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May 27, 2012

Ewokophobia: Part 2

Ewoks are so cute and kid-friendly. It’s obvious they were only included in Return of the Jedi to sell toys.

ewok village

"Bring me the head of the one they call Solo. I wish to drink wine from his skull."

The Shameless Star Wars Apologist has to concede at least one thing in this argument: the Ewoks were indeed very cute.

However, we’re having a little trouble figuring out what their cutest trait was. Was it the big puppy-dog eyes? Was it their cute, teddy bear shape? Was it their willingness to feast on human flesh? Was it their bizarre religious fanaticism centered around C-3PO? Was it the way their shaman wore that skull on his head? Or (this one gets my vote) was it their apparent willingness to kill stormtroopers without a second thought?

Couple that adorable, religious-zealot bloodlust with a unicorn and you got yourself a hot-selling toy. Someone get Hasbro on the phone!

See, for all the wailing and moaning about something cute ruining Jedi, there seems to be an unwillingness to acknowledge what appears to be a bit of a darker (albeit fuzzy) underbelly to these creatures. They’re not 100% cute and kid-friendly. Maybe you’d have a point if the Ewoks had whisked our heroes away to some Willy Wonka-esque candy factory and defeated the stormtroopers by showering them with rainbows and hugs. But that didn’t happen.

Regardless of the not-so-cute actions of the Ewoks, the other side of the argument goes that there’s simply no place for cute and fuzzy in a universe populated with so many grotesque and frightening creatures. How could teddy bears exist in a galaxy populated with slug-like Hutts and slobbering, clawed Rancors?

Well, it stands to reason that somewhere and somehow in a galaxy filled with so many planets and so many types of creatures, evolutionary processes will find a way to produce a few cute and cuddly ones. They’re not all going to look hideous and revolting.

Consider Chewbacca. He’s just a tall Ewok. In fact, George Lucas is on record saying that the Ewoks were created by re-imaginging Wookiees as a smaller race. Nobody complained about Wookiees being, if not cute and cuddly (and able to rip your arms off) at least non-hideous and non-grotesque.

A galaxy that can produce Wookiees can also produce Ewoks. And hey, if that sells toys and annoys fans, blame Charles Darwin.

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