Warwick Davis has defended cuddly 'Star Wars' characters the Ewoks.

The 42-year-old actor says the sci-fi franchise wouldn't have been the same without the cute teddy bear-like warriors and believes the Empire would not have fallen without the help of the miniature spear-wielding heroes.

Warwick - who portrayed Ewok Wicket in 'Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi' - told the Metro Newspaper: "There are 'Star Wars' fans who don't appreciate Ewoks for what they were. We kicked arse and helped the rebels defeat the Empire. Without us, what would have happened? But some people see Ewoks as an excuse to sell merchandise; they were 'too cute' and so on.

"That's a minority view within the 'Star Wars' community. When I go to the events, everyone is usually happy to see me."

Aside from his role in 'Star Wars', the actor has also had major parts in 'Willow', 'The Leprechaun' horror franchise and the 'Harry Potter' films as well as the lead role a fictional version of himself in sitcom 'Life's Too Short'.

Although he is happy to pose for pictures with fans, Warwick is sometimes stopped by people just because of his diminutive stature so he always he quizzes people on how they know of him.

He said: "People will ask for a picture. I do a quick test and ask what they've seen me in and sometimes they'll say, 'No, it's just because you're short and I want to show my friends.' It happened a couple of weeks ago. A woman asked for a picture of me and my family because we 'looked cute.' "