are a fictional species of teddy bear
that inhabit the forest moon of Endor
. They first appeared in the film Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
). They have since featured in two made-for-television
films, Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure
and Ewoks: The Battle for Endor
, as well as an animated series
and several books and games.
As presented in the films, Ewoks appear as stocky, sapient bipeds which stand about one meter tall. They have flat faces, are completely covered in fur, and have large jewel-like eyes. Both their fur and their eyes come in a variety of earth-tones, primarily brown, white, grey, gold, and black. Despite their small size, Ewoks are strong; in the climactic battle scene of The Return of the Jedi
, they are shown physically overpowering and once even throwing Imperial Stormtroopers
, though this detail is not consistent throughout the film.
Ewoks live high among the trees of their home moon's forests, in villages built on platforms between the closely spaced trees. They are shown venturing to the forest floor to hunt and set traps to catch various prey. Although extremely skilled in forest survival and the construction of primitive technology such as wooden gliders and catapults, the Ewoks have not apparently progressed past stone age
technology. They use spears and slings
as weapons,and also use hang gliders, battle wagons, and bordoks
as vehicles. They are shown to be quick learners when exposed to advanced technology with simple mechanical processes and concepts.
An "Ewokese" language was created for the films. On the commentary track for the DVD of Return of the Jedi
, sound designer Ben Burtt
explains that the language is based on Kalmyk
, a language spoken by the isolated, nomadic Kalmyk people
. Burtt heard the language in a documentary
and liked its sound, which seems very alien to Western
ears, and after some research identified an 80-year old Kalmyk refugee
. Burtt recorded her telling folk stories in her native language, and then used the recordings as a basis for sounds that became the Ewok language and were performed by voice actors who imitated the old woman's voice in different styles. For the scene in which C-3P0 speaks Ewokese, actor Anthony Daniels
worked with Burtt and invented words, based on the Kalmyk recordings.
Role in Return of the Jedi
created the Ewoks because he wanted Return of the Jedi
to feature a tribe of primitive creatures that bring down the technological Empire. He had originally intended the scenes to be set on the Wookiee
home planet, but as the film series evolved, the Wookies became technologically skilled. Lucas designed a new species instead, and says his approach was simple: Wookies are tall, so he made Ewoks short.
The Ewoks are involved in a large portion of the final installment in Lucas' original Star Wars trilogy. When the Empire begins operations on the moon of Endor, prior to the events depicted in the film, it ignores the primitive Ewoks. Princess Leia Organa, part of a Rebel strike team, then befriends the Ewok Wicket W. Warrick, a scout from said village, and is taken to meet the other Ewoks. The rest of the strike team are trapped by Ewoks and brought to the village. The Ewoks worship the protocol droid C3PO, thinking he is a god due to his shinyness and later displays of power arranged by Luke Skywalker through the Force. C3PO tells the Council of Elders the adventures of the Rebel heroes Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Han Solo. The Ewoks accept the Rebels into their tribe and ally themselves to their cause. They then help in the ground battle to destroy the Imperial shield generator on the forest floor, and their primitive weapons fell the Imperial Stormtroopers and the AT-ST walkers of the Empire. This assistance paves the way to victory at the Battle of Endor. Later that night the Ewoks are shown holding a huge celebration.
The Ewoks bear a striking resemblance in appearance, culture, and behavior to H. Beam Piper
's "Fuzzies". The Fuzzies were diminutive, furry aliens with an apparently primitive culture, and featured in Piper's science-fiction novels Little Fuzzy
(1962); The Other Human Race
(1964), later known as Fuzzy Sapiens
; and Fuzzies and Other People
which was published posthumously in 1984. The Fuzzies are also featured in subsequent novels written by other authors, such as William Tuning
's Fuzzy Bones
(1981) and Ardath Mayhar
's Golden Dream: A Fuzzy Odyssey
(1982). As in the Star Wars films, the Fuzzies were allied with a group of dissidents who opposed a monolithic invading force.