SHORT TAKES : Family’s Dog Helped Inspire ‘Jedi’ Ewoks, Lucas Testifies

From Times Wire Services

The short furry creatures called Ewoks in the 1983 film “Return of the Jedi” evolved from a script written by producer George Lucas in 1974 and were designed--partly--with Lucas’ family dog in mind, Lucas told a Canadian court today during his testimony as a defendant in a $129-million copyright infringement case.

Lucas, who has been accused of stealing the name and concept for the Ewoks from a Calgary writer, said he created the Ewoks in his original 1974 draft of “The Star Wars” and came up with the name by reversing the syllables of the character he called Wookie and rhyming it with the northern California Indian tribe known as the Miwok (pronounced: me-walk).

Calgary writer-producer Dean Preston testified earlier in the week that he invented the Ewoks in a script called “Space Pets” that he wrote in 1977 and mailed to Lucas in 1978. Lucas denied having read or received the script from Preston.

Lucas’ Northern California-based Lucas Films Ltd. and 20th Century Fox Canada Ltd. were also named as defendants in Preston’s suit. The trial is expected to end next week.