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In Defense of the Ewoks

September 1, 2011 Leave a comment

I am here to officially announce my ongoing, undying support for a little tribe of bears.  These aren’t just any cute little bears, either.  They are a group of highly organized, brave warriors.  Despite being somewhat primitive, they aren’t afraid to wrap their hands (or paws?) around some technology (aka speeder bikes, AT-STs) and use it to defend their home.  May the silent minority be silent no more!  I like the Ewoks!

Many of today’s jaded fanboys will cringe at that statement.  They have to understand, however, that the statement is not the problem.  It just might be them.

As many fans anticipate the release of the Star Wars trilogies on Blu-Ray, commentaries are popping up all over the internet about what we’re going to see.  As with many things the jaded fanboys complain about, I understand their point with some things and roll my eyes at others.

I have never understood the hatred toward the Ewoks.  The only theory I can come up with is that there is just so much testosterone pumping though some fans, that if every creature in the galaxy doesn’t look and sound like Boba Fett, Greedo, Chewbacca and Darth Vader then they don’t belong. Some may even make the ridiculous claim that it’s impossible for them to exist.

The Ewoks can pwn an Empire.

If they don’t use cool blasters, fly cool ships or hold the title of badass bounty hunter, then they’re nothing more than irrelevant peons.  The implication is Ewoks are too cute and too simplistic to play a role, much less help defeat the mighty Empire.

When I hear fans complain about things like this, I am baffled by their lack of knowledge of history, mythology and story.  If you know anything about these topics you know how the Ewoks definitely belong in the Star Wars universe.

Without going into all of the historical and mythological examples that inspire the creation of such characters, let me just remind everyone that the little guy beating the giant is nothing new.  That’s what the Ewoks represent.  Some of the best stories of all time involve an underdog finding a unique way or gaining a fate-driven opportunity to overcome oppression or tyranny.

A tribe like the Ewoks wouldn’t be even living on a planet like that if they didn’t have some sense of how to live and defend their livelihood.  We see that first-hand when Luke and the rebels get caught up in their net.  Think about it, in one big swoop, they incapacitate a Jedi, a wookie and a clever, blaster-wielding smuggler.

You mean to tell me that this huge tribe of inhabitants, combined with the rebellion in a dense forest, couldn’t overwhelm the Empire?

Think about the arguments that were made against the Vietnam and Iraq war.  One of the key arguments of anti-war activists involved the deadly and overwhelmingly challenging terrain the enemies possessed and how that may get many in the world’s best military killed.  The Empire faced that same quandary on Endor.

You can’t just base your interpretation of the “details” in something like this and proclaim it as truth.  Many fanboys took a similar approach when it came to Jar Jar Binks and the Gungans.  The scenario is similar (though Naboo is no Endor) but Jar Jar was the difference maker.

When we first meet Jar Jar, he has been branded as a clumsy, scatter-brained fool who is so useless that he isn’t welcome in his own home.

Before the movie is over, we learn that even people like Jar Jar have a purpose in life.  In this case, he single-handedly brought two segregated societies together in order to preserve life and freedom on the planet. Not only is that a common historical and fictional theme, but in the mythology world, “The Fool” has a significant role in a story.

The Ewoks and Gungans, like it or not, fit into the Star Wars universe on multiple levels.  That is undeniable.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not written anywhere you HAVE to like any character in any story.  Nonetheless, when it comes to how you dislike a character, perhaps it’s best to do something Yoda might ask you to do.  That is, control your anger and don’t let it cloud your judgment.

Personal hatred of any character doesn’t always mean they don’t belong.

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