"The Cries of the Trees" is the first episode of the first season of Ewoks. Written by Paul Dini and directed by Raymond Jafelice, the episode originally aired on ABC on September 7, 1985, and served as the pilot episode to the series.
It is a time of drought. Wicket W. Warrick and his friends are in the Happy Grove searching for aura blossoms to use in the upcoming Festival of Hoods. They come across Queen Izrina and a group of Firefolk. Suddenly, a band of rakazzak beasts and Yuzzums attacks. The Ewoks escape, but the Yuzzums capture the Wistie queen. The Yuzzums bring Izrina to Morag, the Tulgah witch.
Back in Morag's lair, Umwak the Dulok shaman, begs Morag for a bug bite cure for the Duloks. She treats him to the spectacle of casting a spell on Izrina to turn the queen into an evil creature who causes anything she touches to catch fire. She releases the queen to infect the other Firefolk with the curse and to burn down the Ewoks' Soul Trees. She then gives the shaman his bug bite cure but tells him that he now owes her a favor.
Meanwhile, Paploo, Wicket, and Teebo play the forbidden game of drop the sack in the Happy Grove. They accidentally drop a sack of mud on the matronly Bozzie and then lie about what they were doing. When the game and the deception is discovered, the young Ewoks are sentenced to cleaning duty on the forest floor. As they work, Izrina flies by and sets the area ablaze. As the boys desperately attempt to put out the fire, Chief Chirpa and some other elders arrive on the scene and complete the task. They refuse to believe the boys' claims that they had nothing to do with the fire that mysteriously seemed to begin on its own. The trio is sentenced to a three-day detention at an outpost hut, watched over by Wicket's older brothers.
That night, the three young Ewoks share the same dream: The Soul Trees are burning and crying out to them for help. The Ewoks rush outside to discover that the forest is, in fact, ablaze. When they alert their warders, the cursed Izrina attacks, only to doused by water from Wicket, ending her curse. She tells them about Morag's hand in her cursing and she and all the Ewoks race for the village.
They interrupt the Festival of Hoods to inform the elders, but no one believes the prisoners who arrive first. However, while Wicket's brothers and Izrina explain the situation to Logray, the youngest Ewoks, including Malani, sense the distress of the trees. Chirpa is convinced and mobilizes the community to fight the fire, but Morag interferes by damming the river to cut off their water supply. The shaman and Wicket retrieve Logray's magic foam, which proves to be useful against the blaze and the cursed Wisties. However, Morag interferes again and damages the catapults necessary to launch the bags against the fire.
To fight the fire, Wicket volunteers to fly his Ewok hang glider above the trees to airdrop more bags of foam. The Wisties offer to lead the airborne Ewoks through the flames' dangerous convection currents safely. Wicket, Kneesaa, and other Ewoks then take to the skies and douse the flames from above.
As a result of Wicket and his friends' actions, the Soul Trees are saved. Futhermore, it begins to rain, which means the drought is over and the possibility of the Ewoks' enemies restarting the forest fire is neutralized. Bozzie is especially grateful for Wicket saving her soul tree and the two reconcile.
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Behind the scenesEdit
- This episode was released on VHS twice; in the US, it was released in 1990 by J2 Communications as part of their "The Star Wars Trilogy Animated Collection", where it was featured on the Volume 1 "Special Double-Length Edition" cassette along with "The Tree of Light". The second VHS release was in the UK. The episode was released on DVD in 2004 as part of the feature film The Haunted Village. It can be found on side 2 of the disc.
- Although this episode is the first chronologically, the DVD places this episode after "The Haunted Village," which is the second episode chronologically.
- It is in this episode where Wicket's full name, Wicket W. Warrick, is revealed.
- Malani first receives her hood in this episode. However, the later Marvel Ewoks comic issue Ewoks 2: Rites of Power, which is set before the animated series, shows her already wearing a hood. This thus creates a continuity error between the two sources.
- Chief Chirpa's line near the beginning "Ee chee. And I thought it was hot outside." may be an homage to a similar line by Han Solo in Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back.