Warwick Davis Made Sure Rise Of Skywalker Had A Very Specific Nod To Return Of The Jedi

Wicket, Leia, Han Solo and Chewbacca in Return of the Jedi

Warning: SPOILERS for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker are ahead!

We knew going into Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker that there’d be a lot of familiar faces. For instance, just weeks ahead of the movie’s release, a promotional video was released teasing that we’d be seeing Ewoks again. You remember the little fuzzballs who helped the Rebels fight the Imperials on Endor in Return of the Jedi, right? Don’t answer that, of course you do.

Sure enough, after Emperor Palatine was finally killed for good and his armada was destroyed in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, we looked in on several planets where The First Order was being toppled, and on Endor, Ewok all-star Wicket W. Warrick could be seen celebrating alongside his son, Pommet Warrick.

Warwick Davis, who played Wicket back in the day, reprised the Ewok for The Rise of Skywalker. I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Davis about his role as Lickspittle in Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, and when the conversation turned to Star Wars, he said the following about how he strived to ensure that the audience would know he was playing Wicket again as opposed to just a generic Ewok:

… I knew he’d be older and wiser, but there had to be a few little similarities in there, and we worked very carefully on the coloring, but he’s likely older and grayer than he was. He still has the old head tilt, which is the thing I did in Return of the Jedi, based on my pet dog, and I threw it in there in Rise of Skywalker for old times sake. And hopefully that’s the key move that reminds people, ‘Oh yes, this is the character we already know.’

Most hardcore Star Wars fans probably don’t have trouble recognizing the lovable Wicket, but in addition to chiming in on how his character’s fur would look a little different after so many years, Warwick Davis also threw in the head tilt as further indication that this was the same Ewok who helped foster an alliance between his people and the Rebels. If he hadn’t stumbled across Leia Organa following the speeder bike chase, it’s unlikely the second Death Star’s shield generator would have ultimately been destroyed.

As for the fact that we saw the older Wicket alongside his son towards the end of The Rise of Skywalker, that’s made extra special when learning that Warwick Davis’ own son, Harrison, was playing Pommet. This isn’t the first time one of Davis’ children has participated in a Star Wars movie, as his daughter, Annabelle Davis, worked on The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi.

While Warwick Davis has played plenty of other Star Wars characters over the years, including Weazel in both The Phantom Menace and Solo, Wicket is unquestionably the most well-known of the bunch. Not only was Davis surprised he was getting to play the Ewok again his expertise came in handy during the Wicket recreation process. He explained:

It was quite an amazing experience actually going back to something that’s… I never thought I’d revisit that character in a million years. It was a great creative experience to not only be part of creating the costume again, recreating that. Because in my mind, I had memories of it that the costume department couldn’t possibly have. And just looking at the photographic evidence that we had, there were no designs, so I had lots of behind-the-scenes photos in my own collection which showed the structure underneath the fur, which is what they would need to figure out the muscle structure and the foam that’s underneath that allows the fur to sit in the way it does and gives shape to the character. So that was a fun process.

But donning the Wicket suit again was just one part of the fun. Warwick Davis also mentioned out how it was great to see the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker crew, including director J.J. Abrams, react to seeing him in costume before their eyes, saying:

And then just getting on set and kind of being that character again. And then the excitement that it’s gonna faze everybody else. Because a lot of the people who work on Star Wars of course are there because they love the movie and are fans of the movie. For them, for somebody like J.J. Abrams whose enthusiasm for doing this was so infectious as well for everybody, he was just so excited to once again have two Ewoks on the set. It was a great day of filming, and I very much enjoyed it.

In addition to playing Wicket, Warwick Davis also appeared in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker as Wizzich Mozzer, a member of The Resistance. And while for those of you who just can’t get enough Wicket, Davis revealed to me that there will be a behind-the-scenes featurette on the The Rise of Skywalker home media release exploring him playing the character again. In his words:

… And there’s a really nice DVD extra that you need to look out for when that eventually comes out that documents the kind of process of bringing Wicket back to the screen again, which is great.

There’s no word yet on when Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will be available on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital, so stay tuned to CinemaBlend for that information. For now, the final installment of the Skywalker is continuing its theatrical run, and while critical reception has been polarizing, it’s been doing quite well for itself at the box office, currently sitting at $946 million worldwide.

If you haven’t already, read CinemaBlend’s review of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and keep checking back for more coverage concerning the movie. You can also start planning what you’ll see in theaters later this year with our 2020 release schedule.

As for Warwick Davis, you can see his performance as Lickspittle in Maleficent: Mistress of Evil on Digital now, and the sequel’s Blu-ray and DVD copies will be released next Tuesday, January 14. He’s also set to reprise the eponymous protagonist of 1988’s Willow for a TV series that’s in development for Disney+, with Ron Howard and Jonathan Kasdan also attached.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.