Ewoks were a diminutive species of furry bipeds native to the forest moon of Endor. They were most notable for helping the Rebel Alliance defeat the forces of the Galactic Empire at the Battle of Endor, allowing the shield generator there to be destroyed, and in turn, the DS-2 Death Star II Mobile Battle Station.
Ewoks were individuals that stood about one meter tall. They used spears, slings, and knives as weapons; they also used hang gliders as vehicles. Although skilled in forest survival and the construction of primitive technology, the Ewoks had yet to progress past stone-level technology when discovered by the Empire. They were quick learners, however, when exposed to advanced technology with simple mechanical processes and concepts.
Biology and appearance[edit | edit source]
Ewoks were sentient humanoids, averaging about one meter in height. Omnivorous, they were covered in fur from head to toe, with brown and black as the most common colors. Most Ewoks had solid-colored fur, though a few sported stripes. Ewoks had large, bright eyes, small humanoid noses, and hands that possessed two fingers and an opposable thumb. Despite their small size, Ewoks were physically strong enough to overpower combat-trained humans.
History[edit | edit source]
- "Well, short help is better than no help at all."
- ―Han Solo reluctantly accepts the Ewoks' help in the Battle of Endor
Despite their primitive technology and their isolated homeworld, Ewoks were not totally unknown in the wider galaxy; during the Clone Wars, "Ewok Jerky" was sold at Power Sliders, a diner on the planet Abafar.
When the Galactic Empire began operations on the moon of Endor, they razed an Ewok village to erect a shield generator complex, forcing the few that survived to a close neighboring village led by Chief Chirpa. Princess Leia Organa, part of a Rebel strike team, met and befriended Wicket W. Warrick. After meeting him, Organa and Warrick saw a pair of Imperial stormtroopers confronting two other Ewoks, but the Rebel princess and Ewok were able to defeat the two soldiers.
Organa was taken back to the Ewok village as a guest. Meanwhile, however, another group of Ewoks captured her fellow rebels, Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca, Han Solo, R2-D2, and C-3PO. When these Ewoks saw the protocol droid C-3PO, they identified him as a god. Despite Wicket and Organa's protests, the Ewok shaman Logray attempted to sacrifice them as a feast in C-3PO's honor. Skywalker's use of the Force to make C-3PO levitate combined with the droid's warnings soon changed Chief Chirpa's mind, however.
That night, C-3PO told the Council of Elders the adventures of the Rebel heroes. The Ewoks accepted the Rebels into their tribe, and allied themselves to their cause. The Ewoks helped in the ground battle to destroy the Imperial shield generator on the forest floor, and their primitive weapons felled the stormtroopers and the scout walkers of the Empire, although they took many losses to Imperial blaster fire. Their assistance paved the way for the destruction of the DS-2 Death Star II Mobile Battle Station and the Rebel victory at the Battle of Endor. Later that night, the Ewoks held a huge celebration that could be heard throughout the forest.
As a manner of recompense for saving Endor, some Ewoks agreed to travel offworld to help Rebel veterans recuperate, working with Doctor Arsad as "therapy Ewoks." Therapy Ewoks were offered to those who had suffered the horrors of war, such as witnessing tragedy, and needed help with their recovery. Those that found this option distasteful were sometimes given the use of a therapy droid instead.
When a galaxy-wide uprising against the First Order erupted, one of the worlds to rise up was Endor. Warrick and his son, Pommet Warrick, witnessed the destruction of a First Order Resurgent-class Star Destroyer by a Holdo maneuver.
Culture[edit | edit source]
- "They're using a very primitive dialect, but I do believe they think I am some sort of god."
By the time of the Galactic Civil War, the Ewoks had reached a level of civilization where they engaged in religious, artistic, medical, and even political activities, and spoke in their own native tongue of Ewokese. Nevertheless, they still focused most of their energies on the daily provision of food. They had acquired knowledge of pottery, hunting, the construction of complex wooden structures and the creation of fire. While most of their lives would be spent in the treetops, several members of the tribe would be required to venture out on the forest floor to forage for berries, gather herbs, and hunt. During warm summer months, some Ewoks stayed in fishing villages or hunting and farming lodges on the forest floor. Utilizing ponies and bordoks to haul loads of supplies between settlements, they nonetheless kept their guard up for ferocious predators and other sentient creatures such as the Yuzzums.
Ewoks lived high among the trees of the forest moon of Endor, in villages built between the closely spaced trees. The canopies of the great trees were filled with watchers who could alert the tribe of approaching gorax or condor dragons, and could use gliders to patrol the lands beyond their local village. Bachelors, on the other hand, often lived on the ground and kept watch for even greater dangers such as Duloks, who often emerged from the swamps to prey on Ewoks and lantern birds.
The Ewoks were a deeply spiritual people. They revered the surrounding giant trees and believed themselves to be descendants of the "Great Tree," a sacred tree in the forests. The conifer trees where Ewoks lived were also fire resistant, and served as a natural insect repellent.
The basic design of a tree village had a "Central Village" of thatched-roof huts on the primary limbs. These huts were high enough above the ground to be out of reach of predators. Suspended bridges connected the gaps between trees, adjoining distant huts. Knotted rope ladders allowed access up or down. Food, kindling, and other provisions would be kept under the floor of the Ewoks' houses, while woven sleeping mats and furs were stored in the lofts above. Hoods, capes, and tools hung on the walls.
In Ewok society, the most important people were the chief, the medicine man, and the Council of Elders, with a different council leading each individual Ewok tribe.
The Ewoks enjoyed singing and playing music during celebrations, festivals, and rituals. During the Ewok and Rebel celebration after the destruction of the Death Star II, one Ewok in Bright Tree Village used a series of Imperial stormtrooper and naval trooper helmets as drums, producing a variety of tones.
The Ewoks used a variety of weapons that included nets, knives, stone spears, slingshots, bows, arrows, wooden battering rams, rolling logs, and catapults. During the Battle of Endor, they threw large rocks at stormtroopers, used ropes to dismount scout troopers from their speeder bikes, and tripped and crushed the larger AT-STs with logs. Notable hunters slit the throats of Imperial officers with their knives.
In addition, they were at least familiar with the movements of walkers, as evidenced by two of the Ewoks piloting an AT-ST alongside Chewbacca shortly after hijacking it.
Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]
George Lucas intended that a primitive race should overthrow the Empire in what was intended at that time to be the final episode, and had originally planned to use Wookiees, but decided against it after it had been established that Chewbacca was already proficient with technology at that point. His answer was to create a new race called Ewoks, which is "Wookiee" with the syllables reversed (and altered to resemble the name of a Native American people).
In the audio commentary for the 2004 re-release of Return of the Jedi, as well as the documentary Empire of Dreams, Lucas also cited the Viet Cong as being the primary inspiration for the Ewoks, particularly their defeat of the Galactic Empire.
The Ewoks are never referred to by name in Return of the Jedi's dialogue; the name only appeared in the script directions, the novelization, the movie's credits, and other spin-off and promotional materials.
Appearances[edit | edit source]
Non-canon appearances[edit | edit source]
- Star Wars: Jedi Temple Challenge – "Episode 1" (Stuffed toy)
- Star Wars: Jedi Temple Challenge – "Episode 6" (Stuffed toy)
- Star Wars: Jedi Temple Challenge – "Episode 7" (Stuffed toy)
- Star Wars: Jedi Temple Challenge – "Episode 8" (Stuffed toy)
- Star Wars: Jedi Temple Challenge – "Episode 9" (Stuffed toy)
- Star Wars: Jedi Temple Challenge – "Episode 10" (Stuffed toy)
- Disney Infinity 3.0
- Star Wars Epic Yarns: Return of the Jedi
- LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures – "Return of the Return of the Jedi"
- LEGO Star Wars: Droid Tales Episodes I-III
- LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens
- LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
- Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes
- The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special
Sources[edit | edit source]
Notes and references[edit | edit source]
- Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi
- Star Wars: The Visual Encyclopedia
- Ultimate Star Wars
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Missing in Action"
- Return of the Jedi: Beware the Power of the Dark Side!
- Star Wars: Forces of Destiny – "Ewok Escape"
- Aftermath: Life Debt
- Last Shot
- Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker