The Star Wars franchise is filled with memorable characters that evoke strong emotions. Boba Fett is almost universally loved while poor Jar Jar Binks is hated by everyone. The Ewoks are more divisive. Debuting in Return of the Jedi, they are loved by some while others feel they ruined the third installment of the original trilogy. Wicket and the rest of the Ewoks would go on to star in two live action films and a Saturday morning cartoon. Tales from the Endor Woods is a compilation featuring one of the Ewoks main rivals, the Duloks.
Saturday morning cartoons were not known for their long term storytelling. Star Wars: Ewoks was no different. Though there were recurring villains, episodes are one offs. Tales from the Endor Woods illustrates this perfectly. The four episodes all feature the Duloks but are each tell individual stories. A person can start at any point in the compilation and not miss anything. Most cartoons today have an overarching narrative. This may not seem like a huge deal, especially to children 80’s, but some may find it off putting.
The character design in the series is uninspired. It’s explained that the Duloks have warred with the Ewoks for centuries. They are introduced in shadows, described as being incredibly evil and it’s heavy implied that they’re somehow related to Ewoks. It’s not uncommon for science fiction to have evil versions of the protagonists and Dark Ewoks are an interesting idea. Then we see them. The Duloks looked like the love child of Felicia from Friday and the Grinch. Even worse, they are used as comedic foils. The Dr. Seuss similarities did not end there. The Jindas are a travelling race of minstrels that look like the Whos from Whoville. This is a surprising lack of originality from a Star Wars property. The animation is also lacking in Ewoks. The Ewoks themselves are impressively animated with great detail. Every other character in the series is dull. Along with being unoriginal, the work is simplistic. Many of the characters look alike and backgrounds are sometimes little more than a splash of paint.
Ewoks did a good job of developing the characters of the Ewoks. Return of the Jedi had already established Wicket and his tribe as curious and brave. The cartoon builds on these foundations. Wicket is still shown as headstrong, but also respects tradition and family. Logray is gruff, but we learn he’s a medicine man who provides Chief Chirpa with sage advice. The rest of Wicket’s family and friends are introduced and developed in order to round out the cast. It is all standard fare for 1980s cartoons.
Star Wars: Ewoks is a typical Saturday morning cartoon. This is definitely not something a person needs to go out of their way to see. Even a fan of Ewoks may want to sit this out. Ewoks is strictly for uber fans or nostalgia purposes.