Warwick Davis Filmed A Never-Seen Star Wars Mockumentary As Wicket

When the original "Star Wars" trilogy was first released in the late 1970s and early '80s, fans were starving for more things to watch in this world. With no streaming at the time, the only way to see your favorite film was to catch it in the theater or — if you or someone you knew were lucky enough to own a VCR — you could rent or buy VHS tapes of the movies, although you still couldn't rent "Star Wars" until 1982 or purchase your own VHS until 1984.  

Watching "Star Wars" on television was also a rare occurrence. Creator George Lucas was against showing the movies on TV and owned the rights to the sequels. Twentieth Century Fox was only able to negotiate TV rights for "Star Wars: A New Hope." They finally did so in 1984 when CBS aired the film for the first time as a special presentation, hosted by Mark Hamill.

Back then, in what now feels like a long time ago in a galaxy far away, the "Star Wars" universe only consisted of the original three films, a quickly forgotten and horrifying holiday special in 1978, and two low-budget made-for-TV Ewok adventure movies. For years, that was all rabid fans had to satiate their appetites. But as Yoda says to Obi-Wan in "The Empire Strikes Back" — "There is another."

As it turns out, a promotional video featuring Warwick Davis, the actor who played Wicket in "Return of the Jedi," was shot during the making of the movie. The spot is a strange blend of mockumentary-style footage, "Star Wars" actors and characters, and clips from the film. However, it was never released.

And now, like Luke's long-missing blue lightsaber, it has been found.

Only bootleg versions are available

Warwick Davis was just 15 years old when he played Wicket the Ewok, one of the furry creatures inhabiting Endor in "Return of the Jedi." In addition to the movie, the Lucasfilm production team shot a comedic mockumentary about Davis' audition process for the film.

The 24-minute spot was titled "Return of the Ewok." It begins with Davis looking for a job. He tries out as a weightlifting training partner and the goalie for the Chelsea Football Club before stumbling across a job posting for an actor. After Davis discovers a 'Star Wars" flyer, Luke Skywalker leaps out of his battle with Darth Vader during "The Empire Strikes Back" into the street, where Davis tells him, "Go back, you can do it!"

Davis sneaks into an agent's office and tries on Boba Fett's helmet before settling on an Ewok outfit. Once Davis gets into costume, the fun begins. He wanders around Los Angeles as Wicket, popping in on actors behind the scenes of various "Return of the Jedi" sets. Carrie Fisher even appears in her dressing room clad in her infamous gold bikini.

At one point, Wicket wanders onto the set of Jabba's Palace, where Salacious B. Crumb rudely asks, "Who are you? What do you want?" Davis plays the character just like he does in "Return of the Jedi." He dances to Max Rebo's music and accidentally finds an off switch on C-3P0. Wicket also visits Dagobah and the Death Star. It's all very surreal.

There is a full version available online, cobbled together from official clips released on Starwars.com and footage recorded during festival screenings of the film. "Return of the Ewok" might be even more bizarre than the 1978 "Star Wars Holiday Special" but much more entertaining. So why wasn't it ever released?

Consent is not strong with this one

For the longest time, "Return of the Ewok" was just an urban legend, and even today there is no fully produced version of the mockumentary. It sounds like the video was a passion project of Lucasfilm second unit director, David Tomblin. According to a 2010 Gizmodo article, plans for "Return of the Ewok" were scrapped in post-production, and Warick Davis retained the only VHS copy of the unfinished film.

The actor later loaned the copy to Lucasfilm to digitize it, and it was screened at a few fan festivals. Eventually, the entire mockumentary was pieced together and posted online as a bootleg.

Davis hinted that the video's non-release might have been an issue of consent. He recently told Uproxx in a November 2022 interview:

"I mean, I think the challenge with 'Return of the Ewok' is that so many people gave their time, there are these wonderful cameos in there, [the] crew gave time during lunch hours to make it, and nobody ever signed off on their involvement ... But it really is one of those found in the attic kind of creations, isn't it, in its very raw form? There's unfinished sound, the print is very rough, but I think that's one of the charms of it, really."

The film's charm was formally recognized at The Official "Star Wars" Fan Film Awards in 2005, where "Return of the Ewok" and director David Tomblin received the Pioneer Award. Davis also featured stills from the film in his 2011 autobiography, "Size Matters Not: The Extraordinary Life and Career of Warwick Davis." But no matter how much we try to will it to happen with the Force, Disney has no plans to resurrect the project.