- "Those furballs are pretty fearsome warriors, despite their size."
- ―Col Serra
Ewoks were sentient, diminutive, 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 second Death Star.
Ewoks were curious individuals that stood about one meter tall; they were omnivorous and used spears, slings, and knives as weapons. For transportation, they used hang gliders, battle wagons, and bordoks. Although extremely skilled in forest survival and the construction of primitive technology like gliders and catapults, 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.
Some Ewoks were removed from their planet and taken as pets or slaves. Others left voluntarily out of a sense of curiosity, especially after the Battle of Endor led to the establishment of New Republic trading posts on the Forest Moon.
- 1 Biology and appearance
- 2 History
- 3 Family
- 4 Villages
- 5 Culture
- 6 Religion
- 7 Behind the scenes
- 8 Appearances
- 9 Sources
- 10 Notes and references
- 11 External links
Biology and appearance
- "Lives are like campfires. Some burn long, others not. My people's fires burn shorter than yours. It is biology."
Ewoks were sentient humanoid mammals, averaging about one meter in height, which could provide an advantage when trying to hide. They were covered in fur from head to toe, with brown and black the most common colors. Other Ewoks had near-white or reddish fur, but red fur is supposedly the rarest shade an Ewok can get. 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. The Human Mace Towani likened their appearance to "little bears," though they were sometimes referred to as "mini Wookiees."
- "Ewoks have a difficult time separating fact from myth. This may be the great strength of their society."
- ―Voren Na'al
Despite their primitive technology and their isolated homeworld, Ewoks were not totally unknown in the wider galaxy, even before the arrival of the Galactic Empire on Endor. As early as 3639 BBY, an Ewok mercenary named Treek became involved in the events of the Galactic War. Centuries later, during the Clone Wars, "Ewok Jerky" was sold at Power Sliders, a diner on the planet Abafar. The phrase "a Rodian in Ewok's clothing" was used by Mon Mothma in a speech she gave on Agamar before the Battle of Yavin.
The Ewoks of Bright Tree Village, led by Chief Chirpa and the medicine man Logray, had extensive contact with offworlders. These Ewoks helped the shipwrecked Humans Mace and Cindel Towani rescue their parents from a Gorax. Later, a group of Sanyassan Marauders who had crashed on the Forest Moon several decades earlier attacked the Ewoks, killing all of the Towani family except for Cindel, and taking several Ewoks prisoner. A young Ewok named Wicket Wystri Warrick helped Cindel and another shipwrecked Human (Noa Briqualon) defeat the Sanyassans, rescue the prisoners, and find the parts needed to repair Briqualon's ship. Finally, they helped stop an Imperial scientist named Dr. Raygar, who attempted to steal the sacred Sunstar and use it to take control of the Empire.
The Ewoks also had contact with the many other sentient species on the Forest Moon, such as the Yuzzums, Gupins, Lizard Warriors, and Teeks. Their cousins, the swamp-dwelling Duloks, were rivals of the Ewoks, and often made trouble for them.
Ewoks were known even to the natives of the remote Tatooine, such as Roan Novachez, who created a series of comics called Ewok Pilot about a pilot who was an Ewok. As of approximately 195 BBY, they were not represented in the Galactic Senate, despite being acknowledged as a sentient species.
When the Galactic Empire began operations on the moon of Endor, they dismissed the primitive species as harmless. However, a botched attempt at first contact with Ewoks by some Imperial soldiers resulted in Ewoks terrorizing Imperial positions. Many Ewoks were taken as slaves. Imperial operations were situated around the area near Bright Tree Village. Princess Leia Organa, part of a Rebel strike team, met and befriended Wicket W. Warrick, who took her back to his village as an honored guest.
Meanwhile, another group of Ewoks had captured Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca, Han Solo, R2-D2, and C-3PO. When the Ewoks saw the protocol droid C-3PO, they identified him as a long-prophesied god called "The Golden One." Despite Wicket and Leia's protests, Logray would have sacrificed them as a feast in C-3PO's honor. Skywalker's use of the Force combined with C-3PO'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. This assistance paved the way for the destruction of the second Death Star 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. The Ewoks were determined to save their forest by several means.
After the Battle of Endor, some Imperial propaganda stated that the Ewoks were driven into extinction due to the after effects of the battle. In fact, the Rebel forces managed to stop the debris from the Death Star II from having a serious environmental effect on the forest moon.
Hume Tarl, a surviving Imperial Stormtrooper from the battle, however, hated the Ewoks for their methods of battle, as they had killed several of his comrades in various brutal ways. He later shared his experiences to Cindel Towani, voicing his opinion on the Ewoks.
After the Rebellion reorganized into the Alliance of Free Planets, the Alliance used Bright Tree Village as their headquarters for a brief period of time. Even with the Imperial forces gone from Endor, it was a turbulent time for the Ewoks. The Hiromi instigated a conflict between the Lahsbee and the Ewoks, which was resolved through the Alliance's efforts. Soon afterwards, a second battle was fought in the skies above Endor when the Alliance was attacked by Nagai and Maccabree forces led by the self-proclaimed Dark Lady of the Sith Lumiya.
Though the Alliance forces left Endor soon after fighting off Lumiya's forces, the Ewoks had become part of the Galactic community. In the next few years, several Ewoks even found their way off Endor. The New Republic established trading posts on the Forest Moon. Most Ewoks who traveled off-world were adventurous individuals, such as the smuggler Tarfang, or the Ewok soldiers who joined the New Republic forces at the Second Battle of Coruscant in 10 ABY. By 9 ABY, there was also a significant Ewok colony on the planet Svivren, although it is not known when or how they first settled there.
On Endor itself, the New Republic later set up semi-permanent outposts (such as Salfur's Trading Post) near Ewok villages. Through these seasonally staffed outposts, the Ewoks of Endor remained in intermittent contact with the outside galaxy as non-participating members of the New Republic.
During the reign of Darth Caedus, Luke Skywalker and the Jedi forces used the Ewok's home as a temporary base before moving to the transitory mists. When asked about Wicket, Luke replied his group was on the other side of the moon. Old Imperial landing pads were still operational for the Jedi to use.
The tribal structure of the Ewoks had a Council of Elders ruling over each village, headed by a chief. A medicine man also lived in the Ewok village, a keeper of mystical lore, and a healer to the injured. The warriors of the different tribes wore ragged garments on the head to signify their tribe. The warriors also wore wooden chest shields, the jawbones of tiny animals, and sharp teeth. Some decorated themselves with ornaments such as feathers, necklaces, and pendants, making their body look like a clutter of trinkets.
Prominent members of Ewok tribes carried totems to symbolize their rank. The lead warrior wore a headdress made of feathers called the "white wings of hope." The eldest son of the tribal leader's family wore a headdress called the "red wings of courage." The second son wore the "blue wings of strength."
Unmarried male Ewoks spent much of their time living alone in the forest building their own small huts near enough to the tree city to assist the Ewoks in work. Unmarried females would leave gifts of food, clothing, or weaponry on the doorsteps of unmarried males as a sign of their attraction and to tell how much the village missed them and wished they would come back as part of a family and as the female's mate.
If the male Ewok decided to take a mate, he had to build a family hut in the tree city where he and his mate could live. The construction of a new hut signaled that the male had decided to take a mate, at which point all of the unmarried females would try to woo him. Until his home was finished, the male did not decide whom he was taking. The chosen female had the right to refuse the male or the hut he had built.
Ewoks were very closely attached to their fuzzy children called woklings. An entire Ewok village fawned over newborn babies. They always gave the children much attention, and they considered the care of their children a shared responsibility. Woklings had few rights, and the children had to learn many rituals and legends that would serve as moral guides throughout their lives. When the Ewok came of age, he or she attended the Festival of Hoods. This festival marked the transition from wokling to Ewok.
Most Ewoks lived high among the trees of the forest moon, in villages built between the closely spaced trees. 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.
In most tree cities, the village Elders ordered the largest huts built directly on the trunk of the tree. These central buildings belonged to the chief of the tribe. The chief used the largest open areas for village gatherings, meetings, council fires, and storytelling ceremonies.
Family groups kept their own dwellings in clusters on the outlying trees. Separate huts were built for unmarried females, elders, and visitors. A sealed building higher than the rest of the tree city was used as the communities' food storage.
Some Ewoks of the Bright Tree Village tribe at one time lived in isolated huts on the forest floor. They eventually moved back into the trees, however, because the ground villages left them open to attacks by the vicious Sanyassan Marauders.
Ewoks also built homes on shallow, placid lakes. The lake Ewoks built their villages on stilts out in the water. The surrounding water protected the Ewoks from large predators. These Ewoks got most of their food by setting wicker traps to catch fish in the lake. The older Ewoks spent their time harvesting marsh grasses and drying them in the sun. They then took these dry grasses and made them into mats, clothing, baskets, and decorative tapestries. The young Ewoks loved to splash in the water and dig in the mud for buried shellfish.
These Ewoks also built wooden sailboats and oars.
Some tribes of Ewoks made their homes on a rock face beside a spraying waterfall. Ewok engineers created an intricate set of waterwheels, driven by the force of the waterfall. These waterwheels drove large wooden gears that rotated grindstones, operated conveyor belts from one side of the village to the other, and ran a set of wooden elevator platforms that moved up and down the cliff.
- "They tend to poke spears in your direction, but don't panic—it's their way of showing interest."
- ―Ebenn Q3 Baobab
The Ewoks enjoyed singing and playing music during celebrations, festivals, and rituals. Ewoks also believed that music enhanced their work. Ewoks were resourceful and tended to make use of everything they could get their hands on, so they used a variety of drums, horns, flutes, and other simple instruments in their music. During the Ewok and Rebel celebration after the destruction of the second Death Star, one Ewok used a series of Imperial stormtrooper and naval trooper helmets as drums, producing a variety of tones. Ewok music also used primitive harmony.
The Ewok language was known as Ewokese. It was related to many others on Endor, including the Yuzzum language, which was recorded from off-world Yuzzum colonies and programmed into certain models of protocol droids. These relationships allowed Ewoks to communicate relatively easily with many other beings on Endor. Ewok physiology allowed them to learn and speak most other languages as well, including Galactic Basic Standard.
Hunting and trapping
- "We Ewoks hunt only when there is no other food."
Ewoks ventured to the forest floor to hunt, using stone-tipped arrows and spears as well as elaborate traps to catch their prey. Ewoks considered themselves to be great hunters.
A single hunter could snare small animals but an entire Ewok hunting party could catch animals as large as a boar-wolf. The Ewoks had created effective ways to hunt these monstrous animals using spears and poison darts. The Ewoks first set up a trap with scraps of bloody meat from a previous hunt and then they would set a vine net on the forest floor. When the wolf ran towards the meat, it would get caught in the net. Then, from the underbrush, the Ewok warriors charged at the trapped wolf. One of these boar-wolves would provide enough meat to feed an Ewok village for days.
Smaller game was killed with small sling nets. When a creature stepped into a loop it set off a pressure trap. A pinned sapling would break free and fling the animal into the nearest tree.
Tek swee was a trap whose name translated into Basic as "head hitter." This trap was a common defense against the Gorax. When a Gorax attempted to raid a Ewok village, the Ewok warriors would let loose a massive log roped onto trees. The log would swing into the Gorax like a giant battering ram. Many of the various traps set for Goraxes were used against the Empire in the battle of Endor with great success.
Another food source for the Ewoks were mattberries that they squeezed for juice. These juices were mixed with water and fermented into a bitter brew.
The "Tribal Games" were a series of games that Ewoks from scattered tribes came to play. There was much dancing and storytelling, but there were also far more dangerous events. Tree-jumping was a popular game among young Ewoks. The Ewok would climb the highest lifetree and leap off the highest limb. They had to catch themselves on the lower limbs until they descended all the way to the ground. An Ewok who missed could be seriously injured.
Ewoks were sometimes known to smoke combustible substances in pipes, for recreational or spiritual purposes.
Throughout the year, Ewoks hold extravagant festivals of the rain, the sun, springtime flowers, fruits, and love. These involved tribe and family groups coming together to feast, sing, dance, and generally have a good time. They also had certain "Dark Rituals" involving bloody sacrifices. These were held at night under the light of smoky bonfires, into which the Ewok shamans tossed the leaves of hallucinogenic herbs, to cause the Ewoks to have vivid dreams. Ewoks generally considered Hallowe'en, where they would dress up as ghosts, the best celebration of the year.
Weapons and equipment
- "Though they show no scientific skills of their own, many Ewoks are inquisitive about technology, occasionally to their detriment."
- ―Pfilbee Jhorn
The Ewoks used a variety of weapons that included knives, stone spears, slingshots, and bows and arrows. During the Battle of Endor, they threw large rocks at stormtroopers, used ropes to dismount scout troopers from their 74-Z speeder bikes (breaking the scout troopers' necks in the process), and used logs to trip and crush AT-STs.
Their arrows were tipped with a potent neurotoxin, ensuring that anyone who was shot by them would die in an extremely gruesome manner; even seemingly minor wounds would result in the victim clawing off any headgear (if wearing any) and gasping for air, the neurotoxin paralyzing every muscle in the victim's body, including their lungs, as evidenced by Hume Tarl's recollections of the Ewoks' fighting style from his participation in the Battle of Endor.
They also utilized a pit trap that they often lured their enemies into by running away and thus triggering the traps to have them impaled by stakes fixed to the ground.
They often held down their enemy, removed any helmet, and bludgeoned them with stone axes and knives made of volcanic glass.
In addition, Hume Tarl implied that the Ewoks, after killing any stormtrooper they could find, stole their blasters and used them against the Imperials. They also were at least familiar with the movements of walkers, as evidenced by two of the Ewoks piloting Tempest Scout 2 alongside Chewbacca shortly after hijacking it.
- "They're using a very primitive dialect, but I do believe they think I am some sort of god."
For the forest dwellers, the surrounding giant trees played an important cultural role. These hunter-gatherers were a deeply spiritual people. They believed themselves to be descendants of the Great Tree, a sacred tree in the forests. The Ewok religion was based on nature worship. Many religious ceremonies were arranged to please various gods of weather, trees, the hunt, engineering prowess, and fertility. Darker spirits symbolized the dangers of the forest. The Ewoks held magnificent festivals of rain, sun, spring flowers, and fruits. There were also "Dark Rituals" involving bloody sacrifices. The rituals were held at night under the light of burning bonfires. The shamans tossed the leaves of hallucinogenic herbs into the fire, which caused the Ewoks to have vivid dreams.
Every village appointed its own mystic or shaman. The shaman was sometimes simply the village con artist, who made up answers about what the gods wanted and how they could be pleased. Others had genuine abilities, sometimes showing abilities similar to Force-sensitives. For the shaman's services, the village gave the shaman anything he or she wanted, including crystals, shells, polished skulls, and other treasures the shaman found interesting. Many shamans wore large animal skulls on their heads.
Shamans were the tribal healers, usually relying on vile-smelling herbal medicines. Many types of fungus, lichens, roots, berries, flowers, epiphytes, and bark were used, with varying medicinal effects.
The Ewoks called the massive coniferous trees that filled the forest moon "Soul Trees" or "Life Trees." The Ewoks had a deep religious connection with these trees. For every wokling born, a seedling was planted by the village. Throughout that Ewok's life, he or she was linked to their totem tree. When the Ewok died, it was believed their spirit would go to live inside their own totem tree.
In times of crisis, the village shamans would attempt to contact the ancient spirits that lived within the oldest trees for advice and guidance. The shamans insisted that it was a private ritual. The Ewoks never questioned the sacred advice brought back by the shamans, though they had never heard these ancient voices before.
The Ewoks worshiped a massive pantheon of gods and spirits, including the following:
Behind the scenes
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 proficient with technology. 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). 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. In the director's commentary for the 2004 re-release of Return of the Jedi, as well as the documentary Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy, Lucas also cited the Viet Cong as the primary inspiration for the Ewoks, particularly their defeat of the Galactic Empire.
In 2005 on the Dark Horse message boards, Randy Stradley claimed that, along with Vulptereens, Ewoks are among the species mentally unable to manipulate the Force and as such can't become Jedi. However, Geonosis and the Outer Rim Worlds, released a year before, depicted an Ewok Jedi.
The Ewok tribe from Return of the Jedi subsequently appeared in two television specials, Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure (1984) and Ewoks: The Battle for Endor (1985), and the cartoon series Ewoks (1985 – 1987). Lucasfilm considered these works canon before the 2014 rebranding. Cindel Towani, a character from the TV movies, appeared in the later novel Tyrant's Test.
Some Legends sources have attempted to clear up confusion about the fate of Endor after the destruction of the second Death Star by stating that most of the debris was vaporized or the Rebels intercepted it. In "Apocalypse Endor," a story in Star Wars Tales issue #14, an Imperial veteran of the Battle of Endor claims that the Ewoks on Endor died off due to the debris from the Death Star, but a cantina patron corrects him by saying the Rebels prevented any environmental disaster.
Notes and references