When the Star Wars trilogy concluded in 1983, Kenner and Lucasfilm decided Ewoks should be the thing to keep the merchandise ball rolling, so an animated cartoon, titled simply, Ewoks, started airing on ABC in 1985. But even before the show debuted, they were pushing Ewoks pretty hard, including this playset made for preschoolers.
The Family Hut was an ingenious design. The canopy of the tree popped up to reveal a house inside. There were 16 accessories, including four Ewok figures, a horse and cart, furniture, rope ladders, and more. And because the canopy closed, kids could put all the accessories inside for storage. It even had a handle on the top so you could take it on the go.
The Family Hut is actually based on an earlier toy from Kenner, The Tree Tots Family Tree House, released in the mid-1970s. The Tree Tots were part of a line of small, molded figures, made to compete with Little People and Weebles. They came as part of playsets that had similar pop open mechanics with living spaces in untraditional places like a mountain or a lighthouse. The accessories were different for the original toy (like a car) and had a modern aesthetic. The Ewoks version got a new paint job and the accessories were given a rustic look to match the primitive Ewok technology.
I was absolutely obsessed with the Tree Tots Tree House when I was a kid. I never had one, but a friend of my sister’s did, so anytime I was at their house, I played with it constantly. It was just such a great design and offered a lot of play scenarios. Loved it!
A friend found this Ewok Hut at a thrift store. They had plans to get the missing accessories, but abandoned those plans and gave it to me. I think I know why they gave up. Because it was a preschooler toy, kids lost the accessories, meaning they’re pretty rare to find now. This translates to higher prices for the smallest things. Getting the Hut is easy, getting everything else would run hundreds of dollars, as you can see from some recent eBay listings for the accessories.
So I don’t think I’ll be completing this one anytime soon. For now, it’s a fun conversation piece.