Have you ever wondered what the conclusion of the Original Trilogy of Star Wars films would be like without those furry, cute, possibly cannibalistic teddy bears known as Ewoks? Well, someone on YouTube did and decided to proactively see what it would be like. Now, this slickly edited version of the explosive end for the evil Galactic Empire in the Battle of Endor, as depicted in 1983’s Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, gives us a context-shattering new perspective on what we’ve known.
A YouTube user named PrometheusOfVideos may have given the world the proverbial fire of knowing what the final battle of Return of the Jedi would have been like without those subjectively adorable Ewoks. The Battle of Endor was a colossal conclusion that would see the Rebellion finally prevail after being outnumbered by the Empire in every conceivable way, including the "we have a Death Star" department. Yet, it also stands as somewhat of a divisive denouement due to the film’s editorial proclivity for jumping back and forth between the battle’s two very different theaters on terra firma on the woodsy world of Endor and the other with the dogfight in space directly in the planet's orbit. Now, we have a more concentrated version of the dramatic dogfight in space which Admiral Ackbar famously classified as "a trap."
As you can see, it certainly stands as more of a purist’s depiction of the Battle of Endor regarding the theater in the eponymous planet’s orbit against the Imperial fleet and the Second Death Star. Whereas the intercut-happy real edit of the film gives the dual theater of the battle a sense of urgency, you also get the sense that what you were seeing started to feel like just a bunch of things happening for a reason that almost feels lost in the excitement. The YouTube edit, on the other hand, shifts proper focus and respect back to the insane skirmish in space as a seriously outnumbered brigade of rebel fighters are fighting what on paper was a ludicrous, losing battle.
In fact, if anything, this edit hearkens back more to the Battle of Yavin depicted at the end of the very first Star Wars movie, Episode IV: A New Hope. In that battle, the original Death Star ominously approached the planet Yavin IV, which hosted a large Rebel base. The threat of instant annihilation was very real, while the similarly outnumbered Rebel fleet in orbit fought in an equally insane mission to stop the genocidal wrecking ball. While that scene featured an intercut between the dogfight and the base, the scenes were both dramatically collaborating towards directly addressing the same specific threat. While in Jedi, the battles are connected plot-wise, they still feel very different, which tends to dilute the drama of the larger looming threat.
Interestingly enough, a different YouTube user actually did a similar bit of footage cropping on the opposite end of the spectrum with a "Ewok Only" cut. While it may be subject to opinion, that cut, focusing on the ground battle with Ewoks fighting alongside the Rebels to disable the shield generator, serves to highlight a lot of the film’s absurdities. It magnifies the long-argued point of contention questioning how Ewoks with stone spears are killing supposedly elite armored soldiers of the Empire, armed with superior weapons and impressive vehicles. Plus, without the film’s traditional intercuts, the ground battle itself seems comparatively nonsensical when one considers that the weakly defended shield generator on land was so critical to the amazingly immersive dogfight taking place in orbit.
However, the glue that held those two elements together in Return of the Jedi was Luke Skywalker’s struggle on the Second Death Star with his father, Darth Vader and The Emperor. In fact, technically, it was that battle of lightsabers and lightning which actually was the most critical moment in the film; not just for the sake of human drama, but because it was a battle to determine the direction of The Force, which happened to dictate the way the battles on the ground and in space would turn. So, while it is intriguing to see the Battle Endor chopped up, the separate pieces, interesting as they are, lose the heart of the movie.
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