The most heartbreaking scene in Star Wars history is almost here. If you think Anakin’s antics in Revenge of the Sith were disturbing, then you weren’t a child of the ’80s, traumatized by the total carnage that throws this forgotten movie into the Star Wars pantheon, but it won’t be forgotten for long. since it’s about to land on disney+.
You wouldn’t think the Ewoks of Endor would be at the center of the toughest Star Wars movie moment of all time, would you? well, you’d be wrong. The seemingly sweet and cuddly Ewoks: Battle for Endor, which airs April 2 on Disney+, is anything but sweet and cuddly.
Shortly after Return of the Jedi, George Lucas created Caravan of Bravery for television: An Ewok Adventure, about a family that crash lands on Endor sometime before the events of Return of the Jedi. It’s a fairly simple, albeit watered down, Star Wars story. there’s mace towani, a type of luke skywalker unrelated to mace windu. his little sister is cindel. They join a group of local Ewoks to save their parents, who have been kidnapped by monsters. The mission is a success, Mace and Cindel and her parents are indoctrinated into Ewok society, and they all live happily ever after.
until they don’t.
Apparently unsatisfied with the tragedy of the Skywalker family, George Lucas decided that the Towani family had to suffer even worse. Enter: Battle for Endor, the sequel to the Caravan of Courage that delivers one of the most shocking displays of carnage in a family movie franchise, let alone a Star Wars movie.
In a positively grim Alien Move 3, Lucas decides it’s time to kill literally every member of this family except the girl. aside from maybe luke losing his hand in the empire strikes back, there really is no moment in any star wars that betrays the trust of the audience more than the first act deaths of catarine, jeremitt and mace towani in the battle for endor Cindel is helpless as he watches his entire family, the ones he rescued in the first movie, the characters that Ewok movie fans (like them) came to know, are unequivocally systematically killed.
“my family, they’re all dead”, says five-year-old cindel at one point. what’s the matter with me now, wicket? I’m all alone.”
let’s unpack this for a second.
Little kids in the ’80s were expected to see the fake luke skywalker character (mace), and their parents were killed within the first 15 minutes of the movie. i know a lot of people still talk about the trauma of optimus prime’s death in the 1986 transformers animated movie, but the visuals in the battle for endor are much harsher. And it’s not like things get any better for Cindel after the death of his family.
With new hope, after the death of Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru, Luke is allowed to have the rest of the story happen to him. battle for endor does not give cindel any sort of hero quest status. After her parents and her older brother are murdered, she is forced to rely on a bunch of teddy bears to save her from an evil witch, with the help of Wilford Brimley for good measure.
For years, various authors of the Star Wars Expanded Universe attempted to reconfigure the events of the Battle for Endor in the book and comic canon. charal, the traumatically orphaned evil witch who tortured cindel, was “revealed” as one of the dathomir force witches, which, if canon, would mean she was related to darth maul.
Meanwhile, poor Cindel reappeared in the novel Tyrant’s Test, the final installment in a trilogy of books by Michael P. kube-mcdowell called the black fleet crisis. In Tyrant’s Test, Cindel is now a journalist working at Courscant, a hilarious job set in the world of Star Wars, where people never have a clue what’s going on, and are often confused by the basic news. that happened less than a decade before .
aside from the name “mace” being reused for mace windu in the prequels (lucas had been kicking that name around for a while), one thing from battle for endor survived in contemporary canon. did you love those blurrgs that command and kuill put together on the mandalorian? Those critters are all that remains in Star Wars canon of the Towani family’s dark legacy. but, now that disney+ is releasing the ewok movies again, maybe that’s going to change.
We fully saw wicket in the final moments of the rise of skywalker, remember? do you still remember cindel? could he have his own comeback movie, or better yet, break the boba fett book? Cindel’s story had only begun at the Battle for Endor. How is life for him after leaving endor behind? how does it move forward in light of the tragic battle for endor? hopefully, it’s doing better than those of us who watched this movie as kids in the ’80s.
and on that note… are you a parent of young children now? maybe think twice before selecting the ewok movies streaming on disney+ for your kids. You may not realize it, but this isn’t a Star Wars teddy bear picnic; It’s the most hardcore star wars movie ever.
Both ewok movies, along with 2003’s clone wars, are coming to disney+ on April 2, 2021.