In Defense of Ewoks and 'Return of the Jedi'

Updated on November 8, 2019
Maudo Rodriguez profile image

Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Enthusiast and Writer

Ewoks

Source

In Defense of Ewoks and Return of the Jedi

Journalists, bloggers, and just about any geek with an opinion have vented their perceptions regarding the final chapter of the Star Wars saga as it exists today. Well, here’s mine. You can find a plethora of articles claiming that “Empire was the last good Star Wars film” and that Return of the Jedi was the “...clearest example of Lucas’ willingness to compromise the integrity of his Trilogy (filmthreat.com).” The latter comment was a reference to the comedy present in the film, and yes of course, Ewoks, Ewoks, and Ewoks.

In the end, the bulk of the criticism surrounding Jedi comes down to these small tribal creatures. Seen from the perspective of a 10-year-old (the target audience of the film as it was produced), the Ewoks do not detract from the story, but rather support some of the ideas and themes of the original trilogy.

Teddy Bears In Space!

Some haters may say that the Ewoks were put into the story as a cash-grab: a cute little merchandising item that existed to sell lovable plushes and bedtime companions. Perhaps, but ask any red-blooded Star Wars-loving kid if he would rather have an action figure of Luke Skywalker or Chief Logray. A green lightsaber beats a spear every time.

Softer Princess

It's important to note that the Ewoks work. They work as compliments to two main characters developed in the series: Han and Leia. First, New Hope depicts Leia as a tough, fearless action heroine in her escape from the Death Star. She is a leader, and as Carrie Fisher points out, “the only woman in the Galaxy” who doesn’t take any guff from scoundrel smugglers and would-be hero farm boys. Likewise, Empire portrays her as a frigid prude for most of the film, unable to admit her true feelings for fear of showing vulnerability. In Jedi (bikini notwithstanding) Leia, though mostly mute in the first act, is shown strangling the fearsome Jabba the Hut with with her slave chain! Prior to this, Leia has only shown kindness and a demure nature in her consolation of Luke in A New Hope and in only a few lines of dialogue with Han as he breaks down her defenses.

When the Ewoks finally appear in Jedi, they serve to soften the Princess, indicating a more compassionate loving side. Just watch her first interaction with Wicket. Leia’s entire appearance and demeanor changes when we see her in the Ewok village. She is characterized by long, flowing hair and organic clothing, whereas earlier we had only seen her with tightly-bunned hair, braids, and fairly masculine uniforms. The culmination of her willingness to show vulnerability comes towards the end of the film as she asks Han to hold her.

Smuggler Off-Guard

In addition, Ewoks also serve as a good comedic contradiction to Han, softening his presence as well. His initial reaction to the little fur-balls, after getting captured, draws a parallel to the Empire. He instinctively pulls his blaster until Luke coaxes him to do otherwise. The first look on Han’s face upon seeing the Ewoks is a smirk of disbelief and an immediate dismissal of the tribe, until they put their spears in his face. The next thing he knows, he’s being served up as a feast for C3PO! Quite a bit of ironic justice considering Han’s treatment of the helpful droid in the past.

Ewok Empire

Furthermore, the Empire, just like Han, did not view this tribal society as any type of threat. We have to assume the Emperor was aware of their presence and chose to put his shield generator on the forest moon of Endor anyway. On paper, an uprising from these primitives against the Empire would surely result in a massacre. This shows the Emperor’s clear disdain for the creatures and his opinion of their insignificance.

No Fart Jokes

Return of the Jedi is also hated on for its moments of levity. “In what is probably the film’s single most painful moment, Solo requests Threepio to do a number of chores. After continually tapping him on the shoulder and preventing him from leaving to complete his duties, Solo quips, ‘Hurry up, will ya? I haven’t got all day.’ Har-dee-har-har (filmthreat.com).” There is some classic comedic stuff here, especially the last double-take that Threepio gives Han, implying “are you kidding me?” It still makes me smile. Many jaded adults, who think these movies are made for them, find Jedi‘s humor to be unmoving.

Ewok Zen

Ultimately, Lucas portrays the Ewoks as spiritual beings that live in harmony with nature. This makes them favored by the light side of the Force. The essence of the creatures embody the overall spirit of the Rebellion. At first glance, the struggling Rebellion appeared insignificant. They looked like a weak, outnumbered, technologically inferior, and underpowered force that dared to stand against the injustices of the mighty, overconfident, and unbeatable Empire. Palpatine viewed the Ewoks in the same way. Aside for some implied murdering and eating of our heroes early on, the Ewoks are pure and good-hearted. Their willingness to help and stand up to evil makes them a tool of the Light. Ultimately, they are a deciding factor in the war as a key ally for the Rebels.

All Is As The Force Wills It

In the end, Luke’s actions on the Death Star are wholly inconsequential. Even if he did turn to the Dark Side, kill his father, and allowed the Emperor to live, the colossal battle station would still, in the end, be destroyed. This was due to the efforts of the underestimated Ewoks.

Saga Gold

Truly, Return of the Jedi is the great, culminating chapter in the Saga (so far). From a drama or action perspective, nothing in the Saga beats the confrontation between Luke, Vader, and the Emperor in the throne room. Some may prefer Luke and Vader’s initial fight in Empire, but this Jedi scene has more going for it. Sure, in Empire, it was the first duel between the two, and contained the big reveal, but Vader is clearly toying with Luke and manipulating his feelings.

In Jedi, the odds have evened up between the father and son, and we see the Emperor’s sinister influence on their relationship. It is the pivotal moment of the Saga. We see the redemption of Anakin, the triumph of Luke over the dark side, the fall of the Empire, and the balance of the force prophesy fulfilled. This is all thanks to some help from the Ewoks along the way.

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 Maudo Rodriguez

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      No comments yet.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, reelrundown.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://reelrundown.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)