In the final episode of the original trilogy, the Ewoks make friends with the Rebel Alliance and help them defeat the evil Galactic Empire, which had recently taken their land. They also join the Rebels in rejoicing for their victory afterwards.
They are only seen briefly in the Star Tours attraction, on the large display board in the queue area, where they are described in an advertisement as "the lovable Ewoks" on the "exotic moon of Endor", and are not seen in the ride itself, as the moon is never reached by the StarSpeeder 3000. Their village serves as the exterior queue at the Disney's Hollywood Studios attraction and in the evening, they can be heard telling stories in their treehouses.
Ewoks were first introduced in, and were major characters of the George Lucas' Star Wars film, Return of the Jedi, which takes place mostly on the moon of Endor. According to the documentary Empire of Dreams and the commentary for the 2004 re-release of the film, Lucas inspired the Ewoks and their method of defeating the Galactic Empire from the Communist-backed Guerrilla group, the National Liberation Front, better known as the Viet Cong from the Vietnam War.
Lucas' original plan was to use Wookiees, but this was later changed during production due to the fact that Wookiees had already been established as being adept with technology, while he wanted the Empire to be defeated by a more primitive race. The concept of Wookiees fighting a large army on their home planet was later reused for Revenge of the Sith.
Following the release of Return of the Jedi, the Ewoks had two spin-off films released about them: Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure (1984) and Ewoks: The Battle for Endor (1985), both of which were made for television in America, but released theatrically in Europe. These two movies take place prior to the events of Return of the Jedi. These films are not part of the new canon.
Ewoks are notable for their negative reception among audiences. The reception is referenced in an episode of Lost, when several characters were transported back in time to 1977, Hugo "Hurley" Reyes attempted to rewrite the film without the Ewoks because as he says "Ewoks suck, man".