In 1983, as the anticipation of “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi” was building to a fever pitch young kids everywhere were starved for knowledge of the upcoming sequel. There were bits and pieces released such as Luke Skywalker’s fateful confrontation with Darth Vader. What was going to happen to Han Solo since he had been encased in carbonite. Who is the Emperor and is he really in charge of Darth Vader? But most kids wanted to know about the teddy bear like Ewoks.
Kids had seen glimpses and upon the release of the movie they were head over heels for the Ewoks. In the popular Kenner action figure line, kids hunted for Chief Chirpa, Logray the Ewok Medicine Man, and of course Wicket. They were the hot toys along with the Ewok Village of 1983. The characters from the movie proved to be so popular that they were spun off into an animated Saturday morning cartoon series. “Ewoks” aired for two seasons from 1985-1987. The Ewoks starred in two live-action made for TV movies, “Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure” and “Ewoks: The Battle for Endor.”
Somewhere along the way it became uncool to like the Ewoks. They became the basis for fan anger towards the conclusion to George Lucas’ original trilogy. How could these cute and cuddly, wild creatures help to take down the evil Galactic Empire? Because the Ewoks are a bunch of savage butt-kickers fighting the good fight, that’s how.
Now Dark Horse Comics has brought back the fun of the Ewoks in a new one-shot graphic novel story by Zack Giallongo, “Star Wars: Ewoks – Shadows of Endor.” This 80 page full color story, depicts the days leading up to “Return of the Jedi” on the planet Endor. It is in the spirit of the “Ewok” cartoon series with all of the popular Ewoks and their rivals the Duloks. The story will win over the imagination of kids young and old and even those who once anticipated the introduction of the Ewoks 30 years ago.
The story is about the tribe of Ewoks led by Chief Chirpa, but the real stars are the younger generation who believe the story of a wounded Dulok when the elders of the tribe would not. The Dulok speaks of the “Skull Ones” who have enslaved his people.
Led by the Princess Kneesa A Jari Kintaka, Paploo and Wicket W. Warrick embark on an adventure to free the enslaved Duloks and discover if the legendary beast known as the Griagh is real. What ensues is a daring journey that puts the Ewoks young and old through a variety of perils where they first encounter the Stormtroopers of the Empire.
Giallongo does not try to reinvent the Ewoks for a modern time, he doesn’t have to. In providing a new introduction to the Ewoks, the writer/artist brings out the wonder of the Ewoks in a straight forward, uncomplicated story. The artwork gives the book a stylized cartoon look with basic panel layouts to keep the narrative flowing. The Ewoks in the movie were very similar in design with the main difference being their fur color; the artwork in this book brings out the animated look from the cartoon where each character’s design says something about their personality.
“Star Wars: Ewoks – Shadows of Endor” is light hearted and designed to appeal to the crowd that is the same age as the kids who fell in love with the Ewoks in 1983. The story is a nice lead up to the events of “Return of the Jedi” and it is nice to see what was happening on Endor before the Rebels arrive to put an end to the Empire.