The Ewoks Aren’t Actually Called Ewoks In Star Wars

Ewoks debuted in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, but the movie never name-dropped the species; a pre-released book did instead.

By Douglas Helm | Updated

We’ve been introduced to plenty of different alien races and species in the Star Wars movies such as Wookies, Gungans, Mon Calamari, and Jawas. And who could forget the fuzzy little Ewok species who helped overthrow the Empire in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi? Except, apparently we don’t hear the species name for these little teddy bears uttered once during the entire Skywalker Saga (via Inside the Magic).

It’s hard to believe, but you truly don’t hear the word ‘Ewok’ uttered even once in the mainline Star Wars movies. So, how did we find out the names of these surprisingly battle-ready little tykes? It turns out the name of these creatures was revealed in the Return of the Jedi novel by James Kahn which was released two weeks ahead of the film.

Kenner also released a toy line in 1985 that featured the Ewok name on the boxes.

The Ewok species is prominently featured in the Star Wars: Return of the Jedi novel when C-3PO helps convince them to join the Rebel forces and fight the Empire. It is pretty weird that this is the way that fans around the world would have found out the name of these creatures back before Return of the Jedi was released. It seems like it would have been pretty easy to include the name in at least one line of the movie.

Of course, it doesn’t really matter now because pretty much everyone knows what an Ewok is, and Star Wars continues to be one of the biggest franchises in the world. This also wouldn’t be the last time that the franchise would disseminate important information about the movie in a strange cross-media campaign. In a more egregious example, fans could have found out that Emperor Palpatine was returning in The Rise of Skywalker by playing a Fortnite event.

Knowing the word ‘Ewok’ is definitely far less important than understanding that Star Wars’ biggest villain is coming back for the final film of the Skywalker Saga with little to no explanation. Of course, Return of the Jedi is still widely regarded as one of the best movies in the franchise while The Rise of Skywalker is usually considered the worst. In general, it’s probably best not to expect fans to search through other forms of media to find relevant information about the movie they’re watching.

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With all of that being said, it’s not like the Ewok species has really been held in high regard by the Star Wars fanbase. Most of the modern shows and the movies in the franchise haven’t really utilized these creatures heavily. While species like Wookies and Jawas have been utilized frequently in shows like The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and more.

If you’re a big fan of the Ewok species for some reason, Star Wars: Return of the Jedi is still probably your best bet for seeing them in action. Though they have had various appearances since their initial debut, they have mostly been tertiary and non-consequential. Still, it’s interesting to learn that we still might know what these little guys are called if it weren’t for a novel and some toys.