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I just finished watching Return of the Jedi, and I don't remember actually hearing any of the characters referring to the teddy-bear-like creatures as 'Ewoks'.

Where did that name actually come from?

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  • 4
    Later on, the Ewok TV show's theme tune made their name painfully clear. Commented Mar 11, 2013 at 12:42
  • 6
    @PaulD.Waite - Which beggars the question; How do we know it's not pronounced 'E-E-E-E-E-E-EWoks'?
    – Valorum
    Commented Mar 5, 2014 at 19:41
  • 5
    This is true with lots of things in Star Wars. There are lots of minor character names and species that are never spoken on screen.
    – Ben Miller
    Commented Sep 6, 2014 at 11:55
  • 1
    Fun fact: There are words for a certain kind of monkey in at least two Asian languages that sound very similar to "Ewok". In the Shan language of Myanmar there is "ဢီႇဝွၵ်ႈ" and in the Lü language of southern China there is "ᦀᦲᦰᦞᦸᧅ". Commented Feb 21, 2016 at 9:08
  • Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of Darth, I will fear no Ewok.
    – PM 2Ring
    Commented May 4 at 10:31

4 Answers 4

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According to the Behind the Scenes section of the Wookieepedia article:

A little-known fact is that the Ewoks are never referred to by name in Return of the Jedi’s dialogue; the name only appeared in the script directions, the novelization, the movie’s credits, and other spin-off and promotional materials.

So, the name was set in the script already - just never mentioned.

Additionally, the origin of the name is such that it was intended to be related to the word ‘Wookiee’ (the rainforest scenes on Endor were original going to be on the Wookiee homeworld, and Ewoks were to be a related species to the Wookiees), and it is reminiscent of the Miwok people of Northern California.

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    If the name Ewoks is part of "the movie's credits", it's make that name G-canon.
    – DavRob60
    Commented Sep 26, 2011 at 12:00
  • 3
    What's g-canon? Commented Sep 27, 2011 at 17:11
  • 5
    @OghmaOsiris G-canon is essentially Word of George and movies. The various levels of Star Wars canonicity are covered at scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/1806/…
    – HorusKol
    Commented Sep 27, 2011 at 22:58
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    Interesting fact - Boba Fett was never referred to by name in Empire either. Many of the names we "know" actually came from secondary sources - novels, toys, comics, tie-ins, the Holiday Special (and now I must have a shower), etc.
    – user8719
    Commented Mar 11, 2013 at 1:48
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    @user8719 Han Solo says Boba Fett's name in Return of the Jedi, though
    – spex
    Commented May 15, 2015 at 13:23
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They're specifically referred to as Ewoks in the original script...

"A strange little furry face with huge black eyes comes slowly into view. The creature is an EWOK, by the name of WICKET."

...as well as in the end-credits for Return of the Jedi.

Ewok warriors in movie credits

Obviously they're also named in the novelisation of ROTJ, interviews with George Lucas as well as enjoying their own films (Star Wars: Ewok Adventures, Ewoks - Caravan of Courage) and animated adventures under the name Ewoks

Ewoks!


As to the origin of the Ewoks, the interview with George Lucas (below) makes it clear that the intention was that the Ewok moon was originally planned to be the home planet of the Wookiees but as the film series evolved, the Wookiees ended up being too tall and technologically advanced, leading to Lucas designing a new species.

The name 'Ewok' itself is a corruption of the word Miwok, a tribe who were originally indigenous to the woodland where the Endor scenes were shot.

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  • Are those end credits from the original film or the New Improved Super Pooper Extra Special Outstanding Gold Collectors Edition New Media? Commented May 11, 2014 at 12:07
  • @dvk - the original theatrical ones, I'll thank you.
    – Valorum
    Commented May 11, 2014 at 12:16
  • And Richard does it again... amazing. Commented Sep 30, 2014 at 19:38
  • 1
    @Wikis - And yet my answer sleeps with the fishes. Perhaps I should make the red box bigger and hand-drawn.
    – Valorum
    Commented Sep 30, 2014 at 19:40
  • @Richard freehand circles are essential.
    – hobbs
    Commented Sep 30, 2014 at 22:32
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They were never referred to as Ewoks within the films (though their species name was mentioned in the credits), though they may have been specifically named in the novelizations.

The Ewok's names (like most minor characters) only became known in the Extended Universe and the books. The Ewoks had a leg up, though: marketing. They were almost custom-made to sell toys. LucasFilm cashed in with a cartoon series (I think), live action movies, an extensive toy line, etc.

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    Instead of 'Lucasart', did you mean Lucasfilm?
    – user1027
    Commented Sep 26, 2011 at 3:22
  • Probably. I'm fuzzy on the real difference, anyway.
    – Jeff
    Commented Sep 26, 2011 at 5:17
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    Don't know where it's located, but you could probably find a mention of their species' name in the movie's script. Commented Sep 26, 2011 at 5:20
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    @Jeff I meant like, "Ewok #5: (lifts boulder)" :) Commented Sep 26, 2011 at 5:28
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    @Jeff LucasArts makes Star Wars video games. LucasFilm makes movies and TV shows.
    – user1027
    Commented Sep 26, 2011 at 13:39
0

Empire was supposed to be based on the Wookiee home world but throughout the series Lucas had the Wookiees gain better technology. He wanted someone more primitive to beat the empire’s troops so he created the Ewoks. The name comes from the Miwok native american tribe and their language is based on the Kalmyk language from Russia.

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    This does not answer this question. Interesting trivia, sure, but not an answer. I'd suggest reading the Tour under the help menu. Commented Mar 5, 2014 at 5:33
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    “throughout the series Lucas had the Wookies gain better technology” — did he? In the original trilogy the only Wookie we see is Chewbacca, and he just hangs out with Han. Commented Mar 5, 2014 at 9:12

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