I’ll start this mini-review saying Return of the Ewok is quite sweet, if you can get your hands on a copy — even the bad one currently up on YouTube. This fun little 25-minute mockumentary features Warwick Davis as himself and Wicket the Ewok (inserted Forrest Gump-like) into various scenes of Return of the Jedi. There’s also many wonderful bits with the beloved and renowned Star Wars actors in fake ‘behind the scenes’ moments.
This is worth a quick view if you’re a Star Wars geek.
Return of the Ewok — why bother?
I’m going through this phase of watching everything Star Wars I can get my hands on, whether they’re good or not. For example, I recently watched the new TV series by Disney+ — The Mandalorian. That was extremely good. Then I watched The Star Wars Holiday Special, which was not good at all, but at least had the redeeming value of being singularly insane. It’s Lucasfilm at its cracked-out best, and is deeply, deeply weird. If you’re a fan, give the Holiday Special a watch just to fill your Star Wars dance card.
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Then there are the two licensed Lucasfilm Ewok movies: Caravan of Courage, and Battle for Endor. Unlike the so-bad-it’s-good Holiday Special, The Battle for Endor is bad…and boring. I just got a copy of Caravan of Courage, and I’ll review it soon, because — like Threepio — I’m made to suffer.
Looking around for what to watch, I found a rare and bad copy of 1982’s Return of the Ewok online. <—– You should try to watch this now, but don’t be surprised if it’s taken down. This featurette is unusual stuff: Warwick Davis plays both himself and Wicket the Ewok in this low-rent fake documentary (a mockumentary, actually) of how young, unknown actor Davis needed work in LA…and ran aground of Star Wars. This little special is short (25 minutes) and amusing. Here’s my commentary as I watch it.
Return of the Ewok Commentary, as I watch
- Man, but Warwick David looks young!
- Ha! Cool reference to David Prowse as a weightlifter looking for a partner. You do know he played Darth Vader’s body in the suit, right? (Not the voice…that was James Earl Jones, of course. This makes at least four actors play a version of Anakin Skywalker over the series’ run. Count em.)
- The production values are truly awful. But in a mockumentary, this might be on purpose.
- LOL, the taxi driver is totally non-plussed about having a small furry alien as his ride. Must be LA.
- Boba Fett! Mini-Boba Fett! (Played by the original Fett)
- Look at that. Harrison Ford is going along with this. Usually he’s not a fan of the Star Wars extra stuff (or even the main stuff). But Davis named his son Harrison, so I think they must have a pleasant little bromance going. Awww.
- Mark Hamill is in this too! What good sports they are.
- Ha! They are calling the new movie by the original name…this must have been before Lucas had a fan tell him to change Revenge of the Jedi it to “Return”, as revenge is not a Jedi trait.
- YAY, Carrie Fisher is in this too! Do you miss the metal Jabba bikini? Because she’s wearing it here. What a [Storm] trooper.
- Okay, I guess Davis is just appreciated by all, because now even Anthony Daniels is a part of this show. Also Chewbacca (played by the late, beloved Peter Mayhew), and R2. Cute!
- Wicket sneaks around Jabba’s palace. More fun. Wacky hijinks and ‘cantina band’ type scenes ensue, and why did I never hear of this show before? I can’t stop smiling.
- I’m not certain if this is new footage or repurchased footage. It probably doesn’t matter.
- More Boba Fett, and Davis being entirely Wicket as he wanders around the Death Star 2. I’m enjoying this.
Down to the home stretch
- Ewok Wicket wandering up to the Emperor’s Throne Chair is just…weird. But I like it.
- Vader: “Come back, Ewok! Come back, Ewok!” Ha. So much better already than the Star Wars Holiday Special.
- There’s Yoda (voiced by Frank Oz) now. This reminds me of inserting Forrest Gump into pieces of history. Seriously.
- Finally, we’ve gotten up to speed with new scenes from Return of the Jedi. But not exactly what we’ve seen in the film. Wicket wonders if he is the only Ewok out there and is very hungry. Since we see later that Ewoks eat people, I’m not sure how this works.
- Ha. I get it now. Return of the Jedi is being filmed as if Wicket saved every scene of every show. It’s pretty fun. This is so much more fun than The Star Wars Holiday Special and the official Ewok movies.
- Awww, Davis/Wicket meets up with his parents and tries to explain that Star Wars is real. All the main characters thank him for his efforts in the film, but his “parents” don’t buy it. It’s a cute ending. Especially since it seems that Warkick Davis’ actual mother and father appear here in the roles. Nicely done!
- John Williams is onboard as the song composer for Return of the Ewok. I’m seriously happy everyone joined in for this. It goes to show this was a real Lucasfilm family back in the day, with a camaraderie illustrating Star Wars at its best.
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Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)
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