Warwick Davis Ewok
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Credit: Lucasfilm

Star Wars Weekly: Are the Ewoks returning? And look, Lothcats!

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Nov 29, 2019

Time again for STAR WARS WEEKLY, the SYFY WIRE series that rounds up the most important news of the week from a galaxy far, far away. Think of us as your own personal Star Wars Holocron.

DUEL OF THE FATES

TV spots are rolling out for The Rise of Skywalker at a furious pace, and over the holiday this one casually dropped.

This spot uses an iconic piece of music that every Star Wars fan knows but we still all seemed so surprised to hear in this context. For those who might not know, that piece of choral music that leads into the "Imperial March" is “Duel of the Fates,” and it was written by John Williams for The Phantom Menace. It quickly became a fan favorite in the canon of Star Wars music, but it represents themes much deeper than we might realize, and it could be telling us something about this trailer and the nature of the story of The Rise of Skywalker.

When John Williams was choosing words for the chorus to sing, he translated the words of an ancient Celtic poem called “The Battle of the Trees.” He had the relevant lyrics translated into Sanskrit for the power of the sound of its words. In a 1999 interview, he talked about the significance of the stanzas from that poem that he chose, after a battle of fields of trees animated by Druids: “'On command from the Druid, the trees again freeze and become trees.' And there’s a stanza in the poem, translated by [Robert] Graves from the early Celtic into modern English, which is roughly, ‘Under the tongue root a fight most dread, while another rages behind in the head.’”

Williams further explained he liked the idea of a fight raging but in the head more than anywhere else. Internal conflict is something central to Star Wars, whether that's the struggle of Anakin, Luke, or even Rey. As the orchestra recorded this for The Phantom Menace in 1999, George Lucas commented in behind-the-scenes footage about how well this all fit in because of the future of Anakin battling for his soul. Bringing it back for The Rise of Skywalker is apt. Both Ben Solo and Rey are fighting these battles internally as well as externally, and what is Darth Sidious but an evil druid?

There is no guarantee this is anything but music being used in the trailer and we don’t know if it will appear in the film, but John Williams’ brother Don is on the record talking about how the score for The Rise of Skywalker would run the gamut of the entire saga.

As is always the case with John Williams, we have something more to look forward to as soon as the score is released.

EWOKS?

There might be another classic callback in The Rise of Skywalker, though we can’t be sure. Much of the advertising that has been happening for The Rise of Skywalker hasn’t actually revealed all that much of the film. It has focused on the legacy of Star Wars and the magical nature of this nine-film saga. This dropped over the holiday:

It mixes old and new behind-the-scenes footage to talk about the importance of Star Wars and its mythology. At the same time, it gives almost nothing away.

Or does it?

Is this Warwick Davis in the present day suiting up as an Ewok that looks suspiciously like an old and gray Wicket W. Warrick?

It certainly seems that way. We’ll learn more when The Rise of Skywalker is released on December 20. Until then, we can only hope that our favorite murderous species in Star Wars will return.

LOTH-CATS

Speaking of the return of a species, the latest episode of The Mandalorian hit screens today and we were treated with an exchange between “The Child” and a Loth-cat. 

Cats like these started appearing in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and were called Tookas. They were in a variety of places, including Coruscant. In Star Wars Rebels Loth-cats began to take over, and we’d seen them all over the galaxy, though they were native to Lothal, home planet of Ezra Bridger. This is the first time we’ve seen one of these cats outside of the realm of animation in an actual Star Wars show. But it’s not the first time we’ve seen one in live action. No, that honor belongs to this little fella that can be seen at Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge in Disney Parks in California and Florida.

Where will they pop up next? One can never be sure, but I would just look to see what properties Dave Filoni is working on and that might be a good indicator.

VRANKI AND JOHN DIMAGGIO

I’m going to leave you this week with a clip from the upcoming episode of Star Wars Resistance, which takes the aces from the Colossus to Vranki’s Casino. Vranki is a Hutt and his casino is maybe not the most popular, and the aces find out why in short order.

In case you hadn’t noticed, Vranki is voiced by John DiMaggio (who most people might recognize as the voice of Bender Bending Rodriguez). This is not the first time he’s been a voice for Star Wars, though. He was the first real voice behind General Grievous, offering his talents for the second season of Genndy Tartakovsky’s Clone Wars micro-series. He’s also done work in the era of the Old Republic in Star Wars video games.

Another interesting thing to watch out for on this episode are the hulked-out Kowakian monkey-lizards, which have appeared on Resistance before. The other thing to look out for are the Kowakians that are working as croupiers and concierges at the Casino. If Kowakians are intelligent enough to work a gaming table, does that make the shots of cooking them in The Mandalorian all the more heartless and terrifying?

This new episode of Star Wars Resistance airs Sunday on Disney and Disney XD.

Until next week, may the Force be with you!

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