Ushers were still sweeping up the spilled popcorn from Jedi screenings when Lucas went to work on the first Star Wars prequels. No, not those… rather, two made-for-TV movies starring the Ewoks. Lucas was determined not to make the same mistake he’d made with the notorious Star Wars Holiday Special, which he’d delegated to others, resulting in a TV experience so laughably awful, so humiliating to watch that Lucas has tried ever since to bury it.
This time, he was hands-on. So we really have only Lucas to blame for 1984’s Caravan of Courage and 1985’s The Battle for Endor. Both take place in the interval between Empire Strikes Back and Jedi. In Caravan, a family of space travelers is marooned on the forest moon of Endor and rescued by the Ewoks. In Battle (pictured), the young girl castaway from the first movie joins the Ewoks in defending the moon against marauding aliens.
Warwick Davis, who played Wicket, the Ewok with the most personality, in Jedi, Caravan, and Battle, has said that a third TV movie was in development, but never made it out of script stage. Instead, we got Star Wars: Ewoks, a cartoon series that ran 35 episodes in 1985 and ’86. (A cynic might say that these spinoffs existed only to sell toys, but then, in the era of Transformers and G.I. Joe cartoons, that was pretty much the norm.) With these three projects, the plucky comic-relief sidekicks of Jedi became the central characters, and the Star Wars franchise became strictly kiddie fare, irking older fans no end.
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