It may make you feel old, but you have to face up to the truth of the matter: This year, Ewoks celebrate their first quarter century since springing, fully-formed no matter how short, from George Lucas' fevered furry mind. And, while these days the little midget bears have come to personify everything that went wrong in the third installment of the Star Wars trilogy, it's worth remembering just how many attempts were made to make us love them, way back when. And if you think it's just haterade for the rebels' favorite furballs here, you may be surprised by the musical interlude we've got for you below.
The box office bonanza that was Return of the Jedi must've blinded many TV executives, knocking their generally-sensible selves into some kind of pliable stupor when faced with the formidable form of George Lucas back in 1983. How else to explain the two Ewok-centric quasi-sequels to Return of The Jedi, Caravan of Courage and Battle for Endor, filling in the gaps left behind by Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill with Burl Ives and Wilford Brimley? Those made-for-TV classics* (released in theaters abroad because George Lucas hates the non-Americans out there) offered up everything that fans had loved about Jedi, with the small exceptions of engaging characters, exciting action, space battles, Jedi knights, lightsabers and Darth Vader, breaking the hearts and boring the shit out of every 10 year old on the planet at the time. Or maybe that was just me.
As if that wasn't enough, there was also Ewoks, AKA The All-New Ewoks, AKA half of The Ewoks/Droids Adventure Hour. This two-year series of animated adventures seeked to further undermine the idea that anything that had the Star Wars stamp had an automatic guarantee of, you know, actually being good, although it did help explain the family tree of Wicket, Princess Leia's favorite Ewok.
Is it completely unfair to look at the attempts to force a wide variety of Ewok adventures onto an ungrateful public as one of the first signs that the post-Return of the Jedi Lucas was creatively bankrupt and willing to milk his audience dry with dull, low-grade tie-ins to his artistic lightning in a bottle? Am I so wrong to think that it was the first step down a road that would, years later, lead Lucas to convince himself that Jar-Jar Binks was a good idea that fans would grow to like if they just gave themselves enough time? Perhaps.
(* - Not really.)
Star Wars Ewok Gospel [YouTube]