Return of the Jedi is kind of ambiguous about the nature of the, um, "relationship" between the Ewoks and the Imperial troops manning the outpost on the moon. Specifically, I'm wondering if the Battle of Endor is the first real conflict between the Ewoks and the Empire or if they have interacted before this.

Clues that suggest that this might be the first time:

• The trooper who is attempting to arrest Leia is surprised and quite distracted when Wicket bonks him on the shin. (not super-confident about this one; feel free to debate)
• Some Ewoks apparently don't understand the power of an AT-ST; they try to take one down by throwing rocks and others attempt to use a hand-held rope to trip one (which turns into a hilariously unfair game of tug-of-war)
• When our heroes are escorted out of the bunker and surrounded by 50 or so Imperial troopers, they are unable to immediately react when the Ewoks begin their attack. It's like everyone was thinking, "Uh, oh—what's going on?!"
• The scout troopers and Stormtroopers seem to have difficulty defending themselves against the Ewoks, almost as if they weren't expecting them or were not familiar with how they fight.

Clues that suggest that this is not the first time:

• They have two massive logs suspended by rope, designed to swing down to just the right height to crush an AT-ST's cockpit. So obviously some Ewoks must have known how tall AT-STs were and how much force it would take to destroy them (which likely couldn't have been discovered outside of battle).
• They have a container full of logs that they release down the slope to trip another AT-ST. That trap is obviously designed specifically against a walker, so again, they knew their enemy.
• They not only know the location of the back door to the shield generator's control bunker, they know that it is a back door. How could they have figured out that it's a back door unless they've observed its use (probably in battle) as it relates to the other entrance?
• Also, see Were the Ewoks already planning an offensive or revolt?

Are the inconsistencies simply due to the inexperience/ignorance of individual Ewoks and troopers, or is there a canon solution to the apparent contradiction?

  • 2
    The biggest clue this is the first time: stormtroopers don't cower in fear at the first sight of Ewoks.
    – void_ptr
    Commented Dec 13, 2016 at 18:33
  • I don't have a good answer for you, but none of the "not" clues seem very convincing.
    – DCShannon
    Commented Dec 13, 2016 at 18:33
  • As I've pointed out in my answer here, the Ewoks built the traps the night before; scifi.stackexchange.com/a/145002/20774
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 13, 2016 at 18:41
  • @Valorum But what about the information needed to make the traps work successfully?
    – Bob
    Commented Dec 13, 2016 at 18:49
  • @void_ptr Haha ;) Excellent point, though!
    – Bob
    Commented Dec 13, 2016 at 18:51

1 Answer 1


In Star Wars Legends, the Ewoks and the Empire had already met before the film takes place. Their first meeting after the Empire chose Endor as the construction site for its second Death Star battlestation. At that point in time, the Empire was looking for a suitable base planet to build the second Death Star in orbit of. After an Imperial scouting crew encountered the native Endor Ewok population, they were subjected to the Ewok's mischief, but the Ewoks were deemed to pose no threat. After the Empire set up base camp on Endor, the native Ewoks and the Imperial army had several small scuffles and battles until the Rebel Alliance arrived and the events of the film transpired.

So, to answer your question, in "Legends" this is easily explained by looking at previous encounters with Ewoks and the Empire. In the new Disney canon, this question is not so easily answered.

For more info, see: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Imperial-Ewok_War

  • 2
    Wouldn't "Legends canon" be an oxymoron? Commented Dec 13, 2016 at 20:16
  • Probably. Edited.
    – Paul Omans
    Commented Dec 13, 2016 at 21:14
  • @SonOfSam I don't think so. Yes, Legends material is not Disney canon, but it's published nonetheless (and, after all, can be a valuable resource).
    – Bob
    Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 0:23

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