Star Wars: Droids

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Star Wars: Droids
Star Wars Droids.jpg
Based onStar Wars
by George Lucas
Developed by
Directed by
  • Ken Stephenson
  • Raymond Jafelice
Voices ofAnthony Daniels
Country of origin
  • United States
  • Canada
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes13
Production
Executive producer(s)
Running timeapprox. 22 minutes (per episode)
Production company(s)
Distributor
Release
Original networkABC
Original releaseSeptember 7, 1985 (1985-09-07) –
June 7, 1986 (1986-06-07)
Chronology
Related showsEwoks

Star Wars: Droids – The Adventures of R2-D2 and C-3PO is a 1985 animated television series spun off from the original Star Wars trilogy. It focuses on the exploits of droids R2-D2 and C-3PO between the events of Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. The series was produced by Nelvana on behalf of Lucasfilm and broadcast on ABC with its sister series Ewoks (as part of The Ewoks and Droids Adventure Hour).

The series ran for one season of 13 half-hour episodes; an hour-long special broadcast in 1986 serves as the finale. The opening theme, "Trouble Again", was performed by Stewart Copeland of the Police. During their adventures, the droids find themselves in the service of successive new masters, and encounter minor characters from the original trilogy such as Boba Fett and IG-88.

Premise[edit]

Droids follows the adventures of R2-D2 and C-3PO as they face off against gangsters, criminals, pirates, bounty hunters, the Galactic Empire and other threats. During their adventures, the droids find themselves in the service of successive new masters and in difficult situations as a result.

The series was retroactively placed four years after Revenge of the Sith and fifteen years before the events of A New Hope.[1]

Cast and characters[edit]

Main[edit]

Recurring/Guest[edit]

Episodes[edit]

Over the course of the series, the droids team up with four different sets of masters. The series falls into three cycles or arcs;[5] the droids usually run into their new masters at the beginning of each, and at the end are forced to leave. The Great Heep, a 48-minute television special following the series, serves as a prequel to the final arc.

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
The Battle Against Sise Fromm
1"The White Witch"Ken Stephenson & Raymond JafelicePeter SauderSeptember 7, 1985 (1985-09-07)
After being jettisoned over the deserts of Ingo by an unscrupulous former master, C-3PO and R2-D2 are taken in by speeder bike racers Jord Dusat and Thall Joben. Kea Moll sees them accidentally cross a restricted zone, and helps protect them from several deadly droids. One of gangster Tig Fromm's droids kidnaps Jord, and the droids assist Thall and Kea in rescuing Jord from Fromm's secret base, destroying much of his droid army in the process.
2"Escape Into Terror"Ken Stephenson & Raymond JafelicePeter SauderSeptember 14, 1985 (1985-09-14)
After C-3PO lets the hyperdrive of Kea's starship float away into space, he, R2-D2, Jord, and Thall stay with Kea and her mother, Demma, on Annoo while trying to secure a new hyperdrive. The droids discover that Kea is a member of the Rebel Alliance. While Jord stays with Demma, Thall, Kea and the droids sneak onto the Fromm gang's ship in order to infiltrate the secret base on Ingo. There, they capture the Trigon One, a weaponized satellite created by the Fromm gang to take over the galactic quadrant.
3"The Trigon Unleashed"Ken Stephenson & Raymond JafelicePeter Sauder & Richard BebanSeptember 21, 1985 (1985-09-21)
After the Fromm gang raids the speeder shop on Ingo and captures Thall, Kea and the droids, Tig reveals that he has kidnapped Jord and Demma, refusing to release them unless Thall reveals the location of the Trigon One. Thall does so, but the group is imprisoned with Jord—until the droids outsmart the guard. When Tig pilots the space weapon back to the base of his father, Sise, he discovers that its controls have been sabotaged and programmed to crash into the base. Jord goes to commandeer an escape ship while Thall and Kea rescue Demma, and the droids do what they can to help.
4"A Race to the Finish"Ken Stephenson & Raymond JafelicePeter Sauder & Steven WrightSeptember 28, 1985 (1985-09-28)
The team goes to Boonta to take part in a speeder race, but is pursued by the Fromm gang and forced to crash land. Sise hires Boba Fett to help exact his revenge, despite Jabba the Hutt having placed a bounty on the crimelord. To help repair the White Witch, C-3PO accepts the help of a droid who is revealed to belong to Fett. Tig plants a thermal detonator on the Witch, and Fett chases Thall into the race. In the melee, the explosive is used to destroy Fett's speeder. The despondent bounty hunter rounds up the Fromms to take to Jabba. Thall, Jord and Kea are offered careers with a speeder corporation, but refuse when they realize that R2-D2 and C-3PO would have to be reprogrammed. The droids decide to leave their masters so they can take the job.
The Pirates and the Prince
5"The Lost Prince"Ken Stephenson & Raymond JafelicePeter SauderOctober 5, 1985 (1985-10-05)
C-3PO, R2-D2 and their new master, Jann Tosh, befriend a mysterious alien disguised as a droid. Captured by crimelord Kleb Zellock, they are forced to mine Nergon-14, a valuable unstable mineral used in proton torpedoes, which Zellock plans to sell to the Empire. In the mines they meet Sollag, who identifies their friend as Mon Julpa, Prince of the Tammuz-an. Together they defeat the crimelord and escape the mines before they are destroyed in a Nergon-14 explosion.
6"The New King"Ken Stephenson & Raymond JafelicePeter SauderOctober 12, 1985 (1985-10-12)
The Droids, Jann, Mon Julpa and Sollag, along with freighter pilot Jessica Meade, travel to Tammuz-an to thwart Ko Zatec-Cha, an evil vizier with ambitions to seize the throne of the planet Tammuz-an. To achieve his sinister plans, Zatec-Cha hires bounty hunter IG-88 to capture Mon Julpa and his royal scepter.
7"The Pirates of Tarnoonga"Ken Stephenson & Raymond JafelicePeter SauderOctober 19, 1985 (1985-10-19)
While delivering much-needed fuel to Tammuz-an, the ship is hijacked by the notorious (yet diminutive) pirate, Kybo Ren-Cha. Jann, Jessica and the droids are captured and taken to the water planet Tarnoonga. C-3PO, R2-D2 and Jann must re-capture the fuel shipment and rescue Jessica from the lascivious advances of Captain Kybo Ren—but first have to survive the Miridon, a giant sea monster.
8"The Revenge of Kybo Ren"Ken Stephenson & Raymond JafelicePeter SauderOctober 26, 1985 (1985-10-26)
Kybo Ren escapes and kidnaps Gerin, the daughter of Lord Toda, Mon Julpa's political rival. The droids, Jann and Jessica follow Ren to the planet Bogden to rescue her before Mon Julpa is handed over in exchange. However, the tables are turned when Julpa reveals Lord Toda and a squad of Tammuz-an soldiers have smuggled aboard the pirate's own ship. Ren is sent back to prison and an alliance is forged between Julpa and Toda. Jessica, however, decides that it is time to return to her freighter business, and says goodbye to her friends.
9"Coby and the Starhunters"Ken Stephenson & Raymond JafeliceJoe Johnston & Peter SauderNovember 2, 1985 (1985-11-02)
C-3PO and R2-D2 are assigned to chapperone Lord Toda's young son, Coby, only to be captured by smugglers. They are eventually rescued by Jann, only for the droids to learn that he has been accepted into the Imperial Space Academy, leaving them once again masterless and on their own.
Unchartered Space
10"Tail of the Roon Comets"Ken Stephenson & Raymond JafeliceStory by : Ben Burtt
Teleplay by : Michael Reaves
November 9, 1985 (1985-11-09)
Mungo Baobab, with R2-D2 and C-3PO in tow, begins searching for the powerful Roonstones, but runs into an imperial entanglement.
11"The Roon Games"Ken Stephenson & Raymond JafeliceStory by : Ben Burtt
Teleplay by : Gordon Kent & Peter Sauder
November 16, 1985 (1985-11-16)
Having escaped, Mungo, C-3PO and R2-D2 once again make their way for the planet Roon, but it turns out that they have not seen the last of General Koong, a de facto governor desperate to win the support of the Empire.
12"Across the Roon Sea"Ken Stephenson & Raymond JafeliceStory by : Ben Burtt
Teleplay by : Sharman DiVono
November 23, 1985 (1985-11-23)
Mungo has just about given up hope on finding Roonstones, and accompanied by the droids, is about to return to his home planet, Manda.
13"The Frozen Citadel"Ken Stephenson & Raymond JafeliceStory by : Ben Burtt
Teleplay by : Paul Dini
November 30, 1985 (1985-11-30)
Mungo and the droids continue their search for the Roonstones, but Koong makes trouble for them.
Hourlong special
SP"The Great Heep"Clive A. SmithBen BurttJune 7, 1986 (1986-06-07)
C-3PO and R2-D2 travel to Biitu with their new master, Mungo Baobab, and confront an Abominor-class droid named the Great Heep, which builds onto itself from the remains of other droids.

Production[edit]

The series featured Anthony Daniels as the voice of C-3PO, who also portrayed the character in the films, along with the voice talents of Graeme Campbell, Rob Cowan, Don Francks, Peter MacNeill, John Stocker and Winston Rekert. Several episodes feature guest stars like Dan Hennessey, Chris Wiggins, George Buza, Andrew Sabiston, Eric Peterson, Rob Cowan, Jamie Dick, Cree Summer, Donny Burns, Alan Fawcett, Don McManus, Long John Baldry and Gordon Masten. Several episodes of the series were written by Star Wars sound designer Ben Burtt.

The series was produced by Nelvana on behalf of Lucasfilm and broadcast on ABC. Hanho Heung-Up Co. was the Korean company hired to animated the series.[2] The shows, Droids and Ewoks, were also played on the Sci Fi Channel in 1996 as a part of their early morning Sci-Fi cartoon run, although somewhat edited for time.

In the UK, BBC Television bought rights to screen the series in its entirety between 1986 and 1991 as part of the Children's BBC programming strand. The entire series was shown twice within this time (in 1986 and 1988 to coincide with the full release of the Star Wars trilogy as well as Droids on VHS). The Great Heep only made one showing in 1989 on BBC's Going Live!, which was a Saturday morning children's show—it was split into two parts over two weeks.[citation needed] Different episodes from different cycles were also screened across the five-year licence, with the Trigon cycle being shown in full in early 1991 on another Saturday morning children's show called The 8:15 from Manchester.

Broadcast[edit]

The series was broadcast on ABC with its sister series Ewoks (as part of The Ewoks and Droids Adventure Hour). It debuted in 1985 as part of a fitness special hosted by Tony Danza and live-action versions of the droids.[5] It ran for one season of 13 half-hour episodes; an hour-long special broadcast in 1986 serves as the finale. The series was later shown in reruns on Sci-Fi Channel's Cartoon Quest.[citation needed] The opening theme, "Trouble Again", was performed by Stewart Copeland of the Police and written by him and Derek Holt.

Merchandising[edit]

In 1985, Kenner produced a toy line based on the series, including action figures, ship models, and other items. Two action figures, Boba Fett and A-wing Pilot, were repackaged figures from the main Star Wars line.[2] The toy line was canceled after the first group of 12 figures[2] due to decreasing popularity with Star Wars. In 1987 and then 1988, Glasslite of Brazil issued remaining Kenner stock and produced a very limited run of remaining Return of the Jedi and Droids toys from a sell off. Certain vehicles, mini-rigs and action figures were issued by the company in new packaging. The character Vlix (Tig Fromm's henchman) was an action figure exclusive from unused molds by Kenner. Like the remainder of the Glasslite line, very few were made, even less were sold and most were recycled due to the failing economy when money was tight across the country.[6] Vlix is the most valuable Star Wars action figure at about $6,000 carded or $1,200 loose).[2]

A book was issued in the UK of the Episode "A Race to the Finish" as well as another book that had limited print runs.

Plans to release a storybook and cassette of the Trigon cycle for the publishing company Rainbow were abandoned after they lost the rights to re-issue their Star Wars run which included A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, Planet of the Hoojibs, Droid World and Return of the Jedi: The Battle of Endor due to poor reflective sales of Buena Vista's "Further Adventure" series overseas which included Mission to Ord Mantell, An Ewok Adventure and Ewoks: The Battle for Endor.

A computer game was released in 1988 for the ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC and Commodore 64 by Mastertronic. The game went largely unnoticed and was pulled from production due to licensing rights of the end title theme tune being used.

Comic book series[edit]

In 1986, Marvel' Star Comics imprint published a Star Wars: Droids comic series spun off from the cartoon. The bi-monthly series ran for eight issues.[2] Four issues and issue 5's cover of the series were drawn by John Romita, Sr. The "Lost in Time" crossover story from Droids #4 was continued in an issue of Ewoks.[2][7] The last three issues are part of an arc recounting the original Star Wars film from the droids' point of view. Additionally, Spanish comics publisher Editorial Gepsa produced two-page Droids comics as part of an anthology series.[8]

In 1994, Dark Horse Comics serialized a less-cartoonish Droids story in its self-titled compilation series, which led into a new comic series continuing the adventures of R2-D2 and C-3PO before the events of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope.[2][9]

Release on home video[edit]

Along with Ewoks, the entire series has yet to be released on home video.[5] Some episodes were released on VHS in the 1980s and 1990s, most notably the UK PAL releases over four cassettes (Droids 1–3 and The Great Heep), which had the opening sequences and credits edited out. In 1996, Rick McCallum produced The Pirates and the Prince, a direct-to-video movie compiled from four episodes,[10] and while working on the Star Wars prequel trilogy, expressed hope for an eventual release of the series on DVD.[11] In late 2004, McCallum produced a DVD titled Star Wars: Animated Adventures – Droids, which featured The Pirates and the Prince and Treasure of the Hidden Planet, a new compilation film including narration from Mungo Baobab (voiced by Alex Lindsay). Both titles included some soundtrack changes.[12] McCallum retired from Lucasfilm in 2012, making the future of its release uncertain.

Role in greater Star Wars continuity[edit]

In the original Star Wars film, C-3PO states that his and R2-D2's "last master was Captain Antilles."[5] The droids are placed in Antilles' care by Bail Organa at the end of Revenge of the Sith,[13] creating an apparent continuity error. This is explained by the droids being "accidentally separated from Antilles during the events of the animated series."[5] The duo is explicitly returned to Organa in a 2014 episode of the animated series Star Wars Rebels.[14]

Ben Burtt wrote liner notes for the Shadows of the Empire soundtrack, which referenced the Roonstones he had written about in Droids;[15] Burtt made a cameo appearance in Episode I – The Phantom Menace, and named his character after the Baobabs. Several references to the animated series are made in the prequels, such as the Boonta Eve Classic in The Phantom Menace, the planet Bogden in Attack of the Clones, and General Grievous' wheel bike design in Revenge of the Sith.[16] Additionally, possible sources of inspiration for sequel trilogy main characters Rey and Kylo Ren have been noticed.[17][5]

Genndy Tartakovsky gave C-3PO moving, expressive eyes in Clone Wars (2003) to pay homage to his previous animated appearances in Nelvana's Star Wars Holiday Special (1978) and Droids.[18] While Droids was excluded in the 2014 rebranding of Star Wars canon,[19] recurring villain Admiral Screed—"the Emperor's right-hand man during the early days of the Empire"[20]—makes appearances in canon novels such as Tarkin (2014) and Aftermath: Life Debt (2016).

The series depicts an A-wing fighter, also released as a toy to promote the series.[21] The A-wing was first introduced in Return of the Jedi, but later explained to be a new addition to the Alliance's fleet in Rebels.[22] The starfighter in Droids has been explained to be the first A-wing model, the R-22.[22]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Chee, Leland (Tasty Taste) (June 14, 2006). "Star Wars: Message Boards: Books, Comics, & Television VIPs". StarWars.com. Archived from the original on March 5, 2007. Retrieved November 2, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Greene, Jamie (January 18, 2018). "Everything You'd Ever Want To Know About Star Wars: Droids". Syfy Wire. Archived from the original on January 20, 2019. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Ewoks And Droids Adventure Hour: The Cries Of The Trees / The White Witch {Series Premieres} (TV)". Paley Center for Media. September 7, 1985. Archived from the original on March 2, 2019. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  4. ^ Seastrom, Lucas (November 15, 2018). "The Star Wars Holiday Special and the Debut of Boba Fett". StarWars.com. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Greene, Jamie (January 18, 2018). "Everything you'd ever want to know about Star Wars: Droids". SYFY WIRE. Retrieved June 8, 2019.
  6. ^ The Star Wars Collector's Archive
  7. ^ "Ewoks #10 - The Demons of Endor". Star Wars Holocron. February 21, 2012. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
  8. ^ "Droids and Ewoks Return: Spain's Lost Star Wars Comic Strips". StarWars.com. April 10, 2013. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
  9. ^ "Star Wars: Droids Special". Dark Horse Comics. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
  10. ^ "Cargo Bay: Droids: The Pirates and the Prince". StarWars.com. Archived from the original on June 9, 2007. Retrieved June 24, 2007.
  11. ^ "Star Wars: Community - Ewoks on DVD?". StarWars.com. June 26, 2002. Archived from the original on March 10, 2005. Retrieved October 19, 2018.
  12. ^ Rivera, Mark (2004). "Star Wars Animated Adventures Droids The Pirates And The Prince & Treasure Of The Hidden Planet Double Feature DVD Review". Genreonline.net. Retrieved June 24, 2007.
  13. ^ Gonzales, Dave (November 9, 2015). "R2-D2 is the biggest scumbag in Star Wars". Geek.com. Retrieved June 8, 2019.
  14. ^ Fitzpatrick, Kevin (October 16, 2017). "Every 'Star Wars Rebels' Connection to the 'Star Wars' Movies". ScreenCrush. Retrieved June 8, 2019.
  15. ^ Peña, Abel G. (July 5, 2013). "The Droids Re-Animated, Part 2". StarWars.com. Archived from the original on August 4, 2014. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
  16. ^ "From Boonta to Baobab: Droids and the Star Wars Prequels". StarWars.com. April 1, 2014. Retrieved September 15, 2016.
  17. ^ White, Brett (December 2, 2016). "Wait, Is Star Wars' Rey A Copy Of A Character From The Droids Cartoon?". CBR.com. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
  18. ^ Audio commentary tracks on the official Star Wars website and the "Volume One" DVD
  19. ^ "The Legendary Star Wars Expanded Universe Turns a New Page". StarWars.com. April 25, 2014. Retrieved October 19, 2018.
  20. ^ Slavicsek, Bill (1994). A Guide to the Star Wars Universe (2nd ed.). Del Rey. p. 11. ISBN 0-345-38625-6.
  21. ^ Bellomo, Mark (2014). The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Star Wars Action Figures, 1977–1985. F+W Media, Inc. p. 146. ISBN 9781440240591.
  22. ^ a b "A-wing Fighter". StarWars.com. Retrieved May 6, 2019.

Further reading[edit]

  • Star Wars: Droids 1985, George Lucas, Ben Burtt
  • Star Wars Insider #27
  • A Guide to the Star Wars Universe
  • The Star Wars Encyclopedia by Stephen J. Sansweet, ISBN 0-345-40227-8 Del Rey; first edition (June 30, 1998)

External links[edit]