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Star Wars: Ewoks

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Star Wars: Ewoks
Production information
Format

Animated

Episode count

35

No. of seasons

2

Run time

approx. 15–30 min. per episode

Network(s)

ABC Television Network

First aired

September 7, 1985

Last aired

December 13, 1986

Attribution information
Writer(s)
Director(s)
Executive producer(s)

George Lucas

Starring
Chronological information
Era

Rebellion era

Timeline

3.5 ABY[1]

"For two years, we had three series, Droids, Ewoks and the second season of Ewoks, that were really superior efforts as far as what's out there on television. Each one of the Ewoks episodes had the quality in artwork that went into it, and production values that you usually only see when you have a primetime special. And it was a very good effort from everybody. I'm sorry we won't be back, but we're looking ahead—onward and upward."
Ewoks story editor Paul Dini in 1988[src]

Star Wars: Ewoks is an animated television series that follows the adventures of the Ewoks of Bright Tree Village prior to the Battle of Endor.[2] The primary recurring villains are Morag the Tulgah Witch and the Ewoks' rival species the Duloks.[3] Produced by Nelvana on behalf of Lucasfilm Ltd., Ewoks was broadcast on ABC from 1985 to 1986. The first season was advertised as simply Ewoks, and was aired as part of the Ewoks and Droids Adventure Hour, whereas the second season was advertised as The All New Ewoks.

DevelopmentEdit

"I've always been interested in animation. And, again, it's a chance to experiment with ideas and new people and Star Wars characters. The Star Wars world is much easier to deal with in animation. You can be much more flexible in development of ideas. I've put off doing it for years because I didn't have the time."
―George Lucas, in Starlog 100[src]

Star Wars creator George Lucas had long been interested in animation, and had wanted to tell Star Wars stories in an animated form.[4] During production of The Star Wars Holiday Special in 1978, director David Acomba showed Lucas a recent film made by Clive A. Smith's animation company Nelvana. This convinced Lucas to hire the company to produce the animated segment for that film. Lucas was pleased with their work, and in 1984, he again hired them to work on the two animated series he was developing, Droids and Ewoks. These two subjects were chosen because they would appeal to young audiences and because, as the future of the film franchise was uncertain, they would be the least likely characters to conflict with the stories of the feature films.[5] With these two shows, Lucas (who served as executive producer) hoped to raise the standards for Saturday morning animation; he wanted the animation and voice acting to be better than the average animated series of the time.[6]

Pre-production began in May of 1984. During this time, George Lucas met with the show's producers, directors and writers, who all collaborated on story ideas. Lucas laid out his basic ideas for the series, but wasn't involved with day-to-day matters.[6] He wanted the Ewoks' culture to be based on themes universal to Earth mythology and religion, and suggested the crew read The Hero with a Thousand Faces and The Uses of Enchantment.[4] The stories were often inspired by The Lord of the Rings, Pogo and the Uncle Scrooge stories.[5] As the episodes were being worked on, rough cuts were screened for him.[6] The series was under strict broadcast standards, and there were limitations—set by ABC's Standards and Practices Board—as to what could be shown or dealt with in the episodes.[5][4] Writer Paul Dini commented on this in a 2004 interview: "...we were dealing with a regime at the network that just wanted safe children's programming. Every time we wanted to stretch it a little bit, they would kick up a fuss over it";[7] ABC rejected an episode Dini had written called "The Starman" because it was "too Star Warsy".[5] At one point, Lucasfilm considered making an animated Ewoks special in the vein of The Great Heep, but opted instead to make Ewoks: The Battle for Endor.[4]

The Korean company Hanho Heung-Up struggled with the show's designs, which often encompassed up to 24,000 cels per episode. As a result, Clive Smith moved to Korea for eight months in order to assist the company. Smith estimated that each hour-long pair of Droids and Ewoks episodes cost approximately $500,000 to $600,000 to produce,[5] making them amongst the more expensive animated series for that time.[4] He later commented on the production: "Ewoks wasn't as problematic because you could get away with more animal characters. Droids had many recognizable humanoid characters which are much harder to do and make look right".[5] Layout artist Brian Lemay had a different take: "The Droids show was much more challenging as it had far more locations and they required perspective drawing which I really enjoy (a lot more than drawing trees, that's for sure). [...] The main difference was the lack of trees in Droids. [...] I guess the other key difference was the lack of emotion in the characters in the Droids series. They always seemed to have the same emotion on their faces where as with the Ewoks they had lots of emotion, happy, sad, surprised, angry, the whole range." During production, the American animation team would often play games during down time, and would regularly play practical jokes on each other.[8] The show's "new wave" score was created by Patricia Cullen and David Shaw.[5] Each season had its own unique opening sequence; The first season's opening featured a song written and performed by the American blues musician Taj Mahal,[6][5] while the second season opening featured a different song in which the Ewoks sing a song about friendship.[5]

For the second season, Lucasfilm moved a lot of the production to their own studios, and thus exherted more direct control over the series than Nelvana. Work began on season two in late 1985. The two new executive producers—Cliff Ruby and Elana Lesser—suggested changes to the series. Some episodes were divided into two distinct, eleven-minute stories. Episodes now focused on the core characters of Wicket, Tebbo, Kneesa and Latara, with the other characters either playing lesser roles or written out entirely. Changes were made to better distinguish the Ewoks from one another and to make them distinctive. Other changes included different voice actors, new music and a new opening which utilized CGI.[4] Denny Delk, who voiced Wicket in the second season, commented on the actors' recording schedule: "We usually completed a story in about an hour and a half, unless there was something especially tricky. We'd do two or three stories in a day, and record every week or so."[9]

ReleaseEdit

Ewoks-promo

Promotional image for the series

Ewoks debuted on September 7, 1985, and ran against Muppet Babies and The Smurfs. Despite frequent schedule changes and generally low ratings, the series was renewed for a second season in late 1985. However, ratings did not improve and the series was canceled in 1986. Writer/producer Paul Dini speculated that, had the series been renewed for a third season, it would have featured more stories about Malani, Asha and the woklings.[4]

In the mid 1990s, beginning in 1994, the US Sci-Fi Channel ran episodes of the series, along with those of its counterpart, Droids, on its "Cartoon Quest" and "Animation Station" blocks of programming.[10][11]

MerchandisingEdit

In 1984, Joe Johnston wrote and illustrated The Adventures of Teebo: A Tale of Magic and Suspense, an Ewok storybook that introduced many of the elements that would later appear in the series. Also that year, Random House began publishing a series of children's books with the subtitle "An Ewok Adventure", which were meant to tie into both the series and Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure. In 1985, Kenner produced a toy line based on the series, including action figures, ship models, and other items. In 1986, Star Comics, an imprint of Marvel Comics, published a bi-monthly Ewoks comic, which was based on the animated series. The comic ran for two years, ending with issue #14. Like the TV series, this was aimed towards a younger audience. It was produced along with the Droids comic, which was based on the Droids animated series. Issue #10 of Marvel Ewoks was a cross-over with Star Wars Droids 4: Lost in Time. An LP record and a cassette featuring music from the show were released in France.[12]

In 2010, StarWars.com celebrated the 25th anniversary of both Droids and Ewoks by featuring a series of articles about the collectibles available from each series.[13] The 2013 one-shot comic Star Wars: Ewoks—Shadows of Endor was designed to tie together all the various aspects of Ewok lore.[14]

Home videoEdit

The series received its first home video release in 1990 when J2 Communications released The Star Wars Trilogy Animated Collection. The collection consisted of three VHS tapes; one tape contained one episode, while the other two tapes contained two episodes each—with one of those repeating the episode from the single-episode tape. Each tape began with a Star Wars Animated Classics trailer promoting the "Special Double Length Edition" volumes. However, for the single volume tapes, the white box covers were shown, but differing content was advertised. CBS/Fox Video also released the complete series on Region 2 VHS in the UK.[10]

On June 26, 2002, prequel trilogy producer Rick McCallum responded to a question about a complete DVD release on StarWars.com's now-defunct "Ask the Jedi Council" feature, in which he said "I hope so. Definitely. At some point after we're finished with Episode III, we'd really like to make all of that material available to our fans on DVD. Unfortunately, we won't be even thinking of making any firm plans until we're finished with this trilogy."[15] He also expressed this privately to Paul Ens.[16] According to Pablo Hidalgo, a full series release was considered as an alternative to the Animated Adventures DVDs: "I don't know what numbers are run in the mysterious background that decides to say 'You know what? That doesn't look like a product that we can move.'"[17] At 2005's Celebration III, McCallum and Lucasfilm's Vice President of marketing Jim Ward dodged questions about a complete DVD release of the series.[18] At the Celebration VI "StarWars.com and Beyond" panel, it was mentioned that both Droids and Ewoks may be streamed on StarWars.com in the future.[19]

ContinuityEdit

The Ewoks in the series speak mostly Basic, mixed with occasional words or phrases of Ewokese. Although this break from continuity is clearly for the convenience of an Earth-based audience, no official in-universe explanation has been provided. It does not appear that Ewok dialogue is translated from Ewokese for viewers, as the episode "Battle for the Sunstar" shows Ewoks communicating with Doctor Raygar and Imperial droids without a translator.

In Star Wars: Rebel Assault II: The Hidden Empire, pressing Alt-v and then typing "ovres" will turn on theatre mode, where R2-D2, Darth Vader and C-3PO watch the cutscenes and comment MST3K-style. At one point, they imitate Rookie One, saying "Let's see what's on the telly. It's the Ewoks/Droids cartoon hour! I loved that show! Especially that episode where R2 joined that cult.... and began talking like a hippie..." The novel Fate of the Jedi: Outcast also contains a reference to the show: Ben Skywalker takes a deep breath of Dorin's helium-rich atmosphere and sings, his voice "as high and ridiculous as that of an animated Ewok in a children's broadcast".[20] The developers of Star Wars Galaxies watched the entirety of the Ewoks series to prepare for creating Endor in the game.[21]

EpisodesEdit

Season Episodes First airdate Last airdate
One 13 September 7, 1985 November 30, 1985
Two 22 September 13, 1986 December 13, 1986

CreditsEdit

By type 
Cast Crew

BibliographyEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

Wiki-shrinkable
Wookieepedia has 50 images related to Star Wars: Ewoks.
  1. Tasty Taste (April 20, 2006 11:42 AM). Books, Comics, & Television VIPs. StarWars.com Message Boards.
  2. SWicon A Closer Look at the Ewoks & Droids™ DVDs on StarWars.com (content now obsolete; backup link on Archive.org)
  3. SWicon Creatures of Endor on StarWars.com (content now obsolete; backup link on Archive.org)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 Miller, Bob (1988). "Saturday Morning 'Star Wars'". Starlog Yearbook, Vol. 3.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 SWInsider small "A Star Wars CELibration"—Star Wars Insider 27
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Bantha Tracks 29 ("Miki Herman Talks TV")
  7. Blaschke, Jayme Lynn (August 14, 2004). An Interview with Paul Dini. revolutionsf.com.
  8. Kuppe, Maureen. An Animated Discussion with Brian Lemay. rebelscum.com.
  9. Aaron Snyder and Michael Streeter. Denny Delk Q&A. lucasfan.com.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Droids and Ewoks: A Home Video History. rebelscum.com.
  11. Heisey, Loren. Sci-Fi Schedules. innermind.com. Retrieved on November 29, 2014.
  12. SWicon Droids et Ewoks de Marchandises on StarWars.com (content now obsolete; backup link on Archive.org)
  13. SWicon 25 Years of Collecting Droids and Ewoks! on StarWars.com (content now obsolete; backup link on Archive.org)
  14. Ein Interview mit Zack Giallongo. starwars-union.de. Retrieved on October 24, 2014.
  15. SWicon Ewoks on DVD? on StarWars.com (content now obsolete; backup link on Archive.org)
  16. Tambone, Lou (February 27, 2004). Interview with Paul Ens. starwarz.com.
  17. Pilot, Mike (November 9, 2014). Episode XC: Pablo Hidalgo and the Dark Times. fullofsith.com. Retrieved on November 25, 2014.
  18. Rick McCallum on Star Wars: Episode III. comingsoon.net (April 22, 2005).
  19. Barrick, Mike (August 24, 2012). CVI: The StarWars.com And Beyond Panel. TheForce.Net.
  20. Fate of the Jedi: Outcast, Chapter Twenty-nine
  21. SWInsider small "GameScape"—Star Wars Insider 62
  22. 22.00 22.01 22.02 22.03 22.04 22.05 22.06 22.07 22.08 22.09 22.10 22.11 22.12 22.13 22.14 22.15 22.16 22.17 22.18 22.19 22.20 22.21 22.22 22.23 22.24 22.25 22.26 22.27 22.28 22.29 22.30 22.31 22.32 Erickson, Hal. Television Cartoon Shows: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, 1949–2003. 2nd ed. Vol. I: The Shows A–L. 2 vols. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Co., Inc., Publishers, 2005, p. 306
  23. 23.00 23.01 23.02 23.03 23.04 23.05 23.06 23.07 23.08 23.09 23.10 Erickson, Hal. Television Cartoon Shows: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, 1949–2003. 2nd ed. Vol. I: The Shows A–L. 2 vols. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Co., Inc., Publishers, 2005, p. 307
  24. SWInsider small "Wicket Unleashed"—Star Wars Insider 31

External linksEdit


Star Wars: Ewoks
Season One:
"The Cries of the Trees" · "The Haunted Village" · "Rampage of the Phlogs" · "To Save Deej" · "The Travelling Jindas" · "The Tree of Light"
"The Curse of the Jindas" · "The Land of the Gupins" · "Sunstar vs. Shadowstone" · "Wicket's Wagon" · "The Three Lessons" · "Blue Harvest" · "Asha"
Season Two:
"The Crystal Cloak" · "The Wish Plant" · "Home is Where the Shrieks Are" · "Princess Latara" · "The Raich" · "The Totem Master"
"A Gift for Shodu" · "Night of the Stranger" · "Gone With the Mimphs" · "The First Apprentice" · "Hard Sell" · "A Warrior and a Lurdo"
"The Season Scepter" · "Prow Beaten" · "Baga's Rival" · "Horville's Hut of Horrors" · "The Tragic Flute" · "Just My Luck"
"Bringing Up Norky" · "Battle for the Sunstar" · "Party Ewok" · "Malani the Warrior"
Feature-length stories:
Star Wars Animated Adventures: Ewoks
The Haunted Village · Tales from the Endor Woods
[edit]
The Star Wars Saga
Episodes
I: The Phantom Menace · II: Attack of the Clones · III: Revenge of the Sith
IV: A New Hope · V: The Empire Strikes Back · VI: Return of the Jedi
VII: The Force Awakens · VIII · IX
Spin-off films
Canon:
The Clone Wars · Rebels: Spark of Rebellion · Gareth Edwards spinoff
Lawrence Kasdan spinoff · Simon Kinberg spinoff · Josh Trank spinoff
Legends:
The Holiday Special · Caravan of Courage · The Battle for Endor
The Great Heep · The Haunted Village · The Pirates and the Prince
Tales from the Endor Woods · Treasure of the Hidden Planet
Television series
Canon:
The Clone Wars · Rebels
Legends:
Droids · Ewoks · Clone Wars
Other:
Detours · Underworld
Other media
Audio dramas · Books · Comics · Games · Star Tours I, II · Fan films
Shadows of the Empire · Clone Wars · The Force Unleashed · The Old Republic
[edit]

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