Originally, Lucas was to have staged the crucial land battle in Jedi on a planet of Wookiees. Imagine a whole world of giant, hairy, badass Chewbaccas ripping the arms off of imperial stormtroopers – how cool would that have been? (Judging by the brief Wookiee battle scene that Lucas finally got to stage in 2005’s Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, pretty damn cool.) Instead, Lucas essentially shrank the furry warriors down to teddy-bear size, switched around the syllables in their name, and gave us a race of cuddly, adorable, tribal woodland folk who were, improbably, able to defeat an imperial army with rocks and giant logs.
The Ewoks marked the beginning of the infantilization of Star Wars that would come to full fruition with Jar Jar Binks and the moppet Anakin Skywalker in 1999’s Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, but in the mean time, we’d have to sit through two Ewok spinoff TV movies (more on these, later), an animated Ewok TV series, and the chirpy natterings of the initial Ewok tribe every time we re-watched Jedi over the years.
The culmination was that party scene at the end of Jedi, where the ferocious fuzzballs sang and danced to a song called “Ewok Celebration” composed by Star Wars scorer John Wiliams, with “yub-yub” lyrics by his son Joseph Williams, then the frontman for the band Toto. Seriously, why should anyone affiliated with Toto have been allowed anywhere near the forest moon of Endor?
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