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Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure

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Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure

Caravan of Courage:
An Ewok Adventure
The film's tagline:
"You'll live the adventure... You'll love its heroes."
Genre Adventure
Family
Fantasy
Science Fiction
Written by George Lucas (story)
Bob Carrau
Directed by John Korty
Starring Eric Walker
Warwick Davis
Fionnula Flanagan
Guy Boyd
Aubree Miller
Narrated by Burl Ives
Theme music composer Peter Bernstein
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
Production
Producer(s) Thomas G. Smith (producer)
George Lucas (executive producer)
Patricia Rose Duignan (associate Producer)
Editor(s) John Nutt
Cinematography John Korty
Running time 96 min.
Production company(s) Lucasfilm
Korty Films
Distributor ABC
Release
Original channel ABC
Original release
  • November 25, 1984 (1984-11-25)

Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure (previously released on home videos as The Ewok Adventure) is a 1984 American made-for-TV film based in the Star Wars universe. It was released theatrically in Europe as Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure, and is known by that title today. The film focuses on the struggles of a brother and sister, stranded on the forest moon of Endor, in locating their parents, who have been kidnapped by a monster known as the Gorax. The film is set sometime between the fifth and sixth episodes of the Star Wars saga. It is the first of two spin-off films featuring the Ewoks from Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.

Contents

  • Setting 1
  • Plot 2
  • Cast 3
  • Production 4
    • Inspiration and creative control 4.1
    • Crew 4.2
    • Effects 4.3
  • Soundtrack 5
  • Documentaries and commentary 6
  • Adaptations 7
  • Sequels 8
  • Later Expanded Universe appearances 9

Setting

The film is set sometime between Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. As the film opens, the Towani family's starcruiser has crashed on the forest moon of Endor, and the Towani parents, Jeremitt and Catarine cannot locate their children, Mace and Cindel.

Plot

On the forest moon of Endor three years after the Battle of Yavin, the Towani family starcruiser lies wrecked. The Towani family (Catarine, Jeremitt, Mace, and Cindel) are stranded. When Catarine and Jeremitt vanish, the children are found by the Ewok Deej. After Mace tries to kill them, the Ewoks subdue him and take both children to the Ewoks’ home. There, Cindel and Wicket become friends. Shortly thereafter, the Ewoks kill a beast only to find a life-monitor from one of the Towani parents with the creature.

They seek out the Ewok Logray who informs them that the parents have been taken by the monstrous Gorax, which resides in a deserted, dangerous area. A caravan of Ewoks is formed to help the children find their parents. They meet up with a wistie named Izrina and a boisterous Ewok named Chukha-Trok before finally reaching the lair of the Gorax. They engage the Gorax in battle, freeing Jeremitt and Catarine, but Chukha-Trok is killed. The Gorax is thought destroyed when it is knocked into a chasm, but it takes a final blow from Mace (using Chukha-Trok’s axe) to kill the creature, which tries to climb back up after them. Thus reunited, the Towanis decide to stay with the Ewoks until they can repair the starcruiser, and Izrina leaves to go back to her family.

Cast

Production

Inspiration and creative control

The original impetus for The Ewok Adventure was an idea

Crew

Working from a story written by George Lucas, and a screenplay by Bob Carrau, director John Korty transformed the scenic northern California redwood forests into the forest moon of Endor. Joe Johnston, an art director at Industrial Light & Magic for years and one of the key concept artists of the classic Star Wars trilogy, acted as production designer. Prior to this movie, Johnston had written and illustrated a book about Ewoks, The Adventures of Teebo: A Tale of Magic and Suspense. This gave him a background to the arboreal aliens that was crucial in designing new Ewoks and their surroundings.

Effects

Both Ewok films were some of the last intensive stop-motion animation work Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) produced, as by the early 80s, the technique was being replaced by go-motion animation, a more advanced form with motorized articulated puppets that moved while the camera shutter was open, capturing motion blur in the otherwise static puppet, eliminating the harsh staccato movement often associated with stop-motion. However, the budgets of the Ewok films were such that go-motion was simply too expensive for the projects, so stop-motion was used to realize creatures such as the condor dragon, the blurrgs, and the boar-wolves.

The Ewok movies proved an opportunity for ILM to hone a technique from 2001: A Space Odyssey. The technique, used in photographing matte paintings, is called latent image matte painting. In this technique, during live action photography, a section of the camera's lens is blocked off, remaining unexposed, and a painting is crafted to occupy that space. The film is rewound, the blocked areas reversed, and the painting photographed. Since the painting now exists on the original film, there is no generational quality loss.

Soundtrack

Peter Bernstein composed the film's music, and selections from the score were released on LP by Varèse Sarabande in 1986. The release was known simply as Ewoks and also contained cues from Bernstein's score to Ewoks: The Battle for Endor.

Documentaries and commentary

During the production of The Ewok Adventure, the children in the cast had to balance their school work with acting in the film. During their time on the set, Lucasfilm decided that it might be an educational and rewarding experience for the older children, Eric Walker (Mace) and Warwick Davis (Wicket), to be given their own camera to use between takes. So, calling themselves W&W Productions, Eric and Warwick shot a documentary of the making of the film, but the documentary was never publicly released, and exists now as private home movies to the two.

When the film was released on DVD in 2004 it contained nothing but the film itself. Eric Walker and Warwick Davis stated in interviews that they would be happy to record a cast commentary for another future DVD release, if Lucasfilm someday allowed a more detailed release of the films.

Adaptations

In 1985, Random House released a children's book adaptation of The Ewok Adventure by Amy Ehrlich, titled The Ewoks and the Lost Children, and utilized the story presented in the film, along with stills from the film.

Sequels

A sequel to this movie released in 1985. While the sequel's working title was simply Ewoks II, it was released as Ewoks: The Battle for Endor. According to an interview with Warwick Davis, a second sequel, known only as Ewoks III, was in at least the planning stages around the late eighties, but never happened. The plot of the film was unknown.

Later Expanded Universe appearances

Since the release of The Ewok Adventure in 1984, several elements from the film have gone on to appear in other works from the Star Wars Expanded Universe. Many of the characters, locations, or other elements are elaborated on in greater detail.

  • Ewoks: The Battle for Endor (1985) was the second of the two made-for-TV Ewok films. It dealt with the orphanage of Cindel, after her family was killed by Sanyassan Marauders. The marauders also kidnap many of the Ewoks. After meeting and being taken in by Noa Briqualon, Cindel, along with the Ewoks, must team up to defeat the marauders and free the others from their grasp.
  • Star Wars: Ewoks (1985–1987) was an ABC animated series featuring the Ewoks that ran for two seasons. A follow-up to the two films, it incorporated several elements introduced in the two Ewok films, such as the appearance of Queen Izrina of the Wisties.
  • Tyrant's Test (1996) - According to the official continuity of the Star Wars Expanded Universe, the character of Cindel Towani went on to appear in Tyrant's Test, the third book of Michael P. Kube-McDowell's Star Wars book series, The Black Fleet Crisis Trilogy. In the novel, set over ten years after The Battle for Endor, Cindel is shown to have grown to become a reporter on Coruscant. During the Yevethan crisis, Cindel received the so-called Plat Mallar tapes from Admiral Drayson, and leaked the story of the only survivor of the Yevethan attack of Polneye. The report was meant to garner sympathy among the people of the New Republic and the Senate. It worked. The Expanded Universe claims Cindel decided to join the New Republic and go into journalism after witnessing the Battle of Endor.
  • Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided (2003)
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