| Caravan of Courage:|
An Ewok Adventure
Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure is a 1984 made-for-TV film set in the Star Wars galaxy. The film focuses on the struggles of the Towani family, who have been stranded on the forest moon of Endor after crashing their starcruiser. Specifically, it deals with the quest of Mace and Cindel Towani—who are brother and sister—in locating their parents, who have been kidnapped by a monster known as the Gorax.
The film is set sometime between the fifth and sixth episodes of the Star Wars saga. It is the first of two spin-off films of Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. The film's success led to a sequel, Ewoks: The Battle for Endor, and a spin-off animated series which also focuses on the Ewoks.
The Towani family's starcruiser has crashed on the forest moon of Endor, leaving the group stranded. The children—Mace and Cindel—have disappeared, and the parents—Jeremitt and Catarine—cannot locate them. Jeremitt and Catarine desperately search with flashlights and call out Mace and Cindel's names. However, in the midst of their search, the parents encounter the Gorax...
The children are found by the Ewok Deej Warrick. After Mace tries to kill them, the Ewoks subdue him and take both children to the Ewoks' home. There, Cindel and Wicket Warrick become friends. Shortly thereafter, the Ewoks kill a beast only to find a life-monitor from one of the Towani parents with the creature.
They seek out the Ewok Logray who informs them that the parents have been taken by the monstrous Gorax, who resides in a deserted, dangerous area. A caravan of Ewoks is formed to help the children find their parents. They meet up with a wistie named Izrina and a boisterous Ewok named Chukha-Trok as well as the Ewok wizard Kaink before finally reaching the lair of the Gorax. They engage the Gorax in battle, freeing Jeremitt and Catarine, but Chukha is killed. The Gorax is thought destroyed when he is knocked into a chasm, but it takes a final blow from Mace (using Chukha's axe) to kill the creature, who tries to climb back up after them. Thus reunited, the Towanis decide to stay with the Ewoks until they can repair the starcruiser, and Izrina leaves to go back to her family.
Cast and charactersEdit
- Burl Ives .... Narrator (voice)
- Eric Walker .... Mace
- Warwick Davis .... Wicket
- Fionnula Flanagan .... Catarine
- Guy Boyd .... Jeremitt
- Aubree Miller .... Cindel
- Daniel Frishman .... Deej
- Debbie Lee Carrington .... Weechee
- Tony Cox .... Widdle
- Kevin Thompson .... Chukha-Trok
- Margarita Fernández .... Kaink
- Pam Grizz .... Shodu
- Bobby Bell .... Logray
- Darryl Henriques .... Wicket (voice) (as Daryl Henriquez)
- Sydney Walker .... Deej (voice)
- Nancy Carlin .... Shodu (voice)
- James Cranna .... Widdle (voice) (as Jim Cranna)
- Hal Raylee .... Weechee (voice)
- Robert Elross .... Logray (voice)
- Pat Franklin .... Kaink (voice)
- Michael Pritchard .... Chukha-Trok (voice)
- Tiffany Brissette .... (voice) (uncredited)
- Jon Berg .... Gorax
James Cranna is the only actor who participated in both the Ewoks films and animated series. He voiced the Ewok Widdle Warrick in Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure, and voiced the Ewok Teebo in the second season of the Star Wars: Ewoks animated television series.
The original impetus for Caravan of Courage was an idea George Lucas had for a "one-hour television special dealing with the Ewoks." This "one hour" eventually was expanded into one and a half hours, however. Lucas had ventured into TV six years earlier, with The Star Wars Holiday Special. The special, though economically successful for the most part, had proved to be a disaster and embarrassment to Lucas. So, in Caravan of Courage, Lucas assumed full control over the content and production of the film, to ensure a film of good quality. One such event during production which exemplifies this need for creative control was around the time when the film neared completion. The production crew had prepared a script and shot a TV advertisement for the upcoming release. The ad featured Mace, Cindel, and Wicket walking into a diner, which was set in the 1950s, where they ordered milkshakes. Mace turns to the camera, and says something to the effect of "Don't forget to tune in to The Ewok Adventure, on November 25." When Lucas was shown the commercial for his personal approval, he disliked the idea of having his characters appearing on Earth in the '50s and prevented the commercial from airing.
Caravan of Courage and its sequel would be more fantasy- and magic-oriented than their big-screen counterparts that came before.
Working from a story written by George Lucas, and a screenplay by Bob Carrau, director John Korty transformed the scenic northern California redwood forests into the magical forest moon of Endor. Joe Johnston, an art director at Industrial Light & Magic for years and one of the key concept artists of the classic Star Wars trilogy, acted as production designer. Prior to this movie, Johnston had written and illustrated a book about Ewoks, The Adventures of Teebo: A Tale of Magic and Suspense. This gave him a background to the arboreal aliens that was crucial in designing new Ewoks and their surroundings.
According to Eric Walker, the actor who played Mace, Lucas himself directed the film's re-shoots and edited some of the film's scenes himself. Here is an excerpt from his interview on lucasfan.com:
- George Lucas edited a portion of the Ewok Adventure. This fact is not well known, but Lucas directed the entire one week re-shoot. Director John Korty had another film to direct that was put on hold until after the Ewok Adventure principal photography was completed. I have a call sheet with George Lucas' name as director on it. It was later taken off, and was put on by mistake by one of the assistant directors. I also have a personal card from George thanking me for the work that I did on the re-shoot.
Both Ewok films were some of the last intensive stop-motion animation work ILM produced. In the early 80s, the time-honored technique of hand-manipulating an articulated puppet one frame at a time was being replaced by go-motion animation. Go-motion was one step more advanced, and featured puppets with motorized articulation that moved while the camera shutter was open. This captured the all-important motion blur in the otherwise static puppet, eliminating the harsh staccato movement often associated with stop-motion.
The budgets of the Ewok films were such that go-motion was simply too expensive for the projects. Instead, the classic art of stop-motion was used to realize such creatures 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. Long before the use of digital technology to create and merge matte paintings with live action photography, the effects artists had to use projection techniques to blend together these elements. This involved aiming a projector in such a way so that a separate camera could photograph the projected live image with a painting done on glass. Such methods always incurred a loss in picture quality, since film would be exposed and re-exposed again during the compositing process. When movies are shown theatrically, the rich colors of film projection usually meant that such picture degradation wasn't too visible. Television, however, isn't as forgiving, resulting in noticeable variation in colors between the painting and the live action. Since the Ewok movies were destined for television, a different approach was used.
ILM refined a process called latent image matte painting. This technique requires shooting the live action with a section of the camera's lens blocked off. That blocked off area would remain unexposed, and a painting would be crafted to occupy that space. The film would then be rewound, the blocked area exposed, and the painting photographed. Since the painting now existed on the original film used to shoot the live action, there would be no generational quality loss. The picture quality was exceptional, resulting in some of ILM's most astounding matte paintings.
The film's score, "Ewoks", was composed by Peter Bernstein. At one point in the film, a few notes from Wicket's theme from Return of the Jedi can be briefly heard. This is also true for The Battle for Endor.
The film debuted with the title The Ewok Adventure as a holiday television special, airing on ABC on November 25, 1984. For its TV debut, some radio stations broadcast a simultaneous audio track in order to create a stereo experience for viewers. In the same year, the film was given a theatrical release in many countries with the title Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure.
Beginning in 1984, Random House released a series of tie-in children's books that continued the adventures of the Ewoks from the film. Each book used the film's subtitle "An Ewok Adventure" for the same purpose.
In 1985, Random House released a children's book adaptation of Caravan of Courage by Amy Ehrlich. The book was titled The Ewoks and the Lost Children, and utilized the story presented in the film, along with still images from the film, in order to tell its story. The same year, Buena Vista Records published a read-along storybook based on the film. It fills in some of the gaps in the story and at times contains different dialogue than the film.
A soundtrack to the film was released as an LP in 1986 by Lucasfilm Ltd. The release was known simply as: Ewoks. The LP was made up of the original film music composed by Peter Bernstein and John Williams.
On November 23, 2004, Lucasfilm and 20th Century Fox released the film on DVD with its theatrical title of Caravan of Courage. The DVD presents the film in its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio with a Dolby Digital 2.0 English audio track and English subtitles. The release was billed as Star Wars Ewok Adventures, a "double feature" of Caravan of Courage and its sequel, Ewoks: The Battle for Endor. The disc itself is double-sided, featuring one film on each side.
The DVD release featured no extras, only the films themselves. Eric Walker (Mace) has expressed disappointment with the DVD's lack of extras  and both he and Warwick Davis have stated in interviews that they would be happy to record a cast commentary for a DVD release, if a more elaborate release ever occurred.
During the production of Caravan of Courage, the children of the cast had to balance their school work with acting in the film. During their time on the set, Eric Walker (Mace) and Warwick Davis (Wicket), were given a camera from Lucasfilm as an educational experience. Eric and Warwick, calling themselves W&W Productions, came up with the idea for a documentary of the making of the film, which they shot all on their own. The two boys then learned to edit film and cut together the final documentary using Lucasfilm equipment. This was the only known documentary made about the film, but was never publicly released. It exists now as private "home movie" for the two.
When the Ewok films were released on DVD in 2004, some fans were expecting this documentary to be included as a bonus feature. However, the disc contained nothing but the two Ewok films themselves. This was mostly due to the small amount of time Lucasfilm had to release all of the DVDs they did that year, including the original Star Wars trilogy. In July 2006, Walker announced on his official website that he will soon publish a book about working with George Lucas entitled Growing up on Skywalker Ranch. The book will reveal new information about George Lucas and the behind the scenes work on the two Ewok films. It will include a collectible DVD featuring Walker and Davis' documentary.
The film won two Emmy Awards: one for "Outstanding Children's Programming", and another for "Outstanding Special Visual Effects".
During the Celebration IV opening ceremonies, the cast of "Star Wars in 30 Minutes" performed a skit called "Lucasfilm in Five Minutes 1983-2005", in which they re-enacted segments or imitated elements from all major Lucasfilm productions from 1983 to 2005. Both Ewok films were included in the act.
Several continuity errors are present in the film:
- Mace's right arm is swallowed by the tree creature, but in the next scene, his left hand is shown with the injury.
- At the beginning when we first see Wicket, his mother has a baby Ewok held in her left arm with nothing wrapped around it. In the next shot, she has the baby in her right arm, wrapped in a leather blanket.
- The spider that attacks the Ewok on the web bridge has visible strings.
- When Cindel is sick and coughing, a flower that Wicket gives her can be seen at her side before she has received it from him.
- In the films, Wicket's youngest sister Winda is a cradled Wokling, whereas in the animated series she is a much older Ewok, capable of independent speech and movement.
- In the film, the woodcutter Ewok Chukha-Trok is killed by the Gorax, while the character is seen to be alive and well in the Star Wars: Ewoks animated series which takes place after the film.
- In the film, there is no Imperial presence visible on Endor, suggesting the films take place before the Death Star operation began in earnest. However, an Ewok is seen with a toy of an Imperial Walker.
Since the release of Caravan of Courage in 1984, several of the elements from the film have gone on to appear in other works from the Star Wars Expanded Universe. Many times, the characters, locations, or other elements are elaborated on in greater detail.
- Return of the Ewok (1982) is an as-of-yet unreleased film, dealing with actor Warwick Davis' transformation into Wicket, as he decides to become an actor.
- Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983) featured the introduction of Wicket and the other Ewoks, in which they help defeat the Imperial Stormtroopers and the Empire, who are guarding a shield generator on the Endor moon. The generator is important in that it protects the second Death Star, which was currently being built above the Endor moon.
- Ewoks: The Battle for Endor (1985) was the second of the two made-for-TV Ewok films. It dealt with the orphaning of Cindel, after her family was killed by Sanyassan Marauders. The marauders also kidnap many of the Ewoks. After meeting and being taken in by Noa Briqualon, she, along with the Ewoks, must team up to defeat the marauders and free the others from their grasp.
- Star Wars: Ewoks (1985-1987) was a two-season animated series, featuring the Ewoks. A follow-up to the two films, it incorporated several elements introduced in the two Ewok films, such as the appearance of Queen Izrina of the fairies. Bob Carrou, who wrote the script for Caravan of Courage, went on to write a few episodes of the Ewoks animated series. One of the characters who appeared in the film, Queen Izrina of the fairies, went on to appear in an episode of the follow-up Ewoks animated series entitled The Cries of the Trees. This occurrence was most likely due to Bob Carrou's involvement in both this film and the animated series.
- Tyrant's Test (1996). According to the official continuity of the Star Wars Expanded Universe, the character of Cindel Towani went on to appear in Michael P. Kube-McDowell's Star Wars book series, The Black Fleet Crisis Trilogy, specifically, in the third novel of the series, Tyrant's Test. In the novel, which is set over ten years after The Battle for Endor, Cindel is shown to have grown to be an intelligent and idealistic woman, who has 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. It worked. Although the Expanded Universe claims Cindel decided to join the New Republic and go into journalism after witnessing the Battle of Endor, some fans speculate the Battle of Endor must've been over before she and her family crashed (see Alleged Continuity Issues).
- Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided (2003). In this MMORPG, the player has the opportunity to encounter the Gorax and the Gorax species, as seen in Caravan of Courage.
ABC initially expressed interest in having the film be a pilot for a TV series, depending on the film's success. However, Lucas wasn't interested.
A sequel—with a working title of "Ewoks II"—was filmed in the summer of 1985, and released that November 25 on ABC as Ewoks: The Battle for Endor. The sequel picks up not long after the first film, and focuses on Cindel and the Ewoks' battle against a group of Marauders— who have attacked the Ewok village, killed Cindel's parents and brother, and captured many Ewoks.
In a 1985 interview with Starlog magazine, Warwick Davis speculated that a third Ewok film was in the works, but such a project was never produced.
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Many other unidentified creatures, real, or mythical, depicted in Logray's hut murals
Vehicles and vessels
Weapons and technology
Notes and referencesEdit