Ewoks originate from the Star Wars films. In the series, they are a species of teddy-bear-like hunter-gatherer that inhabit the forest moon of Endor. They first appeared in the film Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983). They have since featured in two made-for-television films, Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure and Ewoks: The Battle for Endor, as well as an animated series and several books and games.
As presented in the films, Ewoks appear as stocky, sapient bipeds which stand about one meter tall. They have flat faces, are completely covered in fur, and have large jewel-like eyes. Both their fur and their eyes come in a variety of earth-tones, primarily brown, white, grey, gold, and black. Despite their small size, Ewoks are strong; in the climactic battle scene of The Return of the Jedi, they are shown physically overpowering and once even throwing Imperial Stormtroopers, though this detail is not consistent throughout the film. Ewoks live high among the trees of their home moon's forests, in villages built on platforms between the closely spaced trees.
An "Ewokese" language was created for the films by Ben Burtt, Return of the Jedi’s sound designer. On the commentary track for the DVD of Return of the Jedi, Burtt explains that the language is based on Kalmyk, a language spoken by the Kalmyk people of Russia. Burtt heard the language in a documentary and liked its sound, which seems very alien to Western ears. After some research, he identified an 80-year old Kalmyk refugee. Burtt recorded her telling folk stories in her native language, and then used the recordings as a basis for sounds that became the Ewok language and were performed by voice actors who imitated the old woman's voice in different styles. For the scene in which C-3PO speaks Ewokese, actor Anthony Daniels worked with Burtt and invented words, based on the Kalmyk recordings.
The Ewoks are involved in a large portion of the final installment in Lucas' original Star Wars trilogy. When the Empire begins operations on the moon of Endor, prior to the events depicted in the film, it ignores the primitive Ewoks. Princess Leia Organa, part of a Rebel strike team, then befriends the Ewok Wicket W. Warrick, a scout from said village, and is taken to meet the other Ewoks. The rest of the strike team are trapped by Ewoks and brought to the village. The Ewoks worship the protocol droid C-3PO, thinking he is a god due to his shininess and gold coverings and a later display of power arranged by Luke Skywalker through the Force. C-3PO tells the Council of Elders the adventures of the Rebel heroes Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Han Solo. The Ewoks accept the Rebels into their tribe and ally themselves to their cause. They then help in the ground battle to destroy the Imperial shield generator on the forest floor, and their primitive weapons fell the Imperial Stormtroopers and the AT-ST walkers of the Empire. This assistance paves the way to victory at the Battle of Endor. Later that night the Ewoks are shown holding a huge celebration.
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