Thursday, 13 June 2013



Statement.  Or warning?  Here's a cover feature, from Marvel UK's RETURN OF THE JEDI weekly issue 79 (22 December 1984), promoting the UK theatrical release of the first of the Lucasfilm/ ABC Ewok live-action teleflicks: CARAVAN OF COURAGE: AN EWOK ADVENTURE.

The faux feature film, strictly for the kids, was released in British cinemas on 14 December 1984, just in time for the school holidays.

As you'll see, Marvel went to town to promote the release, devoting four feature pages to the new film. That's more detailed coverage than they devoted to the main Star Wars films.

Unearthing this issue got me thinking about something: has this film, and the sequel THE BATTLE FOR ENDOR, ever been shown on British terrestrial television?  I don't remember seeing either.  I think they snuck onto satellite (possibly on the ill-fated BSB MOVIE CHANNEL, although I'm not sure why I think that) during the early days of extraterrestrial telly... but I don't know if they ever appeared on 'normal' TV.

Both the TV movies are now available, unfortunately without extras, as a DVD release.  Neither film is very good but they make an interesting addition to Star Wars lore.

The first film was simply AN EWOK ADVENTURE when it aired on US TV a month earlier.  Caravan of Courage (which - in the UK at least - sounds pretty naff) was added to the European theatrical release.

I'm not even sure the sequel received a theatrical release here in the UK, it may have gone direct-to-tape.  If it did reach cinemas, Marvel certainly didn't give it the same fanfare (or - indeed - any coverage at all) despite the fact that ROTJ's readership was obviously getting younger, the ideal demographic for the family-friendly films.

I was also surprised (then and now) that Marvel UK didn't reprint the Star Comics animated (also courtesy of ABC) Ewoks tie-in in ROTJ as it seemed an ideal fit.  They did commandeer the final STAR WARS ANNUAL (sitting uncomfortably alongside a reprint of the third US annual) but reprints were serialised in SPIDEY COMIC instead.

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