- "He tests creatures for greediness and honesty. If they fail, he takes them to his Coral Castle at the bottom of the sea!"
- ―Teebo's fish friend
Elbo was an underwater monarch who dwelt on the forest moon of Endor. The king lived in a Coral Castle at the bottom of a sea on Endor, but he delighted in coming to the surface to test the integrity of the creatures that lived there. His usual test would be given when a land creature had accidentally dropped one of its possessions into the water above his home. After asking the creature what was wrong, he would proceed to show the individual items that resembled the thing they had lost. These items would usually appear to be much more valuable than their initial item, but if the creature could resist the temptation of claiming the example items, Elbo would eventually present them with both their original item and the items he had shown them as a reward for their honesty.
Eventually, Elbo came into contact with the Ewok Princess, Kneesaa a Jari Kintaka, who had accidentally dropped her ankle bracelet into the water. Elbo proceeded to perform his usual test, which Kneesaa eventually passed, claiming two new golden bracelets for her trouble. After recounting the story to her friends, Latara decided to try the test out for herself in order to receive a new flute. However, as she was greedier than Kneesaa, she ended up failing the test, and Elbo brought her back to his Coral Castle as punishment. After discovering Latara's fate, her friends set out to rescue her from Elbo's clutches. After arriving at the Coral Castle, they convinced Elbo to give Latara one last chance to pass his test. Elbo devised a new test for the young Ewok, which Latara eventually passed. Now satisfied, Elbo let the Ewoks leave his kingdom and return to the surface.
A King on Endor
King Elbo was the ruler of a sea on the forest moon of Endor around 3 ABY. He was well known to the aquatic species of the moon, but he was less familiar to the land creatures, such as the Ewoks. Elbo made his home in a Coral Castle in the depths of his sea. The large structure was self-contained and filled with air, allowing Elbo to live outside the water at the bottom of the sea. The castle was also home to several creatures that served Elbo in different capacities. Over time, Elbo had amassed a large collection of valuable items which he kept in a vast treasure room within his castle. Although Elbo's home was underwater, he occasionally surfaced to interact with the land dwellers. These encounters were usually initiated when those on the surface would drop items into the waters above Elbo's home. Before returning the item to the owner, Elbo would use the meeting to test the individual's moral integrity.
After asking what the person had lost, Elbo then presented them with several objects which were similar to the lost item. However, these objects would be much more valuable in nature, covered in gold and studded with jewels. If the owner could resist the temptation to take these items, Elbo would eventually present the original lost item. Since the creature had remained honest, Elbo would present the valuable items alongside the original object as a reward for their integrity. However, if the individual allowed their greed to get the better of them, Elbo would see fit to punish their lack of virtue. A third arm from Elbo's shell would grasp the greedy person, and he would bring the guilty party back to his Coral Castle, where the person would stay for the rest of his or her days.
Encounter with the Ewoks
- "Because you've been so honest, and you didn't take what wasn't yours, I'm giving you…all three."
- ―Elbo rewards Princess Kneesaa
Elbo eventually came into contact with the young Ewok Princess Kneesaa a Jari Kintaka. The Ewok was bringing a cart full of supplies back to Bright Tree Village with her Bordok Baga, when she decided to make a stop next to a pool that was situated above Elbo's home. While soaking her feet in the water, she accidentally flicked her ankle bracelet into the water. Sad that she had lost the possession, Kneesaa was surprised when Elbo arose from the water in a geyser of water. Towering over the small Ewok, Elbo asked the princess what was troubling her, and she hesitantly replied that she had lost her bracelet. Elbo presented her with an elaborate golden bracelet, but the Ewok—despite stating that the bracelet was indeed very nice—admitted that it was not hers. Elbo then showed her another bracelet that was studded with gems, but once again, the Ewok was honest and admitted that it was not hers. Finally, Elbo presented Kneesaa with her original bracelet, which she gladly accepted.
Elbo, impressed by the Ewok's character, presented her with the other two bracelets as a gift. After Kneesaa had thanked the king, he quickly bid her good day and descended back into the water. Kneesaa, enthused over her good fortune, resolved to return to the village and tell her friends all about the event. Seeking out her friends, Wicket W. Warrick, Teebo, and Latara, Kneesaa told them all about her encounter with King Elbo. Latara, realizing that such a creature could be easily used to her benefit, resolved to get a new flute from King Elbo in the same manner that Kneesaa had received two new bracelets. Although her friends objected, pointing out that they had made her original flute, Latara shrugged off the criticism and left to see King Elbo.
- "Is this your flute?"
"Hey, now I remember. They're all mine! I lost them all! Especially the one with the jewels."
- ―Elbo and Latara
After finding the spot where Kneesaa had dropped her ankle bracelet, Latara quickly tossed her flute into the water. Feigning distress, Latara called out that she had clumsily dropped her flute. When Elbo did not appear immediately, Latara called out again, becoming concerned over Elbo's absence. However, the king appeared shortly afterward, asking Latara what seemed to be the trouble. The Ewok asked for the return of her flute, and like before, Elbo presented a golden version of the lost item. The golden flute easily tempted Latara, and she claimed that the golden instrument "might be" hers and that she couldn't be sure. Elbo then presented the Ewok with another flute—this one studded with jewels. Latara became visibly excited over this new flute, but she greedily asked Elbo if he had any more such items down in the water. Elbo gave the Ewok one last chance, and he presented her with the original flute. However, Latara had lost her composure, and she lied to the king, claiming that all three flutes were hers. Elbo, concerned over the Ewok's greedy nature, opened a hatch in the top of his shell, revealing a third hand. Although Latara tried to flee, she was snatched up by Elbo.
With his prisoner in hand, Elbo descended to his Coral Castle. As the king and his captive left for his home, they were spotted by Latara's three friends, who had come to keep their friend out of trouble. Through the help of a small fish, the three Ewoks pursued Elbo back to his home. Before the Ewoks were able to arrive at his home, Elbo brought Latara to the Coral Castle and placed a false fish tail on her person, as well as imprisoning her through the use of a squid prison guard. However, shortly afterward, Latara's friends arrived at the castle and quickly freed their friend, removing the tail that Elbo had forced her to wear. As the four Ewoks made their way to the exit, they were stopped by Elbo, who did not wish his prisoner to escape.
The second test
- "Well, since you care so much for your friend, I'll set up a test. If she passes, she may go free, but if she fails…I get all of you!"
Elbo began to chase the Ewoks through his home, but in their hurry to escape, they took a wrong turn, which deposited them in a wooden crate which was positioned above Elbo's Ray monster. The fearsome creature began to jump and snap at the Ewoks, which left them at the mercy of King Elbo. The Ewoks pleaded with Elbo to let them go, claiming that they had only come to save their friend. Kneesaa even offered to return the bracelets that the king had given her, but Elbo was hesitant to forgive Latara for her greedy ways. Knowing how much the Ewoks cared for their friend, Elbo agreed to give Latara one more chance to redeem herself, but if she failed to pass the test, Elbo would imprison all of the Ewoks as punishment. The Ewoks reluctantly agreed to Elbo's terms, and Elbo set up a new test for Latara. He placed the Ewok in a chamber filled with riches and told her to return to him with the most valuable item in the room. Among the other items, Elbo had placed Latara's flute, the one that her friends had made for her.
As Latara struggled with the decision, having a tough time deciding which of the valuable items would be the most precious to Elbo, her friends remained in the crate suspended above Elbo's monster. As the time passed, Latara's friends began to suspect that she would not be able to fulfill Elbo's requirements, and Wicket asked Teebo to try and free them through the use of his magic. However, Teebo's efforts only resulted in the engorging of Elbo's monster, and its increased size allowed it easier access at the Ewoks in their crate. As Elbo watched, becoming increasingly amused, his monster came closer and closer to devouring the Ewoks. Just as it seemed that the Ewoks would be consumed by Elbo's creature, Latara returned from her test, clutching her old wooden flute. After declaring that the wooden flute was the most valuable item in the chamber because her friends had given it to her, Elbo declared that she had picked rightly, and he released her friends from their perilous position.
- "I guess we all learned something today."
"I sure did, my friends are the most valuable things in the world."
"Good, you may go now."
- ―Elbo and Latara
Surprised that Latara had completed his test in the end, Elbo declared that everyone had learned something, and he told the Ewoks that they were free to go. As Elbo watched, Teebo attempted to summon his small fish friend that had helped the Ewoks travel through the water before. However, instead of his fish friend, a large fish, that Teebo assumed to be his friend's cousin, arrived and created a transport bubble for the group to return to the surface in. As the Ewoks bid goodbye to King Elbo, Latara couldn't help but question the king about what plans he had for the other flutes in his possession. However, her friends quickly grabbed Latara before she could get herself into more trouble, and the group departed in their bubble.
Personality and traits
- "Now take it easy King Elbo, we're just trying to save our friend."
"I know, but…once someone has lied to me, they're my prisoner forever!"
- ―Wicket and King Elbo
Elbo was an individual who held virtue in high esteem, and he had no trouble doling out harsh penalties on those that did not conform to what he believed to be honorable behavior. When Latara failed his test, he used force to bring her back to his castle, and he intended to imprison her there for the rest of her life. However, if a creature did pass his tests, he was quite generous, giving out valuable prizes to those that had shown honesty towards him. When Princess Kneesaa passed his test, he willingly gave up two golden bracelets as a reward for her integrity.
Although Elbo could be a benevolent figure, and was genuinely pleased to see that Latara had learned her lesson when she passed his second test, he also had a cruel streak. When he imprisoned Latara, he forced her to wear a false tail, which restricted her movement and rendered her unable to escape. Elbo also allowed his Ray monster free access to the Ewoks when they were waiting for Latara to complete her second test. When the Ewoks accidentally increased the size of the monster, Elbo simply chuckled appreciatively. He was unconcerned when his monster threatened to devour the Ewoks and made no effort to stop his creature from eating the Ewoks until Latara had returned from her test.
Elbo had a unique physiology that included a large shell with three spout holes on either side. He also had three webbed hands, with one being housed inside his shell. These hands did little to support his body, as he walked upon four spindly appendages. Additionally, his neck was extendable, and it could move his head many feet from his body, allowing him to converse with people who were at a distance from his position.
Behind the scenes
King Elbo was created by Bob Carrau for use in the seventeenth episode of the second season of Ewoks, entitled "The Tragic Flute." In the episode, Elbo serves to show the viewer the value of honesty and the peril of greed. The species of Elbo and how he became king are not specified in the episode.
A production sketch for the episode labels the character "King Albo," and some of the Ewoks in the finished episode pronounce his name this way. But the article "A Star Wars CELibration" in Star Wars Insider 27 standardized the spelling as "Elbo."
Notes and references
- Ewoks—"The Tragic Flute"
- "Star Wars Publications Timeline" – Star Wars Insider 23 dates the events of the Ewoks television series, which include the appearance of Elbo in "The Tragic Flute," to three years after the events of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, which corresponds to 3 ABY, according to The New Essential Chronology.