I just watched Return of the Jedi, and while I am willing to accept that there is a lot about the Endor Forest Moon battle and the Ewoks in general that doesn't quite add up1, this watching left me wondering just what the Ewoks had been planning for.

It is reasonable to believe they could have setup some of their simpler traps in the short time they had to prepare for their offensive & rescue of Han & Leia at the shield generator, the speeder bike "clothesline" for example, and maybe even placement of their wood catapults... But what about the larger traps like the rolling log pile or the two huge swinging logs used to destroy the AT-ST's?

Is it possible the Ewoks were already planning a revolt against the Imperial presence on the Forest Moon? Or if not against the Empire, for whom were those traps set?

Addendum: Just to note - It occurs to me that they set mostly defensive traps rather than offensive ones.

1.Like, why do they build huge bonfires in trees, mere feet from their thatch huts or on/near their fragile rope bridges?

  • Hopefully an Ewok question doesn't incur automatic downvotes :) I don't have enough rep to create the ewoks tag unfortunately.
    – Michael
    Sep 29, 2012 at 2:29
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    No problem; there's an Ewok tag for you.
    – K-H-W
    Sep 29, 2012 at 2:38
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    @KeithHWeston - you spelled the tag wrong. I think you meant to spell it "merchandising" Sep 30, 2012 at 14:35
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    @DVK Maybe so - even as a 6 year old though, I didn't really want any Ewoks. I think I had only one figure (the shaman) and a stuffed baby Ewok. Was more interested in my sweet Y-Wing and Rancor monster.
    – Michael
    Sep 30, 2012 at 15:40
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    @DVK - I hope you are not suggesting that lucas created characters specifically so he could sell action figures and merchandise... next you will be suggesting that the entire ewok scene was stolen from swiss family robinson!
    – Chad
    Oct 1, 2012 at 13:42

4 Answers 4


I'm actually a bit shocked no one stated the correct answer. The log traps were to fight attacks from the giant Gorax.

This is 1980s Ewoks canon - Caravan of Courage and now Disney cartoon canon - where it is explicitly explained when Luke and Leia get attacked by one post-ROTJ. Forces of Destiny season 2 episode 14 "Traps and Tribulations"

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  • Oh wow - I remember watching Caravan of Courage on tv with my family, but I only have a visual memory of the last scene defeating the Gorax. I remember Battle for Endor much more clearly I guess since I was 6 or 7 instead of only 5.
    – Michael
    Nov 5, 2021 at 3:33
  • @Michael likewise for me. Best wishes. Nov 5, 2021 at 4:07

According to the (canon) Star Wars: Battles that Changed the Galaxy factbook, the Ewoks were already planning some sort of military incursion against the bunker before the arrival of Leia's rebels.

However, though they were elite soldiers, the Imperial forces at the bunker had paid scant attention to the supposedly “primitive” Ewok species who were indigenous to the moon. The Empire had not noticed the Ewoks’ fiercely proud warrior culture, or that they had been preparing defensive positions around the bunker for several weeks. When the Ewoks attacked, the Imperial military found themselves fighting from a surrounded position against an enemy who had prepared the battlefield against them. While the Empire possessed a marked technological advantage it was effectively nullified by an adversary who knew the terrain and could seemingly disappear at will.


They would not engage the Empire directly, but instead prepared a series of traps around the bunker just in case an opportune moment arose. Having been won over to the rebels’ cause by stories of their past heroism, the Ewoks decisively intervened in the ground combat outside the shield bunker. While they defeated the stormtroopers, the battle also cost many Ewoks their lives.

The Ewoks were certainly offended by the presence of the Imperials but the concept of an organised "rebellion" (and the need for an all-out assault, regardless of the potential for loss of life) doesn't seem to have been considered until Leia and her merry band of anti-government terrorists turned up to lead them into battle. C-3PO tells them about the wider conflict that has been raging in the Galaxy and explains that the Ewoks find themselves at a critical juncture.

Chief Chirpa organises for Ewoks from other tribes to join him in attacking the base

Things are said that are not cute. The Ewoks are talking of battle, of weapons and traps and death.

These are fierce creatures. Predators. The top of the food chain in a deadly forest. And they are ready to kill.

For, you see, now that the Ewoks understand that our heroes are in fact heroes—and are there to destroy the cursed biker scouts and blow up the great metal mess in the sky—they are eager to help. They had known nothing of the great galactic struggle for freedom that the Rebellion had carried on for decades. But, Chirpa reminds them, they did know that a great evil had come to their forest. He recalls the tribe members killed by the Empire’s soldiers and metal monsters.

Return of the Jedi: Beware the Power of the Dark Side

After Leia's speech, they had the entire village (several hundred Ewoks) spending the night getting the battlefield ready for the assault.

WHEN OUR HEROES AWAKE, they find the village nearly deserted. There were an abundance of very young and very old Ewoks, but all those able to join the fight had risen and followed Chirpa, Teebo, and Asha into the forest. There was much work to be done.


My understanding is that, originally, it was going to be a planet of Wookiees but that got changed for the cuteness factor.

If you rethink the end battle with a load of Wookiees rather than Ewoks it makes a little more sense. I am guessing that the traps were just plot devices to somehow make the Ewoks capable of taking on a legion of the emperor's best troops and not getting slaughtered.

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    Nice answer based on 4th wall, but I'd also love it if someone answered with EU-based retcon info... there surely MUST be one! :) Sep 30, 2012 at 14:36
  • @DVK that's what I'm holding out for too.
    – Michael
    Sep 30, 2012 at 15:27
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    Erm ... perhaps there are predators roughly the same height as the Scout Walkers which the Ewoks set traps for. The SWs would probably take the same path as large animals due to footing reasons so the Ewoks could probably funnel them appropriately. They probably trapped the routes to their village to prevent them all getting trampled?
    – Stefan
    Oct 1, 2012 at 8:20
  • @Stefan That even explains why they live in trees rather than at ground level...
    – Michael
    Oct 1, 2012 at 13:44
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    It's almost like Ewok is a modified reverse of Wookiee as a word, too. Oh, George,you clever storyteller.
    – Paul
    Apr 23, 2017 at 20:16

Well there was this cartoon back in the day about Ewoks.

Defensive traps are for protection against Morag and her Tulgah minions.

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