The big shot in the land of the little people, Warwick Davis is the man. Starring in everything from Broadway plays to the Leprechaun movie series and the medieval fantasy movie, Willow, Warwick has done it all. He is probably best known for Willow, but he also played Wicket, the curiously cute ewok in Return of the Jedi. However, Warwick's fame came very close to not reaching the level that it did.
Born on February 3. 1970, Warwick was a mere 2'11" tall when he got his first acting gig. In 1981, his grandmother told him about a radio announcement she had heard. No ordinary announcement, it mentioned a casting call for people under four feet in height to work on Return of the Jedi. Warwick decided to give it a shot and got a part in the movie. It was only a background part, but that didn't matter, a part is a part. However, George Lucas, mastermind of the Star Wars universe, thought that Warwick's movements, mannerisms and gestures were perfect for the "lead" Ewok, Wicket. Lucas "based Wicket's inquisitive nature and movements on his pet dog."1 Lucas also formed the Chewbacca character after seeing his dog riding in shotgun, but I digress from the man.
Watching Return of the Jedi, you would not be able to tell that Warwick was playing Wicket, as Wicket's costume consisted of a giant full teddy bear suit. His face, along with his entire body, was covered in brown fur. Warwick reprised the role of Wicket in two made for TV Ewok movies, Caravan of Courage and Battle For Endor. In 1985, Davis worked on another Lucas production, Labyrinth. In Labyrinth, Warwick played one of the Goblin Corps. Not a big role, nor one which would show his face, but the movie did have David Bowie in it, and that's gotta count for something.
In 1988, George Lucas devised a new story, and this time he specifically had Warwick in mind for the lead role. He wouldn't even have to dress as a Care Bear, either. The movie, Willow, was one of my favorite movies growing up. Warwick portrays Willow Ufgood, a bungling wannabe magician whose children find a human baby floating along the river. It's decided that he should be the one to bring the child back to Daikini civilization and he sets out on a journey to find humans. Along the way, he runs into the swordsman/mack extrodinaire, Madmartigan, played by a young Val Kilmer. It has good witches, bad witches, swordplay, armies, and a giant two headed ugly dragon thing, THAT BREATHES FIRE! Does it get any better than this?
I'd say no. After Willow, He went on to do two roles for a television version of C.S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia, made for the BBC. Warwick portrayed the swashbuckling mouse, Reepicheep, in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader as well as the owl, Glimfeather, in The Silver Chair.
As every professional wrestling fan can tell you, the best thing about a good babyface, is a heel turn. All of Warwick's roles had been "good guys." When you see Wicket, you don't immediately think of evil, unless you twisted like that. In 1993, Warwick's agent called, with an offer for another leading role in a movie, this time playing a leprechaun whose lucky charms had been stolen. Not quite, but The Leprechaun was definitely pissed off. The film also features a young Jennifer Aniston and is nothing more than some campy horror flick. The story line is a father and daughter move into a new house, and hire someone to fix it up. He opens a chest in the basement and releases a very perturbed Leprechaun, who, of course, goes on a killing spree.
Nowhere near as acclaimed as either Return of the Jedi or Willow, The Leprechaun must have done well somewhere, as Leprechaun 6: In Da Hood, was released. I don't think he was poppin Crys and hanging out with the homies in da club. Call it a hunch. Mr. Davis did make an appearance in Star Wars: Episode 1, The Phantom Menace. He can be seen during the podrace scene in the lower left corner when the film cuts to Watto, the flying blue force-immune sleazy thing. Warwick also plays Anakin's Rodian friend. Dunno what a Rodian is? It's a younger Greedo, (afaik, Anakin's friend is not Greedo).
Bad killer Leprechaun movies aside, Warwick is the man. After Return of the Jedi, Wicket was given the surname Warwick, in honor of Warwick Davis. It can be found on toy boxes and other such places. Currently, Warwick can be seen in the Harry Potter movies as Professor Flitwick. Next to Verne Troyer and the legendary Billy Barty, Warwick is probably the most famous little person.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Dwarves In Showbiz (documentary)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Boogeymen: The Killer Compilation
Murder Rooms: The Kingdom of Bones
Leprechaun 5: in the Hood
The White Pony
The New Adventures of Pinocchio
Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace
A Very Unlucky Leprechaun
Leprechaun 4: In Space
The Silver Chair
and the Voyage of the Dawn Treader
The Battle for Endor
The Ewok Adventure
Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi