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Western Animation / Droids

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Star Wars: Droids — The Adventures of R2-D2 and C-3PO is a cartoon from the mid-80s, produced by Nelvana for ABC starring the titular robots of Star Wars. It follows the two droids during their adventures long before the original trilogy (four years after Revenge of the Sith, to be exact). Along the way, they run into angry mob bosses, lost kings, and all manner of monsters and hostile robots. It was partnered with fellow Star Wars-based cartoon Ewoks, though this show didn't get a second season unlike Ewoks. Although it did get a primetime special with "The Great Heep".

Due to the Legends revamp, this show is no longer considered canon. However, it's still worth checking out for fans of 80s animation, to see how much of it influenced later Star Wars works (sometimes in surprising ways), and to see just how far animated adaptations of Lucasfilm properties have come over the years. It is now available on Disney+.

Artoo! HELP!! We're being attacked by the following tropes!

  • Adaptational Skill: Artoo and Threepio are able to move more quickly and fluidly than they could in the actual movies. Also, Threepio can blink now.
  • Abusive Parents: Sise Fromm isn't especially fond of his son, Tig. This is probably because Tig brings his father no small amount of misery.
  • Action Girl: Kea Moll. Jessica Meade as well. At least, during their introductions.
  • Ambiguously Human: Kleb Zellock, Gir Kybo Ren-Cha and Terrinald Screed. Kleb and Kybo are officially considered aliens while Screed is human, but Kleb looks relatively human save for his fangs, Kybo Ren looks completely human and Screed's face is jacked up enough to make you question.
  • Animation Bump: The TV special The Great Heep has higher quality animation than the regular episodes.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Coby, Gerin's little brother. In something of an inversion, he's nothing but kind to his older sister, but an irritation to everyone else, especially in Coby and the Starhunters where he treats Threepio and R2 like crap, and blames them for Ingey being stolen by thieves and their ship getting a fuel leak (all of which was indirectly his fault for running all over the platform to get away from his droid chaperones, exposing Ingey to the thieves, and the shot that cut their fuel tank came from an alien that he angered earlier).
  • Becoming Part of the Image: At the start of The Great Heep, one of Threepio's many pratfalls cause his head to replace that of Mungo in a picture.
  • Berserk Button: For Tig Fromm, it's being called "Tiggy".
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Governor Koong, he tries desperately to be a high roller in the empire, but can't do anything to impress Admiral Screed who only sees him as a pawn for the Emperor.
  • Big Fun: Jord Dusat. Unusually for an 80's cartoon, his size is never brought up in conversation, nor is he ever seen taking any particular pleasure in food.
  • Blind Without 'Em: Slarm. He's basically an Expy of Velma.
  • But Now I Must Go: Threepio and Artoo help Thall and Jord get their dream jobs at Zebulon Dak Speeder Corporation, but overhear a conversation between them and Kea about how the company has an uncompromising memory-wiping policy for droids and how the two of them plan to reject said jobs to keep Threepio and Artoo the way they were. Rather than allow that to happen, the droids quietly take an escape pod and leave the ship.
  • Call-Forward: The diner from the beginning of "The Lost Prince" seems similar to the Mos Eisley cantina, and a similar diner from The Clone Wars episode "Missing In Action." (For extra kicks, it also has a band similar to Jabba's thrown in.)
  • Catchphrase: Threepio has "It is our honour and privilege to serve!" and "I do love a happy ending!", the latter said at the end of each episode cycle.
  • Character as Himself: R2-D2, thanks to his voice being recycled.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Admiral Screed shows up in "A Race to the Finish" before becoming a major villain.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: After finishing Star Wars (Marvel 1977), Marvel Comics made an eight-issue comic based upon the show. The first few stories take place some time before the show's events and, in its final issues, tells the story of a certain movie from the droids' perspective.
  • Creepy Monotone: IG-88. For good measure, Evil Sounds Deep as well.
  • Darker and Edgier: The Great Heep has a significantly darker and more sinister tone than the rest of the series, especially when compared to the first few episodes of the show.
  • Do-Anything Robot: R2-D2, the show took the examples set by the movies and took it to its logical extreme.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Artoo in "The Trigon Unleashed." To be fair, he was trying to maneuver a fast-moving platform while inside a building with narrow hallways.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Kybo Ren has a brief appearnce in "The New King", before acting as the Arc Villain of "The Pirates of Tarnoonga" and "The Revenge of Kybo Ren".
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: The Trigon One, at full power, has the capacity to blow up a planet. Apparently the Empire got their superweapon ideas from low-life gangsters.
  • The '80s: Hoo baby. Everything about this show — the hair, the animation, the music, the art style — screams eighties like you wouldn't believe. Appropriately enough, the show ran from 1985-86.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Admiral Screed — Imperial warlord and representative of Palpatine — draws the line at using Rooze Disease to wipe out insurgents. Justified, since he's seen it used before, and it ended up killing as many Imperials as Rebels.
  • Evil Chancellor: Ko Zatec-Cha, who mind-wiped his Crown Prince and disguised him as a droid so he'd miss the time window where he could assume kinghood and Ko could take over. He also sounds like he smokes ten packs a day.
  • Fading Away: This is what happens to humans who succumb to Rooze Disease.
  • Family-Friendly Firearms: Whenever stormtroopers showed up, instead of rifles or pistols, they'd use force pikes instead (though these were retroactively labeled as force pikes, previously they were simply "blaster staffs"). The heroes don't use anything resembling the usual guns in the films, more like block-shaped devices are used instead. Amusingly, the one time a traditionally gun-shaped weapon is shown, it turns out to actually be a Seed Launcher that fires rapidly growing vines that restrain the first thing the touch, effectively making it a Family-Friendly Firearm by virtue of non-lethal ammo.
  • Fire/Water Juxtaposition: The Frozen Citadel is located atop (or rather, inside) a snow-covered mountain...which just so happens to be a volcano.
  • Four-Fingered Hands: The show is infamously inconsistent as to whether it portrays human characters with five-fingered hands or four-fingered hands. C-3PO consistently has four fingers, although he has five in his live-action iteration.
  • Fruit Cart: In Across The Roon Sea R2 manages to get launched into one when trying to wrangle some spooked stampeding animals.
  • Fun Size: Artoo, after touching the shrinking mirror.
  • Genre Shift: It can be hard to remember this series takes place in the Star Wars universe.
  • The Ghost:
    • Jabba the Hutt is mentioned by Boba Fett in "A Race to the Finish" and by Lin-D in "Across the Roon Sea", but Jabba himself never physically appears.
    • The Emperor never physically appears, but is frequently mentioned by Screed.
  • Gilded Cage: In The Great Heep, captured R2 units are sent to live in a luxurious harem... for a while.
  • Good Cop/Bad Cop: Threepio and Artoo use this technique on Jyn Obah. Artoo plays the bad cop, trying to appear as a torture droid with all of his devices out while Threepio plays the good cop, begging Jyn Obah to give Artoo the information he needs so he doesn't have to witness what Artoo will do to Jyn.
  • The Good King: Mon Julpa.
  • Got Volunteered: In "Across the Roon Sea," Gaff tries to capture the heroes under the pretext of looking for "able-bodied volunteers to join the Koong Navy."
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Emperor Palpatine. He's repeatedly mentioned and alluded to, but never appears physically.
  • Had the Silly Thing in Reverse: In "A Race to the Finish" Tig Fromm declares that our heroes won't get away, and that his own, damaged, hyperdrive is working just fine. As soon as he activates it, though, his shuttle jumps into hyperspace backwards.
  • Happiness in Slavery: This is Threepio's line of thinking.
    C-3PO: What are we going to do now? We can't function without a master.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Governor Koong utilizes the Rooze Disease against dissidents, something that even the Empire is shocked by. However, there is a leak and Koong is exposed to it, which ultimately kills him.
  • Impact Silhouette: In "The Roon Games," this occurs when Bun-Dingo crashes into the ground after the gravity has been artificially increased.
  • Improbable Age: Kea Moll is a Rebel agent. According to supplementary materials, she's all of seventeen years old, which to be fair is not that outrageous by Star Wars standards. Her mother's also an agent, so it's likely she got her daughter into it.
  • Insectoid Aliens: Gaff, aide-de-camp to Bisad Koong on Roon is a Kobok, who resembles a wingless insect.
  • Intoxication Ensues: Although Koboks are immune to the the Rooze disease, the cure for Rooze seems to both make them drunk and start them laughing uncontrollably.
  • Intrepid Merchant: Mungo Baobab, in addition to being the heir of the Baobab merchant fleet, is an explorer and adventurer who seeks famed ancient treasures.
  • Iron Butt Monkey: Both our robotic heroes, actually. Threepio for surviving each hazard they fall into; Artoo for putting up with Threepio's incessant whining.
  • Killer Robot: But of course! This is the Star Wars universe. (Obviously averted by our two heroes, however.)
  • Knight of Cerebus:
    • Admiral Screed. In contrast to the show's usual harmless villains, Screed's men were responsible for, among other things, theft, poisoning, attempted murder and even ( failed) genocide. Appropriately enough, he was the face of the Galactic Empire on the show.
    • The Great Heep, the main villain of the made-for-TV movie of the same name, was one of the most terrifying villains ever on the show. Appropriately enough, Screed first appeared in this episode as well (in fact, they are working together). Thankfully, the Great Heep is destroyed at the end of the movie.
  • Lazy Artist: It's easy to see places where the animators cut corners — characters' skin colour will change randomly between frames; they can even lose (and suddenly regain, then just as suddenly lose) entire facial features. Interestingly, the show had a surprisingly large budget for the time it was made (it cost between $500k and $600k to produce two episodes of Droids and Ewoks).
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In "Tail of the Roon Comets," Threepio is about to have his memory wiped and he's asked if he has a preference for a new name. He starts to say he's always been partial to "Anthony," as in the name of his actor.
  • Lighter and Softer: Although the original trilogy was fairly idealistic, the cartoon is far more so.
  • Logical Weakness: The Mud-men of Roon can be dissolved/separated into smaller parts with a directed spray of water.
  • Long-Lost Relative: Old Ogger turns out to be Mungo's great uncle.
  • Mechanical Abomination: The Great Heep from the movie of the same name. Later Star Wars material would reveal that he's an Abominor, an extra-galactic droid that even the Yuuzhan Vong feared.
  • Miles Gloriosus: Threepio, Threepio, Threepio. No sooner do you open your mouth (well, activate your audio) then you find yourself in trouble, screaming for Artoo to save you. And then when he does, you claim you had the situation under control the entire time!
  • Mythology Gag: Lucasfilm has made many nods to this show over the years.
    • The Boonta Speeder Race is very similar to the Boonta Eve Podrace from The Phantom Menace, and not just in the name.
    • General Grievous's wheel bike from Revenge of the Sith seems inspired by a similar vehicle driven by Jann Tosh.
    • In Attack of the Clones, Jango Fett mentions being recruited by Count Dooku on one of Bogden's moons — a planet the droids visited in one episode.
    • Two entire episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars are based around Artoo and Threepio getting into weird mishaps. Predictably, they were two of that show's weirdest episodes.
    • Supplementary materials for Star Wars Rebels reveals Kanan's speeder bike as a product from Zebulon Dak Speeder Corporation called the Joben T-85, presumably designed by Thall Joben himself.
  • Never My Fault: Governor Koong in his final appearance blames Mungo Baobab for all his misfortune, not taking any responsibility for his own greed and incompetence.
  • Never Say "Die": As per Saturday-Morning Cartoon convention, "destroy" and other such euphemisms are used in place of "die" and "kill." Apparently, it's okay for Old Ogger to die onscreen so long as he's described as "gone" rather than "dead." Averted in The Great Heep, which is Darker and Edgier compared to the regular episodes.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Subverted when Coby shoots the bridge holding the patrol droid which has captured Greej. At first, it appears Greej is going to fall, but he grabs a hanging piece of wood, and the droid falls alone.
  • No Man Should Have This Power: After Thall, Kea and Jord get control of the Trigon, Thall is of the opinion that while a ship with the capacity to destroy a planet would be a great boon to the Rebel cause, it's too dangerous to be allowed to exist. The others agree, and they hide the ship, then eventually destroy it.
  • Non Sequitur, *Thud*: In "The White Witch", after Threepio gets shocked and collapses, he says, "Artoo, you look lovely!"
  • Noodle Incident: The pilot episode begins with the droids left in the middle of nowhere after an unexplained incident.
  • Off Stage Villainy: The Galactic Empire is nowhere to be seen until later episodes. Possibly explained by the fact that the show takes place in 15BBY --- the Empire may not have taken over the entire galaxy yet.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: The Great Heep recharges by draining power from R2 units, essentially killing them. However, Artoo is able to bring back his girlfriend in the end.
  • Prequel: The show takes place in 15BBY, placing it 15 years before A New Hope. That's right; Star Wars had prequels before the prequel trilogy.
  • Prisoner Exchange: Kybo Ren holds Gerin Toda hostage in exchange for his men and ship, and later expands his demands to King Mon Julpa. Neither holds up their of the bargain as Kybo refuses to return Gerin and Julpa and Toda hide soldiers in Kybo's ship.
  • Ramming Always Works: In the third episode, the gang reprograms the Trigon One to collide with its owners' base.
  • Samus Is a Girl: Or rather, Old Iron Pants is Jess Meade.
  • Short-Runners: A single 13-episode (well, 14 if you count The Great Heep) season from '85-'86.
  • Slave Galley: "Across the Roon Sea" sees the heroes forced to work as galley rowers in total Ben-Hur style, never mind that they should have more advanced methods of propelling a boat. Hell, the slaves ultimately escape in motorized lifeboats! Apparently, the bad guys were just doing the slavery to be jerks.
  • Space Pirates: The droids encounter these in a few episodes lead by Kybo-Ren.
  • Spiritual Successor: To the cartoon from The Star Wars Holiday Special. Both feature similar character designs, a similar overall look, and Don Francks as the voice of Boba Fett. And, of course, both were done by Nelvana.
  • Stealth Pun: Sise (pronounced size) Fromm is a Fat Bastard.
  • Stock Sound Effects: Everything. Ben Burtt's original sound designs from the films pretty much dominated the show.
  • Swiss-Army Weapon: You thought Artoo was useful in the movies? You ain't seen nothing yet. He's got everything from a parachute to an umbrella in there.
  • The Klutz: Threepio, full stop.
  • Too Important to Walk: Sise Fromm tends to get around via his hover-chair, rather than by using his legs.
  • To the Pain: C-3PO and R2-D2 get Jyn Obah to reveal Gerin Toda's location by making R2 appear to be a torture droid at 3PO is terrified of. Once Obah talks, R2 reveals the torture implement was really a party function.
  • Trojan Horse: When Julpa returns Kybo's vessel as part of a hostage exchange, he reveals he hid his soldiers in a secret compartment.
  • Troll: Take a wild guess.
  • Truer to the Text: The cartoon takes away some of of the Flanderization the post-New Hope movies put Threepio through in the original trilogy, making him a bit more clever and wily and allowing him to use his wits to outsmart enemies several times.
  • Villainous Friendship: Subverted as Kybo-Ren seems happy to get his right hand man Jyn Obah back, he really was talking about his ship.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Artoo and Threepio. They may bicker incessantly, but it's clear that they're True Companions.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Because this show is rated G.
  • You Said You Would Let Them Go: Julpa agrees to return Kybo-Ren's men to him along with King Mon Julpa in exchange for his daughter, only to refuse when he gets what he wanted. Fortunately Julpa and Mon Julpa were working together behind his back, hiding soldiers within Kybo's vessel.
  • You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry!: The Durkii. Normally, it's a Gentle Giant. But when infested with Kleex, it becomes hostile.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Star Wars Droids


Force Pikes

Can't have blasters that look like guns in a cartoon for kids!

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / FamilyFriendlyFirearms

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