84. ISBN 9781780335834.
  7. ^ Osborne, Jerry (2010). Movie/TV Soundtracks and Original Cast Recordings Price and Reference Guide. Port Townsend, Washington: Osborne Enterprises Publishing. p. 175. ISBN 0932117376.
  8. ^ "The Legendary Star Wars Expanded Universe Turns a New Page". StarWars.com. April 25, 2014. Retrieved May 26, 2016.
  9. ^ Lussier, Germain (August 29, 2019). "The Mandalorian Is Bringing a Deep Cut Star Wars Creature Back to Live-Action". io9. Retrieved August 31, 2019.
  10. ^ https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07LFKG96J/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_ep_dp_M8hyCb3CCP0R9_nodl
  11. ^ Walker, Eric (September 24, 2019). "Disney+ May Not Be The Home To All of Star Wars – All For SciFi". All For SciFi. Retrieved October 6, 2019.
  12. ^ Leverence, John. "Outstanding Special Visual Effects — 1986". 38th Primetime Emmy Awards, September 21, 1986. Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  13. ^ "Outstanding Children's Program — 1986". 38th Primetime Emmy Awards, September 21, 1986. Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  14. ^ "Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Miniseries or a Special — 1986". 38th Primetime Emmy Awards, September 21, 1986. Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  15. ^ Corry, John (November 24, 1985). "New Shows For Children: Should We Expect More?". The New York Times (Vol. 135, No. 46, 603). The New York Times Company. p. H29. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  16. ^ Douglas Brode; Leah Deyneka (14 June 2012). Myth, Media, and Culture in Star Wars: An Anthology. Scarecrow Press. pp. 130–131. ISBN 978-0-8108-8513-4.
  17. ^ Charles, Eric (2012). "The Jedi Network: Star Wars' Portrayal and Inspirations on the Small Screen". In Brode, Douglas; Deyneka, Leah (eds.). Myth, Media, and Culture in Star Wars: An Anthology. Scarecrow Press. pp. 129–131. ISBN 978-0-810-88513-4. Retrieved May 20, 2016.

Further readingEdit

  • The Illustrated Star Wars Universe, 1st edition, 1997. Kevin J. Anderson, ISBN 0-553-37484-2
  • The Courtship of Princess Leia (Star Wars), 1st edition, 1994. Dave Wolverton, ISBN 0-553-08928-5
  • Tyrant's Test, (Book 3 of The Black Fleet Crisis), first paperback printing, 1996. Michael P. Kube-McDowell, ISBN 0-553-57275-X
  • Star Wars: The Essential Guide to Characters, 1st edition, 1995. Andy Mangels, ISBN 0-345-39535-2
  • Endor and the Moddell Sector, article from Star Wars Gamer magazine, Issue #9
  • HoloNet News #49

External linksEdit