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Love them or hate them – in 2015 you can’t escape them. So, to prepare for Episode VII here are some Ewok facts:
#1 George Lucas was sued for $129-million by a man who claimed Lucas had stolen the Ewoks from his script ‘Space Pets.’ Lucas denied it and three artists gave evidence that they created the Ewoks for him, having been inspired by Lucas’ Alaskan malamute dog.
#2 Director Richard Marquand said that Lucas asked him to make the Ewoks appear cuddly so that the audience would want to hug them – but Lucas’ first reaction to the costumes wasn’t good as he thought they were far too cute.
#3 The Ewoks were equally unimpressed as their costumes would fog up with sweat making it impossible to see. To keep their bearings they had to resort to picking out a large landmark to focus on just before their heads were put on!
#4 Harrison Ford was pretty brutal in his opinion and told Premiere magazine that he hated the Ewoks, saying: “it was like a teddy bear prom.”
#5 The word Ewok isn’t mentioned in the film, but six Ewoks are credited at the end of Episode VI: Wicket, Chirpa, Logray, Teebo, Paploo and Nicki.
#6 One group of Ewoks shot interiors at Elstree and one shot the forest sequences near Crescent City, California. Some Ewoks had already worked with Carrie Fisher playing Munchkins in the 1981 comedy ‘Under the Rainbow’.
#7 The Ewoks liked to joke and one day water-bombed the canteen at lunchtime dressed in full costume. Another day the production assistant arrived on set to find a note saying that the Ewoks had quit and were heading for the airport. Just as he set off in a panic their bus pulled up with them all wearing “Revenge of the Ewoks” t-shirts.
#8 Sound designer Ben Burtt created the Ewokese language from recordings of Tibetan, Kalmyk and Tagalog speakers. A particular influence on Ewokese was an elderly Mongolian lady that Burtt nicknamed ‘Grandma Vodka’ due to her enjoyment of the hard stuff during recordings.
#9 The Ewok masks were stiff and did not allow the mouths much movement, so a lot of dialogue occurs when they are filmed from behind or the side, using body language instead.
#10 Worry-bot C-3PO met the Ewoks and the actor Anthony Daniels later shared his opinion: “To my mind, if you’re 5 or 6 or 7, probably the Ewoks are pretty cute. Frankly at that age in my 30s? Not so much.”
#11 The love-it-or-hate-it-bongo-singalong: ‘Ewok Celebration’ (aka ‘Yub Nub’) was written by Joseph Williams the lead singer with Toto. You can enjoy it again here:
#12 The Ewoks went on to star in Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure, The Battle for Endor and a cartoon series.
#13 Warwick Davis who played Wicket has been signed up for Episode VII, so it is definitely time for the Revenge of the Ewoks!