24. March 2014 13:01
If you took a look at the Ben Burtt article posted last week, you may have spotted the sidebar about an hour long Droids Special, written by the Sound Effects Designer:
The Great Heep is probably the least seen Star Wars spin-off. It aired in 1986 at a time when one generation of fans was drifting away from the fold and a new generation hadn't quite gotten involved yet. It has never been re-run or released on video.
The Great Heep was an hour-long Droids primetime special written by sound maestro Ben Burtt and produced by Nelvana—the Canadian animation house who did all the Star Wars animation including the legendary Boba Fett sequence from the Star Wars Holiday Special. Nelvana currently produces the Saturday morning hit WILDCA.T.S.
The story revolves around C-3P0 and R2-D2 traveling to the planet Biitu to join their current master Mungo Baobab. They arrive to find the planet controlled by a gargantuan evil droid called the Great Heep, who is in cahoots with the Empire and the evil Admiral Screed to enslave the planet and strip-mine all its resources. Mungo and the droids secretly conspire with the natives to overthrow the Great Heep and the Empire.
The show is most notable for the character development of R2-D2. The Great Heep feeds himself by sucking the life out of Artoo units like cough lozenges. R2-D2 is set up in a droid hotel luxuriously outfitted for the Heep's unwitting and doomed "harem." In it we see Artoo wolf whistling and making google eyes (to the extent that it's possible for a droid), at a cute pink (read: girl) Artoo unit, named KT-10. The two lovestruck droids are cavorting romantically in the lubrication pool when suddenly pink KT-10 is plucked away to feed the Great Heep. After some Artoo heroics (via the seldom seen R2-D2 para-sail) help save the day, R2-D2 and his band of liberated droids find poor pink KT-10 and revive her, joining together to form a droid to droid resuscitation.
The Great Heep, a rare example of events in the Star Wars universe prior to A New Hope; is also notable for the contribution of British celebrity Long John Baldry as the voice of the Great Heep, and ex-Police drummer Stewart Copeland who is credited with creating additional music.
[Source: Star Wars Insider #26, P.70. Text & Photos © copyright 1995 Lucasfilm Ltd. All rights reserved.]
Most of the official DVD releases of the Droids series have been recut or otherwise mangled and are altogether different from how they were originally broadcast back in 1985. As you'd expect from a community of devoted Star Wars fans, there are several preservation projects of Droids and Ewoks floating around on OriginalTrilogy.com, most recently Video Collector's PAL VHS Preservation and retartedted's Reconstruction from multiple sources, from which the video below was created.
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