Ewoks: The Battle for Endor

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Ewoks: The Battle for Endor
Ilm-ewok2.jpg
GenreAdventure
Family
Fantasy
Science Fiction
Distributed byABC
Directed byJim Wheat
Ken Wheat
Produced byThomas G. Smith (producer)
Ian Bryce (associate producer)
George Lucas (executive producer)
Screenplay byJim Wheat
Ken Wheat
Story byGeorge Lucas
StarringWilford Brimley
Warwick Davis
Aubree Miller
Paul Gleason
Carel Struycken
Niki Botelho
Eric Walker
Siân Phillips
Music byPeter Bernstein
CinematographyIsidore Mankofsky
Editing byEric Jenkins
Production companyLucasfilm
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Original channelABC
Release date
  • November 24, 1985 (1985-11-24)
Running time94 min.
 
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Ewoks: The Battle for Endor
Ilm-ewok2.jpg
GenreAdventure
Family
Fantasy
Science Fiction
Distributed byABC
Directed byJim Wheat
Ken Wheat
Produced byThomas G. Smith (producer)
Ian Bryce (associate producer)
George Lucas (executive producer)
Screenplay byJim Wheat
Ken Wheat
Story byGeorge Lucas
StarringWilford Brimley
Warwick Davis
Aubree Miller
Paul Gleason
Carel Struycken
Niki Botelho
Eric Walker
Siân Phillips
Music byPeter Bernstein
CinematographyIsidore Mankofsky
Editing byEric Jenkins
Production companyLucasfilm
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Original channelABC
Release date
  • November 24, 1985 (1985-11-24)
Running time94 min.

Ewoks: The Battle for Endor (later re-released on home video as Star Wars: Ewok Adventures – The Battle for Endor) is a 1985 made-for-TV movie set in the Star Wars galaxy co-written and directed by Jim and Ken Wheat who wrote the screenplay, with George Lucas writing the story. 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.

Setting[edit]

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[edit]

While preparing to leave the forest moon of Endor, the Towani family (Jeremitt, Catrine, Mace, and Cindel), 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. Cindel escapes, but is forced to leave Jeremitt, Catrine and Mace to their probable doom, both parents having already been hit by enemy fire. Their fate is not explicitly told in the film, but Cindel later assumes that they have been killed.

While running away from the carnage, Cindel and Wicket meet Teek, a small fast native of Endor. Teek takes them to the home of Noa Briqualon, a human man who is angered by their uninvited presence and throws them out. Eventually he proves himself to be a kindhearted man, letting Teek steal food for them and inviting the two in when they attempt to build a fire for warmth.

At the marauders' castle, Charal is ordered by Terak to find Cindel, assuming she knows how to use "the power" in the energy cell stolen from Jaremitt. Meanwhile, Noa, Cindel, and Wicket are becoming friends. It is revealed that Noa is rebuilding his own broken Star Cruiser, only missing the energy cell.

Cindel is awakened one morning by a song her mother used to sing to her. She follows the voice to find a beautiful woman singing. The woman transforms into Charal, who takes her to Terak. He orders her to activate "the power." When she cannot, she and Charal are both imprisoned with the Ewoks. Outside, Noa, Wicket, and Teek sneak into the castle, making their way to the cellblock, where they free Cindel and the other Ewoks. They escape with the energy cell.

Terak, Charal, and the marauders trace them back to the ship, where Wicket leads the Ewoks in defense of the ship, and Noa installs the energy cell in his ship. The Ewoks put up a valiant effort, and are nearly beaten by the time Noa powers up the ship and uses its 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 and Noa face off, with Wicket finally coming to the rescue, killing Terak and simultaneously leaving Charal trapped in bird form for eternity.

Shortly thereafter, goodbyes are said as Noa and Cindel leave the forest moon of Endor aboard Noa's starship.

Cast[edit]

Actor/ActressRole(s)
Wilford BrimleyNoa
Warwick DavisWicket
Aubree MillerCindel
Siân PhillipsCharal
Carel StruyckenTerak
Niki BotelhoTeek
Paul GleasonJeremitt
Eric WalkerMace
Marianne HorineYoung Witch
Daniel FrishmanDeej
Tony CoxWilly
Pam GrizzShodu
Roger JohnsonLieutenant
Mike DirntCard Player #1
Johnny Weissmuller Jr.Card Player #2
Matthew RoloffEwok with Crutches

Production[edit]

Creation and crew[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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 Marauders 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 the unspecified planet Mace and Cindel are originally from.

Alternative versions[edit]

Soundtrack[edit]

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

Later Expanded Universe appearances[edit]

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.

Adaptations[edit]

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.[citation needed]

Release[edit]

Ewoks: The Battle for Endor initially premiered as an ABC TV special on November 24, 1985. It was released theatrically in the UK as a limited run in the Spring of 1986. After the run had disappeared due to low box office receipts, it appeared on home video in late 1987 on MGM/UA and re-issued for retail in 1988 and 1990. The US later released on VHS and Laserdisc in 1990 through MGM Home Video.

The only theatrical trailer for the film was issued only once in a short run and only widely available on the UK release of MGM's Spaceballs rental video cassette.

The film was released on DVD with its predecessor as a double feature collection entitled Star Wars: Ewok Adventures on November 23, 2004 via 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. The release was a single double-sided disc, with one film on each side. Fox had reported of bonus material for the release including behind the scenes footage shot during the making of the films that was made for an ABC Special (but never finished), but no bonus material was eventually included with the DVD upon release.

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