Thomas takes a retrospective look at the Star Wars Vintage Ewok movies and discovers a fun nostalgia ride packed full of Star Wars lore
The Star Wars Vintage collection is finally available on Disney Plus across Europe. So last week was the perfect opportunity to rewatch the two Ewoks movies – Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure and Ewoks: The Battle For Endor. I had watched them when I was a kid but I only had vague memories of them. Thus, I rediscovered them as an adult. And I do have a lot of things to say.
HOPE AND FAMILY
As Carrie Fisher once said “It’s about family. And that’s what’s so powerful about it.” It’s the heart of Star Wars, that and giving a message of hope. The two Ewok movies deliver on that front. Indeed, family is at the center of these two stories. For the first movie, it’s blood family while the second movie is about the family that we choose.
As for the message of hope, both movies have that as well. Cindel and Mace don’t give up on finding their parents, they keep going until they rescue them. And when Cindel loses her family, she finds another family in Wicket and later with Noa. The Ewoks are small creatures and not as armed as the pirates. And yet, they fight these pirates defending their home. They win by being smart and using their environment to give them an advantage.
EXPANDING THE UNIVERSE
Just like every Star Wars story, the Ewok movies add something to the lore. We are introduced to brand-new creatures. And most of them have the Star Wars DNA. Some even made it to canon but we’ll talk about it later. When I say the Star Wars DNA, I mean that these creatures feel and look like they belong to Star Wars. The craftsmanship is also impressive! You can see these movies were made in the eighties but the work done to bring these creatures to life is good.
However, we also get creatures that are from our world without any change – horses, rabbits, some birds, and lamas. The horses do feel weird and a bit out of place. But I don’t mind the lamas and the birds, they actually fit.
When you tell a Star Wars story, you bring new creatures but you also bring new aliens and that’s what the Ewok movies did. We meet Teek a cute little alien. I like the idea of having different small species on the forest moon of Endor while also having giants like Gorax. It’s a nice contrast. Sanyassan made their debut in The Battle For Endor. They’re similar to Weequays.
Then, you have the forest moon of Endor. We’re in the typical forests seen in Return of the Jedi but we also get to see other parts of the planet. I love the desert that leads to Gorax’s lair! It’s a desert and yet the way it’s done, it fits perfectly with the environment from that moon.
Caravan of Courage and The Battle For Endor were made in the eighties. That period saw a lot of fantasy movies including these two. They’re not just Star Wars movies, they also have a lot in common with the fantasy movies from that era. When watching them, it reminded me of The Dark Crystal, Willow, Legend, and all the 80s fantasy movies. It features magic. Not magic like the Nightsisters but magic like you can find in fantasy. Charal the witch is dressed as a villain you could meet from a fantasy story. But more importantly, it’s the atmosphere, the aesthetic, and the pace of the story. These movies have a slow pace and feature limited action scenes.
I had a good time rewatching the Ewok movies. They’re really nice and charming. It’s quite the adventure. Plus, I love the 80s fantasy vibe. It’s the same as the other Star Wars movies but I still enjoy them. And I’m glad Disney Plus added them. They didn’t simply put them on their platform, they also upgraded the quality of the picture. Both are presented in HD and on a 4K television, it looks pretty good!
Even though these movies are part of Legends, the Star Wars canon has been inspired by these two stories. The Blurrgs are one element that comes directly into my mind. They first appeared in The Battle For Endor. But they have been introduced in canon with The Clone Wars during the season 1 Ryloth trilogy. They showed up in Star Wars Rebels and even made their return to live-action in The Mandalorian!
Speaking of The Mandalorian, I can’t help but think that Jon Favreau was inspired by The Battle For Endor when he wrote Chapter 4 ‘Sanctuary’. The Klatooinian raiders have costumes similar to what Terak and his men had. Even the gestures of their captain remind me of Terak. Plus the episode takes place on a forest planet with a wooden village, it sounds familiar, right?
Finally, the species called Gorax made their way into canon as well. They appeared in the series of shorts from Forces of Destiny. It’s a creature that feels Star Wars-y.
It’s nice to see the canon borrowing and being inspired by Legends. And honestly, when you think about it, there is nothing in these movies that contradict canon if you place them after Return of the Jedi. Thus, I have decided they would be part of my Star Wars headcanon. They’re nice movies. So if you have the opportunity, I would recommend watching them or rediscovering them.
A Caravan Of Courage: An Ewok Adventure and Ewoks: The Battle For Endor are streaming exclusively on Disney Plus now.
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