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Ewoks: The Battle for Endor
Directed by Jim Wheat
Ken Wheat
Produced by Thomas G. Smith
George Lucas (executive)
Written by George Lucas (story)
Jim Wheat
Ken Wheat
Starring Wilford Brimley
Warwick Davis
Aubree Miller
Paul Gleason
Carel Struycken
Niki Botelho
Eric Walker
Siân Phillips
Music by Peter Bernstein
Distributed by ABC
Release date(s) November 24, 1985
Running time 94 min.
Country United States
Language English
Preceded by Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure

Ewoks: The Battle for Endor (1985) is a made-for-TV movie set in the Star Wars galaxy. A sequel to Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure, it focuses on Cindel Towani, the little girl from the first film, who, after being orphaned, joins the Ewoks in protecting their village and defeating the evil marauders who have taken control of the Endor moon.

Contents

Setting

The film is set sometime after the Ewoks animated series, and sometime between Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. Nearly six months have passed since the events of the first film, and the Towani family's starcruiser is almost completely fixed, and Jeremitt is putting the final touches on the craft.

Cindel and Wicket have been walking in the forest together, picking flowers. Wicket has picked up some English (Basic, as it is called in the Star Wars Expanded Universe) from Cindel and her family.

Plot

On the forest moon of Endor, the Towani family (Jeremitt, Catrine, Mace, and Cindel) prepare to leave. Repairs are nearing completion on their crashed star cruiser. As Jeremitt works on the ship, the Ewok village is attacked by a group of marauders (originally crash landed from Sanyassa) led by Terak and his witch-like sorceress Charal. Many Ewoks are killed, along with Catrine and Mace. Terak confronts Jeremitt at the ship wanting "the power", the power cell for the star cruiser. Terak takes the cell and kills Jeremitt. Cindel escapes while Ewoks are gathered up to be taken back to the marauder's castle. Cindel's escape is short-lived, though, as she is captured by Charal and placed in a prisoner carriage, where she is reunited with Wicket.

With the other Ewoks' help, the two escape from the carriage, pursued by a few marauders, eventually hiding in a cave in a nearby mountain. Wicket builds a hang glider for them to escape from the only other cave opening. A dragon-like creature in the cave is disturbed by their activities and attacks them, taking Cindel as it flies from the cave mouth. Wicket follows with the glider and saves her, though they both crash back to the forest below. They hide again in a hollow tree and awaken the next morning to meet Teek, a speedy creature also native to the forest moon. Learning that they need food, Teek takes Wicket and Cindel to the home of Noa Briqualon, a human man who has also been stranded there. When he arrives home to find Wicket and Cindel in his house, uninvited (at least not by him), he is angered and throws them out. Teek sneaks them some food, using his incredible speed, which Noa allows, since he really isn't the "mean old man" he'd appeared to be. When Wicket and Cindel try to start a fire for warmth, Noa invites them in. That night, Cindel has a dream that the marauders have come for her. She awakens with a start, and once again, Noa shows his fatherly nature in calming her.

At the marauders' castle, Charal tries to use her magic to draw "the power" from the energy cell, to no avail. She is ordered by Terak to find Cindel, for she must know how to use "the power." Noa returns home later in the day with a surprise - a new bed for Wicket and Cindel. They return the favor with a surprise of their own - enough of a type of flower to make a pie. He allows them to stay another night. When Noa leaves the next day, they follow him and discover he has a starship of his own, which he is repairing. It appears that he and his friend Salak crashed on the planet years before, and the crash destroyed their power drive crystal, and Salak went to find another, never to return. Now that Noa has the ship repaired as best he can, all he needs is a power drive crystal like the energy cell Telak captured from the Towanis.

That evening, Cindel tells Noa of her family and their adventures thus far on Endor. As Noa, Wicket, and Teek sleep the next morning, Cindel is awakened by the sound of a woman singing a song her mother used to sing to her. She follows the voice to find a beautiful woman. Wicket finds that she is gone and he and the others race to Cindel, but arrive too late. The woman transforms into Charal, who takes Cindel prisoner and brings her before Terak, who orders her to activate "the power." When she cannot, she and Charal are both imprisoned with the Ewoks. While Noa, Wicket, and Teek make their way to the castle to free Cindel and the other Ewoks, Charal tells Cindel that it was Noa's friend Salak (now lying dead, as a skeleton, in the cellblock) who spoke of "the power" to be found in the energy cells. Terak killed him for not turning over that power. Outside, the trio of unlikely heroes sneak into the castle, making their way to the cellblock, where they free Cindel and the other Ewoks. A marauder sounds an alarm bell, and as the marauders head for the cellblock, Noa blasts a hole in the wall to escape through.

As they escape, Cindel mentions the fate of Salak, prompting Noa to take the energy cell with them. Terak frees Charal to help him find Noa's ship. The marauders trace them back to the ship, where Wicket leads the Ewoks in defense of the ship, and Noa tries the captured energy cell to get his ship up and running. The Ewoks put up a valiant effort, and are nearly beaten when Noa powers up the ship and uses the ship's laser cannons to fend off the marauders. When Cindel goes to save Wicket, she is captured by Terak, even as the other marauders retreat. Terak releases Cindel as he and Noa fight for the energy cell. Noa is nearly killed, but Wicket uses a rock sling to hit a ring Terak is wearing on a string around his neck - the ring that allowed Charal to change forms, which he had taken from her to keep her in raven form so she could track the group without betraying him. The ring proves to be his downfall, as its released power burns him to a crisp. Charal flies away forever trapped in raven form. Shortly thereafter, goodbyes are said as Noa and Cindel leave the forest moon of Endor aboard Noa's starship.

Cast

Actor/Actress Role(s)
Wilford Brimley Noa
Warwick Davis Wicket
Aubree Miller Cindel
Siân Phillips Charal
Carel Struycken Terak
Niki Botelho Teek
Paul Gleason Jeremitt
Eric Walker Mace
Marianne Horine Young Witch
Daniel Frishman Deej
Tony Cox Willy
Pam Grizz Shodu
Roger Johnson Lieutenant
Michael Pritchard Card Player #1
Johnny Weissmuller Jr. Card Player #2

Production

Creation and crew

The film, shot in summer 1985 in Marin County, California, was directed by Jim and Ken Wheat, executive produced by Lucas, and written by the Wheat brothers, based on a story written by Lucas. Co-director Ken Wheat explained the production and inspiration of the film in an interview with EON Magazine:

"Lucas guided the creation of the story over the course of two four-hour sessions we had with him. He'd just watched 'Heidi' with his daughter the weekend before these took place, and the story idea he pushed was having the little girl from the first Ewok TV movie become an orphan who ends up living with a grumpy old hermit in the woods."
"We'd been thinking about the adventure films we'd liked as kids, like Swiss Family Robinson and The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad, so we suggested having space marauders, which was fine with George -- as long as they were 7 feet tall, of course! The rest of the brainstorming was done along those lines. Joe Johnston (the production designer and second unit director) and Phil Tippett (the creature supervisor) were involved in the second day's story session, and they contributed an assortment of bits and pieces."

Lucas’ involvement primarily was in the design and editing stages, according to Wheat.

Effects

Both Ewok films were some of the last intensive stop-motion animation work Industrial Light & Magic produced, as in the early 80s, the technique was being replaced by go-motion animation, a more advanced form with motorized articulated puppets that moved while the camera shutter was open, capturing motion blur in the otherwise static puppet, eliminating the harsh staccato movement often associated with stop-motion. However, the budgets of the Ewok films were such that go-motion was simply too expensive for the projects, so stop-motion was used to realize creatures such as the condor dragon, the blurrgs, and the boar-wolves.

The Ewok movies proved an opportunity for Industrial Light & Magic to hone a new technique in photographing matte paintings, called latent image matte painting. In this technique, during live action photography, a section of the camera's lens blocked off, remaining unexposed, and a painting would be crafted to occupy that space. The film would then be rewound, the blocked areas reversed, and the painting photographed. Since the painting now existed on the original film, there would be no generational quality loss.

Selected plot elements

While the original Star Wars trilogy only had the Force, magic and mysticism were quite prevalent in the Ewok films. Witches, wizards, giants and fairies filled the forests of Endor - Logray uses a magical spinning lantern to divine the location of the missing Towani parents; an enchanted lake momentarily traps Mace behind an unbreakable barrier; the Ewok priestess Kaink carries a magical staff capable of mesmerizing animals. In Ewoks: Battle for Endor, the evil witch Charal dons a magical ring that allows her to change shape into a raven.

The Ewok films introduced a variety of lifeforms to Endor. The giant Gorax had packs of deadly boar-wolves that prowled the forest floor. Hunting the skies of the moon is the leathery condor dragon. The Maurauders ride atop dim-witted blurrgs, dinosaur-like beasts of burden. The scout Noa has a little rodent-like companion named Teek who could run at blindingly fast speeds. The films also had more earthen animals - ferrets, llamas and horses. The film also features dialogue referring to Earth, being where Mace and Cindel are originally from.

Alleged continuity issues

Disputes in Star Wars fandom have arisen over the fact that the official Star Wars continuity places the two Ewok Films before Return of the Jedi. Since Wicket is shown to understand what is observed as English-Basic in Ewoks: The Battle for Endor, his inability to speak or even understand Basic to Princess Leia when he runs into her in Return of the Jedi is seen as problematic. According to the official timeline, he would have understood her, despite the fact that he doesn't appear to.

While fans have speculated about this, one possible explanation was given by the official Star Wars website, which stated that the language Cindel spoke could actually have been a different language than Basic, and it was merely translated to English in the film, for the audience to understand. Thus, Wicket doesn't understand what Princess Leia is saying when those two meet. Also featured extensively in the films was Ewokese, the language developed by Ben Burtt for the Ewoks. A similar explanation to this was later given by Star Wars prequel trilogy producer, Rick McCallum.

The use of what is seemingly Basic by the Ewoks was also seen in the Ewoks animated series.

However the new release of Return of the Jedi contains a scene at the end of the movie where the Ewok woodsman Chukha-Trok is present at the celebration in the Ewok village after the downfall of the Galactic Empire and the destruction of the second Death Star. If the Ewok Adventure: Caravan of Courage came before Return of the Jedi it is logical that Chukha-Trok should not have been in this scene since he was supposed to be dead.

Alternate versions

  • In a home video release, the following two scenes were deleted: when being chased by Terak's men, Wicket races for Noa's house but Noa tells him the only chance they've got is the star cruiser. Then a scene that happened shortly after where the men went inside and burned down Noa's house.
  • When Cindel has a nightmare about bad guys coming into Noa's house, a scene was cut from the television broadcast, in which Cindel rushes to Noa's bed to wake him up, but instead finds Terak in the bed and wakes up. The television version just shows Cindel waking up after the men break in.
  • Cindel's lines: "Do something, Wicket! Use your sling! You hit the ring!" have been altered to "Do something, Wicket! Do something!" for the DVD release.
  • In the original TV broadcast of the film, the end credits rolled over the final scene, but all home-video releases of the film have the end credits rolling after the final scene, and the credits roll over a traditional black background.

Soundtrack

The original soundtrack album

Peter Bernstein composed the film's music, and selections from the score were released on LP by Varese Sarabande in 1986. The release was known simply as Ewoks, and also contained cues from Bernstein's score to The Ewok Adventure.

Sequels

According to an interview with Warwick Davis, a second sequel to the original film, known only as "Ewoks III", was in at least the planning stages around the late eighties, but the project has been shown to have never come through. The plot of the film, if one was ever developed, was never published.

Later Expanded Universe appearances

Since the release of The Battle for Endor in 1985, several elements from the film have gone on to appear in other works from the Star Wars Expanded Universe. Many times, the characters, locations, or other elements are elaborated on in greater detail.

  • Star Wars: Ewoks (1985-1987) was an ABC animated series featuring the Ewoks that ran for two seasons. A follow-up to the two films, it incorporated several elements introduced in the two Ewok films, such as the appearance of Queen Izarina of the fairies.
  • Tyrant's Test (1996) - According to the official continuity of the Star Wars Expanded Universe, the character of Cindel Towani went on to appear in Tyrant's Test, the third book of Michael P. Kube-McDowell's Star Wars book series, The Black Fleet Crisis Trilogy. In the novel, set over ten years after The Battle for Endor, Cindel is shown to have grown to become a reporter on Coruscant. During the Yevethan crisis, Cindel received the so-called Plat Mallar tapes from Admiral Drayson, and leaked the story of the only survivor of the Yevethan attack of Polneye. The report was meant to garner sympathy among the people of the New Republic and the Senate and it worked. The Expanded Universe timeline states Cindel decided to join the New Republic and go into journalism after witnessing the Battle of Endor.
  • The Illustrated Star Wars Universe (1997) by Kevin J. Anderson explains the origins of Charal in relation to The Courtship of Princess Leia, in that it reveals that the Nightsisters were a group of rogue Jedi, who learned to twist the Force to produce magical results. Since this particular use of the Force contradicted the beliefs of the Jedi order, the Nightsisters were banished from the order, and sent to their own planet. It is revealed that Charal, the witch who kidnaps Cindel in The Battle for Endor, is one of these Nightsisters, and was once a Jedi.
  • HoloNet issue #49 (2002) was an issue of the in-universe news report. In the "regional" section of this issue, the article "Moddell Starship Search Abandoned", explains that the search has been called off for the rescue of Salek Weet and Noa Briqualon, which had been funded by Salek's father, Jimke Weet. The search was said to have been called off due to the fact that Jimke had to file bankruptcy due to his expenses in the search.
  • Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided (2003) is a MMORPG. In the game, when exploring the forest moon of Endor, the player can run across the base of the Sanyassan Marauders, who were originally seen in The Battle for Endor. The player may also encounter the Nightsisters, of whom Charal was a member.
  • Geonosis and the Outer Rim Worlds (2004) was a sourcebook for the Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game. In it, Terak's son Zakul takes over rule of his Marauders after Terak's death. The book gives Terak's bio and stats. It explains his death, and the rise of his son, Zakul.

Adaptations

The cover of The Ring, the Witch, and the Crystal: An Ewok Adventure.

In 1986, Random House published a children's book adaptation of The Battle for Endor called The Ring, the Witch, and the Crystal: An Ewok Adventure. The book was written by Cathy East Dubowski, and utilized the film's story and images from the film.

The title is an allusion to The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis, and maybe influenced by its Inklings' companion J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal.

Release

2004 DVD release cover

Ewoks: The Battle for Endor initially premiered as an ABC TV special on November 24, 1985. It was later released on VHS and Laserdisc in 1990 through MGM Home Video.

The film was released on DVD with its predecessor as a double feature collection entitled Star Wars: Ewok Adventures on November 23, 2004. The release was a single double-sided disc, with one film on each side.

Features:

  • Presented in its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio
  • Available Subtitles: English
  • Available Audio Tracks: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)

See also

References

  • Ewoks: The Battle for Endor, 2004 DVD release
  • Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure, 2004 DVD Release
  • Return of the Jedi, 1983, Richard Marquand
  • The Illustrated Star Wars Universe, 1st edition, 1997. Kevin J. Anderson, ISBN 0-553-37484-2
  • The Courtship of Princess Leia (Star Wars), 1st edition, 1994. Dave Wolverton, ISBN 0-553-08928-5
  • Return of the Ewok, 1982, David Tomblin
  • Tyrant's Test, (Book 3 of The Black Fleet Crisis), first paperback printing, 1996. Michael P. Kube-McDowell, ISBN 0-553-57275-X
  • The Essential guide to Characters (Star Wars), 1st edition, 1995. Andy Mangels, ISBN 0345395352
  • Endor and the Moddell Sector, article from Star Wars Gamer magazine, Issue #9
  • HoloNet News #49 - ( Read the article)
  • Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi junior novelization, 2004, Ryder Windham

External links

Official sites

Reviews








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