Head out to your nearest forest and use your imagination to spend a summer day with the Ewoks!
One of the fantastic things about the moon of Endor, as seen in Return of the Jedi, is that it is so relatable. It’s easy to imagine ourselves there because those pristine Redwood forests, filmed in northern California, are a familiar landscape and climate. Any kid — big kids too — can head to the woods and discover their own little piece of Endor. Yet that fictional planet is an alien world in another galaxy, dominated by a race of primitive Teddy bears who fancy wearing garments on their heads. Imagining ourselves as a guest in the Ewoks’ Bright Tree Village may reveal how similar yet otherworldly a summer day there just might be…
Wake up with the Warricks
Perhaps you are shipwrecked on Endor, or even a rebel soldier posted with the Ewoks. You could consider yourself lucky if you are hosted by the friendly Warrick family. You might wake up at dawn on your first morning with the songs of birds, munyips, and bark lizards filtering through the porous walls beside you. Shafts of light would stream into the darkened hut, illuminating dust particles and tiny, stray Ewok hairs, swirling in mid-air.
Shodu, the mother of the family, would have already gone out to the bustling Ewok market. Without refrigeration, the day’s fresh food must be procured each morning, or even several times a day. A steaming bowl of porridge now would sit on the wooden table at the center of the home. Shodu invites you to join her sons for the pasty mash of grains, seeds, minty herbs, crunchy bits of fried, salty fat, and peppery spices.
After breakfast, sons Weechee and Willy might lead you down a series of rope bridges to the forest floor, where you gather supplies. Each of you would wear a tall basket on your back, but the straps would be uncomfortably tight under your arms — they don’t come in human sizes!
Willy points out red and black berries and pungent-smelling mushrooms, roots, tubers, and bulbs that you pull from the ground and load into course little sacks. As you work, you might also notice that Willy seems to eat more berries than he actually places in his sack. What you do gather will be set out on pallets to shrivel and dry in the summer sun, and then be stored away for winter. Meanwhile, Weechee gathers fallen branches for firewood and loads it all into your own sturdy basket. As a tall, strong human, he assumes you won’t mind carrying all that heavy weight yourself!
You would return to the village for lunch. As you arrive at the Warrick home, you smell the sweet smoke of marinated meat sizzling over charcoal. While you were out, Shodu went rummaging through your packs and dismantled your electronics for parts to build a new cooking grill for lunch. You wouldn’t become aware of this backstory until much later, however.
The grilled meat is wrapped in herbs that taste like grape leaves, onions, mint, and sweet peppers. It would be quite delicious, if you overlook the tiny bone fragments, gristle, burnt hair, and curious hint of animal droppings married to the fatty barbequed morsels.
There might be a brief siesta after lunch, amidst the noon day heat, when the only sounds heard across the village are Ewok snores, the occasional bordok stomping his hooves in the stables, or a tiny wokling waking a little earlier than the rest of the family.
The best part of the day might come when Wicket wakes you up and hurries you out of the village again. You walk barefoot on soft pine needles and moss covering the cool forest floor as Wicket waddles excitedly ahead carrying two fishing poles.
You might find yourself then sitting on a wooden Ewok dock, dropping your lines into cool lake waters. Condor dragons could perhaps be seen, far in the distances, as specks flying above the northern mountains. Their snowy peaks all melted in the spring to fill the great lakes of summer. As you lounge under the bright sun wiping the sweat off your brow, you might wonder how Wicket manages to catch any fish at all, with all his fidgeting and swinging of his feet above the water. Yet he still seems to catch more than you!
As your basket fills with slimy, flopping lake creatures, dark clouds form in the distance. A gust of unusually cool wind tells you that summertime’s afternoon rains are about to fall. Wicket grabs the fish basket and hurries you back to the village as thunder booms and more gusts of winds send leaves blowing past your legs. A torrent of rain catches you before you make it home. Your soggy camouflage pants hang uncomfortably, but the cool downpour is a welcome respite from the summer heat.
The rain wouldn’t last very long. As it subsides, the sweet smells of the forest waft through the air — wildflowers, rich earth, lush grasses, and damp wood. But so too would come the biting insects of dusk, in ever-thicker swarms. Wicket would probably remind you to hurry, because now is the time of day that duloks emerge from their swamp dens to hunt for Ewoks!
As you arrive back at the village, pulling up the ladder from the forest floor below, the evening torches would already be burning, festively lighting the railed walkways to the Warrik family hut.
Dinner with Deej
Wicket’s father, Deej, would welcome you to the fire at the center of the hut. The smoke stings your eyes a bit, but as it permeates the walls and rises through the thatched roof above, it has the benefit of preserving the building and fending off mold, fungus, insects, and other summertime pests.
Dinner is ready! You are served a wooden bowl of hearty strew. You might pick through it to find the most palatable bits — the mushrooms, nuts, and vegetables. But the meat — that is the feet, bits of internal organs, snouts, rubbery cartilage, and large gelatinous globs — are best left hidden underneath the broth, and then discarded out the window when nobody is looking!
The evening might be filled with tales of the day’s events and stories of great adventures and heroes of long ago. Friends, neighbors, and extended family may drop in for a visit, bringing candied fruit treats and chewy seed taffy. The songs of reed flutes, thumping animal-skin drums, and meandering string melodies would fill the damp evening air.
Bedtime comes early in the forest. You lay upon a pad of dried grasses and a blanket of animal skins, listening to the calls of summer insects and exotic forest creatures unseen. A tiny rodent scurries across your leg, but you’ve almost gotten used to it. It wouldn’t be the first time that forest animals crawl, scurry, or slither over you as you sleep in the airy hut.
As you lay in bed you might reflect that summertime seems to be a happy season for Ewoks. But what might autumn and the snows of winter bring for the Warrick family and the Ewoks of Bright Tree Village? Those seasons too, merely wait to be imagined…
Author of DK’s Star Wars Rebels: The Visual Guide and co-author of Ultimate Star Wars and the upcoming Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know, follow Adam Bray on Twitter at @authoradambray.