Scene it on Friday – ROTJ Scene #41

Okay, first off, I don’t feel like writing today.  So this is a little lame.  Surprise!  (I got together with some of my Mount Holyoke friends a few weeks ago and we were discussing how women have the tendency to say “sorry” much too often, even when we don’t mean it.  It’s a knee-jerk reaction.  So instead of saying “sorry”, my friend said she substitutes the word with “Surprise!” because most of the time she’s really not that sorry.  I am now trying to incorporate that into my life.)

I love this scene because it’s wonderful when a movie will throw in a little humor to alleviate a tense situation.  This is exactly what happens as Han and Leia get ready to take their first step in taking down the Empire.

It’s pretty obvious that George Lucas was trying to show that the little people could take down the big man.  I can’t speak on if there was a much larger symbolism he was trying to convey, but I love that it can also be seen in moments like this.  The Ewoks are primitive, and so people often take that to mean unintelligent, especially as they don’t own the machinery and technology that others have.  Yet, with no blasters, lightsabers, or even protective gear, Paploo immediately knew what he had to do to help out our Rebel friends.  They totally knew what they were going to do in a heartbeat after Threepio explained the situation.  And to everyone’s surprise – it worked!  Though Paploo seemed to be naïve and slightly crazy, he got rid of three out of the four scout troopers, thus making the job of Han and Leia a lot easier.

A little trivia: Paploo is played by Kenny Baker, who is the guy inside our favorite astromech droid, R2-D2.

Surprise!  I’m done.

paploo kenny baker

EXTERIOR: ENDOR – RIDGE OVERLOOKING CONTROL BUNKER

Han, Leia, Chewie, the droids, and their two Ewok guides, Wicket and Paploo, have reunited with the Rebel strike squad. The entire group is spread through the thick undergrowth. Below them is the BUNKER that leads into the generator. Four Imperial scouts, their speeder bikes parked nearby, keep watch over the bunker entrance. Chewie growls an observation, and Paploo chatters away to Han in Ewok language.

HAN: Back door, huh? Good idea.

Wicket and Paploo continue their Ewok conversation.

HAN: (cont) It’s only a few guards. This shouldn’t be too much trouble.

LEIA: Well, it only takes one to sound the alarm.

HAN: (with self-confident grin) Then we’ll do it real quiet-like.

Threepio explains what is going on to Wicket and Paploo. The Ewoks chatter a moment between themselves. Then Paploo jumps up and scampers into the underbrush.

Threepio asks Wicket where Paploo went and is given a short reply.

THREEPIO: Oh! Oh, my. Uh, Princess Leia!

LEIA: Quiet.

THREEPIO: I’m afraid our furry companion has gone and done something rather rash.

LEIA: Oh, no.

EXTERIOR: BUNKER – ENTRANCE

Paploo has slipped out of the undergrowth near where the Imperial scouts are lounging. He silently swings his furry ball of a body onto one of the scout’s speeder bikes and begins flipping switches at random. Suddenly, the bike’s engine fires up with a tremendous ROAR. Paploo grins and continues flipping switches. The scouts leap up in surprise.

EXTERIOR: RIDGE

Han, Leia and company watch in distress. Chewie barks.

HAN: (sighs) There goes our surprise attack.

EXTERIOR: BUNKER

The Imperial scouts race toward Paploo just as his speeder zooms into motion. Paploo hangs on by his paws and shoots away into the forest.

SCOUT: Look! Over there! Stop him!

Three of the Imperial scouts jump on their rocket bikes and speed away in pursuit. The fourth watches them go from his post at the door.

EXTERIOR: RIDGE

Han, Leia, and Chewie exchange delighted looks.

HAN: Not bad for a little furball. There’s only one left. You stay here. We’ll take care of this.

Han and the Wookiee nod at each other and slip down toward the bunker. Threepio moves to stand next to Wicket and Artoo.

THREEPIO: I have decided that we shall stay here.

EXTERIOR: FOREST

Paploo sails through the trees, more lucky than in control. It’s scary, but he loves it. When the Imperial scouts pull within sight behind him and begin firing laser bolts, he decides he’s had enough. As he rounds a tree, out of their sight, Paploo grabs a vine and swings up into the trees. A moment later, the scouts tear under him in pursuit of the still-flying, unoccupied bike.

EXTERIOR: BUNKER

Han sneaks up behind the remaining Imperial scout, taps him on the shoulder and lets the scout chase him behind the bunker into the arms of the waiting Rebel strike team. Han returns to the front, and taps out a pattern on the bunker door’s control panel. Everyone stands out of sight, police-style, as the door opens. Han and Leia peek inside. No sign of life. The group enters the bunker silently, leaving one lookout behind.

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