- "Intruder alert, dispatch guardian droid."
- ―Announcement at Tig Fromm's base on Ingo
The Fromm Tower Droid, also known as a guardian droid and sentry droid, was a heavily armed droid designed by Tig Fromm, the son of the noted Annoo-dat crime lord Sise Fromm, and manufactured at his secret base on the planet Ingo. Four meters tall, with a cylindrical tower extending from an armored chassis, the Tower Droid could travel at speeds up to 100 kilometers per hour on six large pneumatic wheels. The Tower Droid was fitted with numerous sensors, and could respond to nearby threats with its arsenal of four laser cannons and two repulsor ball launchers. Tower Droids were primarily used by the Fromm Gang as perimeter sentries, but they were also used by the Confederacy of Independent Systems at the Battle of Xagobah during the Clone Wars. In 15 BBY, many Tower Droids were destroyed during the rescue of the captive speeder racer Jord Dusat from Tig Fromm's base, leading Fromm to increase production to cover the losses. Soon after, both Tig and Sise Fromm were captured by the bounty hunter Boba Fett. The Fromms' rivals seized their assets, and the remaining Tower Droids were dispersed around the galaxy.
- "Activate the droid cruisers. Seal off the exits. If they do manage to get outside, my droid cruisers will be waiting."
"As soon as your cruisers stick their noses outside, your sentry droids will blow them to bits."
"The sentry droids! The thermal spheres! Shut down power to the sentries, hurry!"
"This is what happens when you send a droid to do a man's job."
- ―Tig Fromm and Vlix Oncard
The Fromm Tower Droid was a fourth-degree droid intended for security and paramilitary use. Four meters tall and symmetrical front and aft, its engine and drivetrain were housed within a squat, armored chassis which rose to a little under half of the overall height. In addition to protecting the vulnerable components, the chassis provided the foundation for the cylindrical tower assembly. Alternate sections of both the chassis and tower were colored red and gray. Two thin, four-fingered arms extended from either side of the front of the base unit. The droid stood on six large, pneumatic wheels, with three located on either side of the chassis. The powerful engine and thick-tread tires allowed Tower Droids to easily traverse even rough terrain at high speeds. On flat ground, Tower Droids could reach speeds of up to 100 kilometers per hour, and the maximum speed adjusted automatically to the terrain to ensure that they did not risk tipping over. The tires were also fitted with a self-sealing mechanism to make them resistant to punctures.
The tower assembly housed the primary cognitive module and was crowned by a saucer-shaped head that was capable of 360-degree rotation. The Tower Droid was equipped with an array of sensors. Visual sensors for a range of wavelengths, as well as auditory, electromagnetic, radionic and seismic sensors, were located around the rim of the head, while infrared sensors were spaced around the top of the tower assembly. A broadband antenna extending from the top of the head allowed it to receive orders from a central command center and transmit guidance data to a number of seeker drones that it used to investigate suspicious sensor readings. Removing the head was sufficient to disable a Tower Droid.
The Fromm Tower Droid was heavily armed. Four laser cannons were located in pairs on the chassis, fore and aft of the tower assembly. The Tower Droid's primary weapon was a repulsor ball launcher located in the tower section. The obsidian repulsor balls were kept on two racks to either side of the primary cognitive module and released from two sliding panels on the front of the tower. These antigravity repulsor balls were small and maneuverable, with an inbuilt repulsorlift engine that allowed them to greatly exceed the speed of the Tower Droid and outrun a target vehicle at speeds of over 250 kilometers per hour. The spheres were operated remotely by the Tower Droid, which could control up to five at any one time, making them extremely difficult for a target to evade. Packed with powerful explosives, the repulsor balls were programmed to detonate when they closed to within one meter of their target, causing an explosion that could overcome most defensive systems.
- "Stay back, you…you…grease bucket!"
Tower Droids had no developed personalities and only rudimentary intelligence programming, leaving them unable to differentiate between friendly and hostile contacts. Their array of sensors, heavy armament, and ability to maneuver over rough terrain saw them primarily used by the Fromm Gang as mobile sentries. When its scans of the surrounding area revealed an intruder, the Tower Droid could use its seeker drones to investigate and capture the target, or utilize its weapon systems to neutralize it. Tower Droids also saw military use with the Confederacy of Independent Systems during the Clone Wars and were later used by assorted paramilitary groups. Tower Droids operating at Tig Fromm's base on the planet Ingo were stored in a large hangar when not in use. Fromm Tower Droids were commonly referred to as guardian droids or sentry droids.
- Thall Joben: "If we can reactivate the sentry droids, they'll destroy the cruisers with their spheres."
- R2-D2: [R2-D2 chatters]
- C-3PO: "There's an emergency override control out there, sir."
- Jord Dusat: "So override, Threepio, override!"
- C-3PO: "Me, sir? If I must."
- ―Thall Joben, R2-D2, C-3PO and Jord Dusat plan their escape[src]
The Fromm Tower Droid was created by Tig Fromm, the young son of the Annoo-dat Blue crime lord Sise Fromm, at some point prior to the end of the Clone Wars. Sise Fromm operated a legitimate import-export business on the Outer Rim planet Annoo that served as a front for a criminal organization involved in extortion, kidnapping and blaster running. A mechanical genius, Tig Fromm chose to put his skills to use constructing droids to serve the Fromm Gang in the belief that the greater loyalty, durability and firepower of droids made them superior to organic species. The Fromm Tower Droid was one of Fromm's less ambitious projects, but it became his most successful and enduring creation. The droids were created in their hundreds at Tig Fromm's base in the Vaj Desert on the planet Ingo and were deployed by the Fromm Gang at the Ingo base, Sise Fromm's stronghold on Annoo and the organization's facility on Aaron.
Although they were mainly intended for use as perimeter sentries, some Fromm Tower Droids came into the possession of the Confederacy of Independent Systems during the Clone Wars and saw action with the Separatist Droid Army in the latter stages of the war against Galactic Republic forces at the Battle of Xagobah.
By 15 BBY, Tig Fromm was completing work on his most ambitious creation, a powerful weapons satellite dubbed the Trigon One, which his father intended to use to take over the Fromm Gang's rivals. The project came to the attention of an anti-Imperial resistance cell on Annoo, who dispatched their agent Kea Moll to destroy it. When the young speeder racers Thall Joben and Jord Dusat, along with their droids C-3PO and R2-D2, entered the restricted zone around Tig Fromm's base while racing through the desert, they triggered the automated defenses. While swerving to evade an oncoming repulsor ball, C-3PO was thrown clear from Joben's landspeeder and landed near a Tower Droid. As the sentry droid prepared to fire a repulsor ball, Moll, observing from nearby, fired at the Tower Droid with her sawed-off blaster cannon, destroying it.
Fearing that Joben and Dusat might reveal the location of his base, Tig Fromm captured Dusat. Joining forces with Moll, Joben and his droids returned to the secret base to rescue Dusat. A Tower Droid moved to intercept them as they approached in Joben's landspeeder, the White Witch, but Joben used the speeder to decapitate the droid and disable it. The group made it inside the base and rescued Dusat. In response, Fromm positioned his droid cruisers outside the base to cut off their escape and shut down the Tower Droid sentries to prevent them from firing on the cruisers. However, C-3PO activated an emergency override control to reactivate the Tower Droids, causing them to head outside to engage the cruisers. While Fromm's droids fought each other, the intruders were able to slip away.
Many Tower Droids were destroyed during Dusat's escape, and Tig Fromm increased production to replace them. At some point, the Fromm Gang captured C-3PO and R2-D2 and imprisoned them at their facility on the planet Aaron. However, the droids escaped their cell, and the base's Tower Droids were unable to stop them fleeing Aaron after rendezvousing with Joben and Dusat. Joben eventually sabotaged Trigon One, causing it to crash into Sise Fromm's strongold, destroying both the base and the ship. When rival gangster Jabba the Hutt learned of the Fromms' plan to take over his own criminal empire, he placed a sizable bounty on the heads of the Fromm organization, leading to the capture of both Sise and Tig Fromm, along with their chief of security, Vlix Oncard, by the bounty hunter Boba Fett. The Fromm Gang's rivals moved quickly to seize their assets, including the 431 operational Tower Droids on Ingo. The droids were dispersed around the galaxy and ended up in use by a variety of groups, including revolutionaries, arms dealers and private collectors.
Behind the scenes
The Fromm Tower Droid was created for the animated television show Star Wars: Droids and made its only appearance in the first episode of the series, "The White Witch", which was written by Peter Sauder and directed by Ken Stephenson. The episode was first broadcast on September 7, 1985. The droids also appeared in two picture book adaptations of the episode, The White Witch: A Droid Adventure by Emily James and The White Witch. They later featured in the 1988 video game Droids: Escape from Aaron.
Only referred to as guardian droids or sentry droids in their early appearances, the droids were identified as Fromm Tower Droids in the 1999 reference book The Essential Guide to Droids by Daniel Wallace, which also gave a detailed description of the droids. An entry in The Official Star Wars Fact File 88 further expanded on their capabilities. The involvement of Tower Droids in the Clone Wars was established in the 2004 young reader novel Boba Fett: Pursuit by Elizabeth Hand.
- The Essential Guide to Droids (First identified as Fromm Tower Droid)
- The Official Star Wars Fact File 88 (FRO1-2, Fromm Tower Droid)
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 1.24 1.25 1.26 1.27 1.28 1.29 1.30 1.31 1.32 The Essential Guide to Droids
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 The New Essential Guide to Droids identifies armed droids used for security and military purposes as class four droids.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Boba Fett: Pursuit
- ↑ 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 The Official Star Wars Fact File 88 (FRO1-2, Fromm Tower Droid)
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7
- ↑ The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, Vol. I, p. 297 ("Fromm, Sise")
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 "Star Wars Droids: The Adventures of R2-D2 and C-3PO"—Polyhedron 170
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Droids: Escape from Aaron
- ↑ 9.0 9.1
- ↑ "A Star Wars CELibration"—Star Wars Insider 27