Believe it or not, even in the realm of the extremely popular Star Wars franchise, there are things that hardly anyone knows about. These include the 24-minute mockumentary short called Return of the Ewok, filmed during the making of Return of the Jedi. Return of the Ewok never received a proper release, although it’s been shown at a couple Star Wars conventions. The mockumentary short stars then 12-year-old Warwick Davis, who made his cinematic debut in Return of the Jedi as the ewok, Wicket.
The original 16mm print of Return of the Ewok is said to be lost, and for a while, the only known copy was a VHS copy belonging to Davis himself. In 1999, he loaned his copy to Lucasfilm so they could make their own copy. Davis publically screened the film for the first time that same year at the very first Star Wars Celebration, and it was also shown in both 2002 and 2005 (basically, the three years that the Prequel films released). All three showings also included a question and answer session with Davis.
Also because it’s so obscure, there aren’t really any pictures worth posting.
The 2004 DVD release of the original trilogy also included a couple of bloopers from the films, along with a high quality clip from Return of the Ewok with Wicket being chased by Boba Fett on the Death Star. These bloopers were Easter Eggs. In 2005, four minutes of the film were made available on the Star Wars official website for Hyperspace fan club members. Of course these four minutes weren’t cleaned up at all, and they even altered the music in several places.
The only way to watch this mockumentary in full is to watch a bootleg copy online. The best version combines clips from the Star Wars website, combined with a camcorder recording of the movie from one of the public showings, and a couple other sources. That version is easy to find online, and also includes added credits, stretching the movie out to 25 minutes. This is the version I saw, and while it’s often hard to properly hear what people are saying in the camcorder footage, it’s so far the only way the general public can view the mockumentary in full.
But I’d say it’s worth it for hardcore Star Wars fans. Warwick Davis has proven himself a great host for Star Wars conventions. He’s funny, insightful and clearly enthusiastic. This mockumentary shows that even at 12, he had those talents. The mockumentary portrays Warwick as a young kid who really wants to be in a Star Wars movie. It teases his diminutive size in respectful ways. Once he gets the role, he starts acting like this big movie star as if he’s overconfident. It features Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher as themselves and in character, and their moments are always amusing. There are a couple moments where Davis is being chased by Star Wars villains, featuring the voice of Darth Vader’s physical actor instead of James Earl Jones.
This mockumentary is fun and that’s all I was hoping for. There’s really not much else to say about it, besides the fact that Lucasfilm should release this mockumentary with the best quality version they have. Perhaps as a bonus feature on a future release?
Next up is the conclusion of the original trilogy, Return of the Jedi. After that, we’ll take a look at the two made-for-TV Ewok movies, followed by the Prequel trilogy. Yup, The Phantom Menace was the 4th movie released theatrically, yet it’s going to be number 7 in this blogathon.