The deceptively adorable Ewoks from the Star Wars universe actually have a shockingly dark purpose for their drums. Ever since their debut in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, the Ewoks have been a controversial entry to the canon. Many fans have pointed out that they were clearly created to sell toys based on their design as living teddy bears. In fact, they’ve been used as a basis to describe new Star Wars creatures in future films that rely more on the aw-factor such as Porgs in The Last Jedi. However, as time has gone on, fans have come to realize that the Ewoks are more than just cute when they dig below the surface.
George Lucas has gone on record to describe that the inspiration for the Ewoks actually comes from the Viet Cong’s use of guerilla warfare during the Vietnam War. This is to say that their destruction of the Empire on Endor’s moon was influenced by them because it saw Stormtroopers out of their element. The Ewoks, on the other hand, were adapted to the land around them and used it to their advantage by building traps in the trees and being prepared to strike when the Empire least expected them. It’s a huge subversion of their cute appearance because it shows that they’re stronger warriors than fans give them credit for, and one of their most seemingly harmless activities actually ended up playing a huge role in their fight against the Stormtroopers.
In Star Wars Tales #14, the story Apocalypse Endor by Christian Read and Clayton Henry sees an aging Stormtrooper in a bar recounting his days on the forest moon of Endor during the events of the Battle of Endor in Return of the Jedi. He was stationed at a base along fellow soldiers, however they weren’t alone. Ewoks were described to be hiding in the forest and using one of their most unexpected weapons: the drums. Briefly seen in action in the movie, these drums were viewed as a way to celebrate their freedom as the Empire crumbled. However, during battle, the Ewoks actually used their drums to rile the Stormtroopers late at night. This would disrupt their sleep and make it difficult to stay focused. One even gets so fed up with it that he runs out to fire at the Ewoks only to run out of ammo and never be seen again.
The Ewoks’ Drums Turn Something Harmless Into Psychological Warfare
The fascinating thing about this reveal is that it shows the Ewoks are master strategists when it comes to battle. Since they don’t have high-tech weaponry like the Empire does, they have get creative with their tactics in order to get an upper hand. Turning the drums into a psychological weapon is an inventive way to keep the Troopers disoriented as the Ewoks plan their next attack. In fact, the comic later sees the aging Trooper state that the drums made it impossible to sleep soundly following the disappearance of his ally.
The Ewoks may seem cute upon first glance, but their knowledge of their home on Endor’s moon has made them appreciated over the years as some of the most clever Star Wars warriors. Their smart placement of traps and ambush attacks rightfully helped them fend their home from the oncoming Empire invasion. However, it’s their shocking dark purpose for their drums that can’t be overlooked as the Ewoks show that they can make a weapon out of anything in the Star Wars universe and use it to their advantage.