We’re all stuck in the house, right? There’s never been a better time to dig into those retro movies that you’ve always wanted to watch, but never had the time for. Personally, I’m a bit of a retrophile and tend to watch more older flicks than newer ones. On Fangirlish, you can now look forward to a retro review from me each Wednesday in this column. I’ll be highlighting one throwback movie a week, offering a spoiler-free review of the film, any throwback thoughts from my childhood, and where you can watch the movie yourself. Sit back, relax, and enjoy #WayBackWednesday.
Happy Revenge of the Fifth, Cinco de Mayo, and a belated Star Wars Day! For the week of May the Fourth, I felt it would be fun to visit something in the Star Wars Legends category for this week’s #WayBackWednesday. I remember watching Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure (also known as The Ewok Adventure) and its sequel, Ewoks: The Battle for Endor on The Disney Channel as a kid in the late 80s. In fact, I saw those movies before I saw Star Wars and had an Ewok plushie. In fact, I still do–I have Paploo, the one who steals the speeder bike in Return of the Jedi. The Ewok films are a fun slice of the Star Wars universe that may be lesser known to modern Star Wars fandom. Did you catch Caravan of Courage back in the day? Check out the trailer for Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure and let’s get started with #WayBackWednesday.
The Ewok Adventure is a 1984 TV movie written by George Lucas (story) and Bob Carrau (teleplay). The film is directed by John Korty. The Ewok Adventure premiered on November 25, 1984, on ABC. The Ewok Adventure stars Eric Walker, Warwick Davis, Fionnula Flanagan, Guy Boyd, and Aubree Miller. The film is narrated by none other than Burl Ives. If you are curious about my fluctuation between the title, The Ewok Adventure, and Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure, it’s because, in its original USA release, the film was titled The Ewok Adventure. When it was released internationally, the film was retitled, Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure. In subsequent home video releases, the film has been released under the title, Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure.
I have no memory of my reaction to the Ewok films in the 80s, as I was about 4 years old at the time. What I do remember are the commercials I would see advertising the films on The Disney Channel. This isn’t the exact commercial that I remember, but this is about as close as I can find on the web. If anyone else has documentation of such things, I’d love to see it!
Caravan of Courage tells the story of a young brother and sister, Mace and Cindel, that are trying to find their parents after their mysterious disappearance. The two siblings meet the Ewoks and our Caravan of Courage begins.
Caravan of Courage is an interesting piece of Star Wars history for a few reasons. It’s for these historical reasons, that I think you might want to check it out.
- The film was released a little more than a year after Return of the Jedi, so fans were still riding high on the defeat of the Empire. Why not bring in a little more Star Wars cash with a TV movie?
- This film sparked not only another TV movie sequel, Ewoks: The Battle for Endor (1985), but also the 1985 Ewoks animated series, which aired on Saturday mornings on ABC.
- Eric Walker was chosen for the role of Mace in part because of his resemblance to Mark Hamill. According to IMDB, he was routinely mistaken for Hamill on set.
- Caravan of Courage takes place prior to Return of the Jedi in the original Star Wars timeline but is no longer considered “canon”. This allows fans to sidestep the question of how Wicket suddenly forgot all the English he learned from Cindel and Mace in Return of the Jedi.
- Caravan of Courage is decidedly a family film. The story is simplistic and the effects and puppetry bring to mind other 1980s family fantasy films, such as The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth. If you’d like a less-scary-than-original-Star–Wars way to introduce the littlest ones in your life to a galaxy far, far away, Caravan of Courage is a great way to do that.
Looking for something to watch for Revenge of the Fifth that isn’t one of the three main Star Wars trilogies? Want to dig into some of the lost stories of Star Wars history? Do the littles in your life really like Ewoks? Do YOU really like Ewoks? Check out The Ewok Adventure/Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure. You’ll be glad you did.
After all, this is the May.
Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure is currently streaming on Disney+.