"The Cries of the Trees" is the pilot episode and series premiere of the American animated television series Ewoks, which premiered on ABC on September 7, 1985. It was written by Paul Dini and directed by Raymond Jafelice. In 1997, "The Cries of the Trees" was compiled in the direct-to-video feature The Haunted Village.
It is a time of drought on the Forest Moon of Endor. Wicket and his friends meet Queen Izrina of the Wisties, when they are suddenly attacked by a band of Yuzzums who serve Morag, the Tulgah witch. The Ewoks escape, but Izrina is captured and brought to Morag.
Back in Bright Tree Village, the young Ewoks do their chores. Paploo approaches them and suggests that they play drop-the-sack instead. Meanwhile, in Morag's lair, the witch casts a spell on Izrina, turning the queen into an evil, flaming creature. Morag releases Izrina to infect the other Wisties and burn down the Ewoks' Soul Trees.
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 the Elders see through Paploo's hasty lie to protect himself and his friends. As such, the young Ewoks are assigned cleaning duty on the forest floor. As they work, Izrina flies by and sets the area ablaze. Chief Chirpa and some other elders arrive and put out the fire. The young Ewoks are held responsible, disbelieving their claim that the fire seemed to begin on its own since the young ones had lied before, and are sentenced to a three-day detention in a remote area under the guardianship of Wicket's older brothers.
Saving the forests
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 ablaze. When they alert their warders, the cursed Izrina attacks. Wicket douses the Wistie in water, removing the curse. Izrina tells them about Morag's scheme, and all the Ewoks hurry to warn Chirpa.
They interrupt the Festival of Hoods, but no one believes them. However, while Wicket's brothers and Izrina explain the situation to Shaman 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. Logray and Wicket retrieve 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.
Guided by the Wisties, Wicket and Kneesaa fly hang gliders above the trees to airdrop more bags of foam, saving the Soul Trees. Observing the young ones' bravery and ingenuity in this crisis, Chirpa and Logray decide that they were too hard on them, although Bozzie needs to be convinced when Wicket observes her making a last stand against the fire protecting her personal Soul Tree, and he does a precise airdrop to save both. It begins to rain, and Bozzie reconciles with Wicket.
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Notes and references
- "A Star Wars CELibration"—Star Wars Insider 27
- "Star Wars Publications Timeline"—Star Wars Insider 23 dates the events of the Ewoks animated series, which include the events of "The Cries of the Trees," 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.