Endor – Crescent City & Owen R Cheatham Grove, Northern California.
Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park
Established in 1929 and named after an intrepid American explorer, the park is located Nine miles east of Crescent City on highway 199; on the Northeast coast of California.
The park protects 10,000 acres of redwood groves and lush undergrowth (all the better for hiding an Ewok rope and catapult).
Redwoods are the tallest trees on Earth but extensive logging is reducing the area to isolated patches along the coast. The park is bisected by the last free flowing river in California, the Smith River.
In ROTJ Lucas got to revive the idea for the less evolved characters to take on the might of a technologically advanced Empire (see Apocalypse Now). Also the director had dabbled with the idea but for the Wookiees, because Chewbacca is first mate on a Starship the audience saw a more advanced alien. The Ewoks are re-engineered Wookiees employed to take the fight to the Empire and show that where there is Will…
Imperial Bunker site: Drawn by Mark Billerman
(image from Star Wars Blueprints J W Rinzler)
The Actual Ewok Village was built inside Studio 3 at Elstree and again matte paintings by skilled artist like Chris Evans were used for wider shots.
Miniature AT-ST’s were shot at ILM and set-up in different ways to show how the wily Ewoks would dispatch them using only the materials around them.
The Speeder bike chase appears to have been filmed in Owen R Cheatham Grove, Carlotta, Northern California.
Another interesting shot, just after Luke throughs the scout into the tree, they pass these “crossed” trees.
Actually this plate/shot was flipped as this is how those trees should look:
Some pick-ups were done at the Ranch with Mark Hamill and some Ewoks. The last second unit pick-up was for the bonfire scene.