Disney+ is bringing us back to the classic generation once again! Today the streaming service released the 1985 animated Droids series which is comprised of 13 episodes plus the spin-off film, The Great Heep (for some reason this is listed as Season Two on Disney+). When Droids originally premiered in ’85 it was one half of the show, Ewoks and Droids Adventure Hour, so last April when Disney+ debuted the animated Ewoks series, it left everyone wondering, “Where’s Droids?” Whether it was held up in contractual limbo or whatever the reason, it is now here and we can now relive those Saturday mornings. This only leaves The Star Wars Holiday Special as original era screen content left to be released. But now back to Droids…
The Premise and the Best Theme Song for an Animated Series EVER!
Each episode begins with a techno pop theme by Stewart Copeland (from the band The Police). Each episode follows the adventures of R2-D2 and C-3PO as they find new masters such as Jord Dusat, Thall Joben, Jann Tosh, and Mungo Baobab. Throughout the series, the droids and their new masters must avoid the Empire and notorious bounty hunters Boba Fett and IG-88 (who finally gets active screen time). As a kid I was really hoping Captain Antilles would appear to tie into A New Hope line where C-3PO says that he was their last master.
Returning Star Wars Alumni
Anthony Daniels returns to voice C-3PO and modifies his performance to fit with the animation style and playfulness of the stories. Don Francks, who voices Boba Fett in The Star Wars Holiday Special, returns to voice Fett as well as Jann Tosh and Kybo Ren (No, not Kylo, KYBO. More on that in a minute). Star Wars Trilogy Art Director and future Captain America: First Avenger director, Joe Johnston, writes Episode 9, “Coby and the Starhunters.” Sound Designer Ben Burtt pens the stories in episodes 10-13. Burtt also writes the TV movie, The Great Heep.
It won’t take a die-hard fan to spot foreshadowing of things to come. In the episode “A Race to the Finish,” the droids and their new companions head to the planet Boonta to compete in the Speeder Race. Don’t tell me the Boonta Eve podrace on Tatooine in The Phantom Menace was a coincidence.
In the episodes “The Pirates of Tarnooga” and “The Revenge of Kybo Ren,” the droids and their new friends are pitted against the space pirate, Gir Kybo Ren-Cha. Are you with me on this one and love how close this name is to Kylo Ren? Just look at the picture below to see where the similarities end. It’s no mystery that there are plenty of Easter Eggs, callbacks, and foreshadowing in Star Wars (just watch The Mandalorian and The Bad Batch to see dozens). The filmmakers of present day Star Wars films and shows are all massive fans and grew up with these animated series and the classic Marvel Star Wars comics. So it only makes sense they would go through these vintage stories to find useful nuggets.
Not for Sensitive Viewers
The plot in the last episode, “The Frozen Citadel,” hits very close to what we’ve been dealing with in 2020-2021. Governor Koong releases a deadly biological weapon, the Rooze Disease. This disease is so deadly that when the Empire tried to utilize it in the past, it killed many Imperial officers. Now the Rooze Disease is affecting loved ones of the droids new friends as well as Koong himself. I know it will be hard to watch anything that has to do with a virus, outbreak, and lockdowns for a while, but while viewing this episode I started to feel uneasy. This isn’t the first time a deadly virus has been seen in Star Wars. The Blue Shadow Virus from Star Wars: The Clone Wars was nearly a threat on Naboo until the Jedi Order stopped it.
Did you watch Droids when it first aired on ABC-TV in 1985-1986? Did you collect any of the Kenner toys during its short run? Is this your first time seeing these episodes? We would love to hear what you think of them. Just keep in mind they were made for the 8-10 year olds and were on a very tight budget. Now, I bet you can’t get that theme song out of your head! You’re welcome!