The Star Wars franchise is referenced numerous times in How I Met Your Mother. A New Hope is Ted Mosby’s favorite film of all time, so much so that in the Season 4 premiere episode, he threatened to break off his engagement with his fiance Stella if she watched the movie and didn’t like it. Ted’s friends, Marshall and Barney, also love the series, and the three get together every three years to watch the original trilogy. The show’s love of Star Wars also led to one of the series’ best jokes: the Ewok Line.
In Season 7’s “Field Trip”, Ted takes his architecture class on a trip to see a construction site, but are blocked off and forced to stay with Barney in a conference room. It’s here that Barney starts to complain about his girlfriend Nora disliking the Ewoks from Return of the Jedi. Believing he has discovered the reason why, he shows Ted and his class a slideshow where he details a theory he calls “The Ewok Line.”
Barney explains that the teddy-like creatures have divided the Star Wars fandom into two factions depending on their date of birth. According to Barney, those born on or before May 25, 1973, have a hatred for the Ewoks while those born after that date love them. Barney reasons that because Return of the Jedi was released ten years after that day, so those born after 1973 were ten or younger when they saw the movie. This gave them a much higher appreciation for the creatures since it reminded them of the teddy bears that they still loved at that age.
At the end of the presentation, Barney comes to the conclusion that because Nora hates the Ewoks, she lied about being twenty-nine years old and is actually thirty-seven. This causes Barney to freak out due to his aversion to dating women over thirty, but he is later proven wrong when Nora admits that she only saw the Star Wars movies a year prior to their relationship.
Ewoks have always been a polarizing presence within the Star Wars universe. Their subplot within Return of the Jedi, as well as many of the events that took place on their home moon Endor, are commonly referred to as the weakest elements of the original trilogy. The Ewoks were also the stars of two television films, Ewoks: The Battle for Endor and Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure. Neither one of these films were very well received, with critics noting that the films didn’t have anything to do with the larger Star Wars universe. The childish nature of these Ewoks is another reason people dislike the Ewoks, with some believing that these creatures were only created to appeal to kids.
Because of this, Barney’s theory regarding why people dislike Ewoks might have some truth to it. In the universe of the show, Nora was born in 1982, a year before Return of the Jedi released. If she took the time to see the movie when she was a kid, then she probably would have had a more positive opinion of the Ewoks compared to when she saw them as an adult. Ted, Marshall and Barney have been watching Star Wars their entire lives and will continue to do so for years to come, so their affinity for Ewoks, as well as the rest of the series, is well known. Even if there are some people who do love the Ewoks well into adulthood, there’s no denying that the furry creatures are easier to engage with as a kid.