When people are asked about Star Wars, the most obvious thoughts immediately come to most everyone old enough to know what it is: Darth Vader, Yoda, Luke Skywalker, and even newer generation fans can quickly relate and come back with characters from the prequel trilogy, such as Anakin and Obi-Wan Kenobi (even though both names and characters appeared in the original trilogy, they're still more commonly referenced with the prequels as the dominant characters).
To quote the newest film, "there has been an awakening in the force." Star Wars, since its acquisition by Disney, had put a huge foot out into the world lately, with new cartoons and movies already planned and lined up for the next few years. But, what about the old shows and movies that were never in the original trilogy layout? I don't mean the Holiday Special; while it did bring a huge introduction with the notorious Boba Fett, it was still Star Wars' greatest failure. George Lucas himself even said something about smashing every copy in existence with a hammer if he had time.
No, ladies and gents, I'm talking about these long lost gems:
The Ewok movies were a great addition to the Star Wars Universe. While the cast of the first film, Caravan of Courage, didn't have very many notable cast members, it was narrated by Burl Ives, and Warwick Davis reprised his role as Wicket, the lovable Ewok that first found Princess Leia on Return of the Jedi after her speeder bike crashed.
The film centered on two children, Mace and Cindel Towani, who become separated from their parents after crashing on the forest moon. Soon discovered by the Ewoks, the two children and a small band of the Ewoks go on a quest to find their parents and rescue them from a creature known as the Gorax. Once reunited, the Towanis decide to spend their time on Endor among the Ewoks until their ship can be repaired and they can leave the moon.
The follow-up film, The Battle for Endor, picks up very soon after Caravan of Courage ends, with the Towanis still working on their starship. Very soon, they are ambushed by a band of marauders led by Terek and obsessed with "the power (energy cells)." A fast fight ensues, leaving the entire Towani family dead, except for Cindel. Captured but soon able to escape, Cindel and Wicket (once again played by Warwick Davis) find themselves lost, only to stumble on a ramshackle dwelling in the middle of nowhere.
It is soon unveiled that the home is not abandoned, but home to an old man named Noa (brought to life by the one and only Wilford Brimley), and his small Endor-native friend, Teek. Noa, rough around the edges, is reluctant to warm to the newcomers, but soon shows himself to be a kindhearted man.
A witch named Charal, who is under the employ and command of Terek, soon lures Cindel away from the safety of Noa and the Endor natives, and spirits her away as a prisoner to Terek's castle. Noa, Teek, and Wicket mount a rescue, and along with Cindel, manage to also reclaim an energy cell and free a band of Wicket's Ewok brethren. The band makes their way to Noa's own starship, and soon, with the power of the energy cell and a brief hand-to-hand with Terek, the marauders are beaten and flee into the forest. The film ends with Noa and Cindel leaving Endor, in search of a new beginning.
The films themselves are exceptional and a delight, yet they seem to have slipped through the cracks and vanished over the years. They were available on DVD for a time, but that time didn't last long, and when it was over, the movies themselves were seemingly forgotten again.
Along with these films, the 80's brought two cartoon series into the fray:
Limited episodes of each were also released on DVD along the time the Ewok films hit the shelves, but they too soon vanished, except on obsure TV channels. The entire series of either show has never had a full release to video, although both shows did warrant their own lines of action figures.
What shall the future with Disney hold for these missing links in the Star Wars Universe? Are they to forever remain in the past, or is there hope for them to resurface as remastered and available once again?