So, I’m working my way back through some of the books that I remember being either some of the worst books I read or those I was warned off of in the EU when I was younger. Right now, I’m working my way back through a book that I already know I can really rant on it for pages and pages, and I will. On the other hand, I’m learning some stuff about it. In comparison to Children of the Jedi, it reads like a masterpiece, it’s just some of the other bits that are just grating.
In the mean time, I owe you all something to take a look at. You get Ewoks.
At the end of the day, what are the things you remember about RotJ? The battle around the Death Star, the Sarlaac, the last lightsaber fight? Yeah, all of those are the good parts of it that I remember. Ewoks make my blood run cold.
More after the jump.
Originally, Endor was supposed to be populated by Wookies, which I can deal with. Wookies are a mean group to deal with anyway, and backing a rebel attack squad would have made for one awesome battle scene, but they went with the more kid friendly teddy bears.
Here’s what we know about Ewoks; they are a tribal society of mammals that are probably omnivorous and somewhat territorial. It also appears that the Empire was either unaware or unimpressed by these little guys. If they didn’t know about them, I can’t blame them, the Ewoks don’t seem to make their presence known until they encounter isolated groups and the Imperials have no interest in the moon beyond occupying the shield generator.
You could say that is a sign of Imperials not being as evil as they seem, if they knew about a group of primitive but intelligent aliens, why would they not be compelled to wipe them out? According to EU material, they seem eager to enslave or oppress any aliens they come in contact with. I’m calling that Rebel propaganda.
In any event, what else do we know about them? Well, the first time the majority of the party meets them, we see them capture Han, Luke, Chewie and the droids. What is the most immediate thing that they do? After finding what is apparently a god in their eyes, they pack everyone off in order to have them for a celebration.
To cook and eat them. Luke only manages to avoid being eaten along with his friends when he manipulates their religious beliefs. Alright, so we also know that they have no problem eating obviously intelligent beings. This tends to get laughed off during the course of the film, but if you stop to think about, it really changes the tone of this film.
At the end of the film, during the celebration after the Death Star is destroyed (which ought to render the planet uninhabitable, since they destroyed a nuclear reactor the size of a Star Destroyer and gravity is going to pull that debris and radioactive material down), we see Ewoks playing the drums. It’s cute, because they’re playing a happy rhythm on the helmets of their fallen enemies.
Or is it?
Where are the rest of their remains? What did the Ewoks do with them? Why are there just helmets? I mean, I assume that they disposed of the bodies, somehow. At the end of the day both sides of the civil war are people, and you respect people and you try to make sure they get some kind of proper burial, unless you’ve totally dehumanized the enemy. The rebellion is the morally superior group, right? They’d probably bury their enemies once they have the time and they have definitely won the fight and aren’t in any immediate danger.
But, they are a really small group and there’s a lot of Ewoks. I’m afraid that I have some bad news. The Ewoks have almost assuredly killed and cooked a few of those guys. They almost did it to three unthreatening guys that just wandered into their snare trap, you think they won’t to enemies they defeated in battle? Maybe they think they’ll gain their strength by doing so.
You want more evidence than that? Imagine that you’re a stormtrooper in the battle on Endor. You’re walking your patrol, looking for what’s left of the rebel force that your buddies just rounded up, suddenly, you’re surrounded by these little furry guys armed with spears and bows. This must be absurd, right? And now they’re coming at you.
We even see some of these fight scenes and again, they seem to be played for comedy. Yeah, we see Ewoks die, and it’s supposed to be tragic. And it is, you see that these things are aware of the value of their own lives, and they actively mourn their losses. But they only mourn the loss of other Ewoks.
There are scenes of the Ewoks killing troopers with stones and bolos, literally beating them to death with them large rocks. his reminds of a scene from Saving Private Ryan when a German soldier with a knife kills an American who is begging for his life while he shushes his victim. That scene disturbed me. It still does. I can’t help but equate it to being the same thing with Ewoks.
I’ve got one more bit of horror on Endor and them I’m done. The Imperial installation is destroyed, the troopers are dead and they’re disarmed. We can assume that most of the weapons are taken by the rebellion, but not all of them. Some those blaster rifles got dropped, some of them went to Ewoks. Presumably, the Ewoks have some natural predators, but as long as there are blaster rifles in their fuzzy little hands, they are now solidly in the top of the food chain.
We also have to assume that there are other tribes of Ewoks, we don’t know if they have territory disputes, but I can tell you that chimps have them. Chimpanzees have some pretty rough war, they don’t have any mercy and they tend to kill other chimps. I’m betting that the Ewoks might, but I can’t be sure, whether it’s because of the fact that they’re sympathetic to each other, or if it’s because of force parity and the desire to survive. Suddenly, this single tribe has the technology to take over the whole world. You know, Star Trek had the prime directive.
At the end of the day, these cute little guys may be the most horrifying thing about SW. Not the genocide of Alderaan, although it was awful, it was done with cold efficiency. Ewoks are killing with heat and rage and emotion. And cold dead eyes.