It’s a two-fer! It’s Star Wars and it’s a holiday movie! Okay, it’s technically a Thanksgiving holiday movie, but close enough.
I totally forgot about these two Star Wars TV movies. The Christmas special; yeah, that I remember (oh, god, do we ever). But not the Ewok movies. As I was relaxing, thumbing through one of my movie guides—one on sci-fi—the pages just fell open into the middle of the “E” section. And there they were. It’s fate.
Or torture, depending on your memories of the ‘80s holiday TV movies canons of Star Wars.
While the Star Wars Holiday Special followed the timeline of Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope, these two Ewok adventures continue the storyline from Star Wars: Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. This time, there’s no Luke, Leia, Han, or Chewie . . . or Art Carney (!), but we do get Warrick Davis continuing his role as Wicket from Return.
The Ewok Adventure: Caravan of Courage
George Lucas produced this ABC-TV Thanksgiving holiday teleplay by childrens animator-writer Bob Carrau, who would go on to script all fourteen episodes of the 1985 to 1987, two-season run of the Saturday morning animated series, Ewoks.
Taking its cues from Johann David Wyss’s 1812 novel Swiss Family Robinson: the Towani family’s shuttlecraft crashes on the forest moon of Endor. The four Towanis are separated. While their mother and father are captured by the giant Gorax, Mace and Cindel befriend the Ewok Deej and they go on an adventure to find their parents.
Kwoks: The Battle for Endor
The Endor Family Towani continues their Thanksgiving holiday adventures. This time, Lucas chose the Wheat Brothers, Jim and Ken (who got their start with 1979’s The Silent Scream, penned a Freddie Krueger sequel, and the Pitch Black-Riddick series), to direct this tale with the always likable Wilford Brimley (Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins) as a crusty hermit, Noa.
For a family holiday special, this Ewok adventure is a bit grusome. The army of the Marauders, led by King Terak and the witch Charal, attack the Ewok’s village . . . and Cindel’s parents and brother die in the attack. As Cindel and Wicket escape the carnage, they meet Teek. Then, along with Noa, who also crashed on Endor long ago, they team up with the Ewoks to fight Terak and Charal. The Ewoks Strike Back, if you will.
The children-oriented adventures of the Star Wars universe continued with the 1985 to 1986, fourteen episode two-season run with Star Wars: Droids. Featuring the voice of Anthony Daniels, the series followed the pre-Rebel Alliance adventures of R2-D2 and C-3PO.
As Sam points out in his review for the Star Wars Holiday Special: If you truly love Star Wars and the holidays, you have so many other ways to spend your time. Don’t give in to the forbidden fruit (the Dark Side of The Force) that is the Ewok movies.
However, if I may add: If you were once that wide-eyed tween from 1977 whose Star Wars viewings were in the high double-digits, you, by now, probably have grandkids into the new batch of Disney Star Wars movies. So don’t be a scruffy nerf herder: take a nostaligic cruise to Endor with those new Star Wars fans and share in their wonder.
You’ll be glad you did.