This article is about the fictional droid. You may be looking for the Star Wars: Droids TV special.

"Your duty is to serve me and Biitu for the rest of your days. Escape is impossible. Any droid caught trying to leave will be used for scrap."
―The Great Heep[2]

The Great Heep was a large, masculine-programmed droid who operated an enormous fuel ore processing plant on the planet Biitu in the early days of the Galactic Empire. The Heep was an Abominor, a member of an extra-galactic species of advanced, self-constructing droids, which enslaved organic life on thousands of worlds before they were driven from their galaxy. The Heep was powered by an internal furnace that required a near-constant supply of fuel and further recharged himself by draining power from astromech droids. In 15 BBY, the Heep formed an alliance with Admiral Terrinald Screed of the Galactic Empire to mine fuel ore on Biitu, enslaving the native population and constructing a "moisture eater" that drained all moisture from the atmosphere to ensure optimum conditions. When the moisture eater was destroyed by the merchant Mungo Baobab and his droids, C-3PO and R2-D2, the stored water was released in a storm that extinguished the Heep's furnace and deactivated the droid.


Agent of the Abominor[]

By the time of the Imperial era, the Great Heep was already ancient. The Heep was an agent of the Abominor, an extra-galactic species of advanced, self-constructing droids, which exterminated or enslaved organic life on thousands of worlds as they stripped them of their natural resources. When the Abominor fought a war against the Silentium, a droid species which favored order over the asymmetry and chaos of the Abominor, the dominant organic species were able to regroup and drive both machine societies from their galaxy.[3][4] At least 300 years prior to the formation of the Galactic Empire, the Great Heep somehow ended up being shut down, with his lifeless body placed in the Braltzamir Museum of Antiquated Machinery on the capital world of the known galaxy, Coruscant. The Great Heep's display was eventually discovered during the early Imperial era by Admiral Terrinald Screed of the Imperial Navy. Alongside a team of students from the Imperial Engineers Academy, Screed was able to reactivate the Abominor.[4]

Imperial alliance[]

"Make way, make way for your new master, the master of Biitu, the Great Heep!"
―The Great Heep's announcer droid[2]

In 15 BBY,[1] the discovery of rich reserves of fuel ore on the Outer Rim world of Biitu attracted the attention of the Great Heep, along with the Empire and Mungo Baobab,[2] heir to the famed Baobab Merchant Fleet.[5] Baobab intended to establish a mining operation that would provide the native Biituians with a fair share of the profits.[2] The Great Heep, however, intended to enslave the local population and drain the planet of its resources.[6] The Heep formed a partnership with Screed, and together they seized control of Biitu and established a droid-run mining operation on the planet. Central to the mining operation was a tower known as the "moisture eater," which drained all moisture from Biitu's atmosphere, providing the dry environment preferred by the Abominor[3] and a means to cool the mining equipment,[5] at the cost of a drought that killed Biituian crops and left the farming-dependent natives on the verge of death.[2]

The Great Heep and Admiral Screed

The Heep took charge of running the mines and established a droid harem, where he kept a large supply of unassuming astromech droids, treating them to oil baths and other droid pleasantries before eventually draining their energy to recharge himself. Other captured droids were put to work in the mines, under supervision by the Heep's sludgegulper droids. Any droid that attempted to escape was used as scrap metal. Baobab was captured during the initial occupation, imprisoned, and forced to await the arrival of Screed. The merchant's droids, the R2-series astromech droid R2-D2 and the 3PO-series protocol droid C-3PO were also captured by sludgegulpers as they made their way to Biitu aboard the Baobab Merchant Fleet starship Argo Moon. While R2-D2 was sent to the droid harem, C-3PO was brought before the Heep with several other captured droids. The Heep was amused to learn of C-3PO's connection to Baobab and took delight in assigning the protocol droid to work in the mines.[2]

The mining operation soon produced the first batch of fuel ore for the Empire and the Heep met Screed as the admiral arrived to collect it and to take custody of the captive Baobab. That night, as the Heep recharged by draining energy from the astromech droid KT-10, C-3PO infiltrated the droid harem and warned the other astromechs about the Heep's intentions. Hearing the commotion, the Heep used his magnetic grapple to reach inside the droid harem and grab C-3PO. As punishment for the protocol droid's defiance, the Heep ordered C-3PO to be dismantled for use as spare parts, but C-3PO's warning prompted R2-D2 to escape from the harem. The following day, the Heep was processing fuel ore when he spotted the errant astromech droid. Intending to recharge from R2-D2, the Heep caught the other droid with his magnetic grapple, but R2-D2 disconnected the magnet's power cable and dropped to a conveyor belt below. R2-D2 escaped into the ore processing machinery, where he linked up with C-3PO, who had escaped custody before he could be dismantled. When the two droids re-emerged, the Heep was waiting and caught both in a container, which he sealed and disposed of in a laser furnace.[2]

Final defeat[]

"Screed, you incompetent fool!"
"Me? You lumbering junk heap. If you weren't so wrapped up with your droid harem, none of this would have happened."
"Tiny minded Imperial twit!"
"It was your useless droids that let out the R2 units. You're finished!"
―The Great Heep and Screed exchange insults as their scheme falls apart[2]

The Great Heep was kept on display following his defeat.

C-3PO and R2-D2 escaped once more and linked up with Baobab after he broke free of his cell. Sending the Biituian Fidge Tadrazan to free the astromechs from the harem, Baobab and the droids attempted to get aboard Screed's ship with the intention of using it to destroy the moisture eater. Screed attempted to stop them, but R2-D2 got away in the ship and the Imperials' efforts to shoot it down were hampered by the arrival of Tadrazan and the liberated astromechs, who started to attack Screed's stormtroopers. Arriving amid the chaos, the Heep blamed the situation on Screed, who in turn accused the Great Heep of failing to keep control of his droid harem. However, their bickering came to an abrupt end when R2-D2 opened the ship's cargo doors and dropped its load of ore containers before opening fire on the moisture eater. Attempting to restore order, the Heep summoned a pair of sludgegulpers and ordered them to destroy the cargo ship. When R2-D2 returned fire and destroyed the enemy droids, the Heep picked up a large metal disc from a nearby scrap pile and threw it at the cargo ship. The disc struck the vessel, causing it to lose altitude, but R2-D2 sent it on a collision course with the tower before abandoning ship.[2]

The cargo ship collided with the tower, causing the stored moisture to be released in a violent storm. With the destruction of the moisture eater, the enraged Heep turned his attention on Baobab, C-3PO and Tadrazan, attempting to crush them beneath his heavy grasping arms. The group fled, but Tadrazan fell, and Baobab stopped to help him. As the Heep raised his massive fist to crush the pair, he was struck by a bolt of lightning which severed his right arm, causing it to land harmlessly nearby. The Heep made one last desperate attempt at revenge, but as he raised his left arm to strike,[2] the torrential rain poured into his furnace, extinguishing it and deactivating the droid.[3] With the Heep gone, Screed and the other Imperials were easily rounded up by the natives and forced to help them restore their destroyed crops.[2]

The Great Heep was defeated without his Imperial overseers ever learning of his true age, and his deactivation deprived archaeologists of a rare opportunity to learn about the Abominor.[3] The Biituians initially kept the Heep's body on display, attaching a large bell to the pole that extended from his head in place of his magnetic grapple.[2] Sometime prior to 6 ABY, however, the Great Heep was found by Ebenn Q3 Baobab, a relative of Mungo Baobab, who restored the droid and placed his inactive body on permanent display at the Baobab Museum of Science.[7] In the following years, the Heep was studied by a team of researchers who concluded that as many as eighteen Abominors may have infiltrated the galaxy. The revelation led the researcher Professor Cantebarius H. Broom to develop a phobia of all droids and to set about trying to destroy any that came into his hands.[4]


"Curse you, Baobab!"
―The Great Heep's final words[2]

The Great Heep holds R2-D2 captive on his magnetic grapple while consuming fuel ore.

The Great Heep was a fourth-degree droid[3] with a masculine personality.[2] Like all fourth-degree droids, the Heep was built for violence. At 6.7 meters in height, he was enormous, but still small in comparison to other Abominor, some of whom grew to be as large as a planet. Abominor grew by grafting often unnecessary machinery onto their bodies, and the Heep's roughly cuboid body[3] was composed of assorted droid parts and tubing.[8] With rust setting in,[4] the plates comprising the Heep's hull varied in color, giving him a patchwork appearance composed of shades of metallic gray, brown[2] and red. On either side of the Heep's underside were two parallel sets of wheels used to drive tank treads,[3] allowing the droid to easily maneuver over uneven terrain.[2] Above each track was a drive belt, which connected to a set of visible drive engine pistons that moved up and down in rhythm.[3][2][8] Like other Abominor, the Heep was powered by a furnace. These internal fires were vulnerable to concentrated moisture, leading Abominor to prefer dry environments, such as the one the Heep created on Biitu.[3] The furnace produced noxious gases, which were released through seven smokestacks of varying sizes located on top and at the rear of the Heep.[3][2]

Many Abominor constructed faces for themselves to mock the organic slaves that served them; the Heep's own face mimicked that of an organic, with a mouth, two roughly triangular eyes and appendages resembling a nose and two ears.[3] The Heep's jaw moved on hinges, allowing him to open and close his mouth, although he did not need to do so when talking. The mouth was filled with various cables and machinery,[2] including grinder blades and an astromech droid-shaped socket through which the Heep could drain the life energy from smaller droids to recharge himself.[3] The lifeless shells of the Heep's victims were ejected after he absorbed all their energy. While on Biitu, the Heep also consumed fuel ore through his mouth, delivered via a large conveyor belt. Both the mouth and eyes had a faint, yellow glow, which became vivid red when the Heep was angry. When draining the energy from an astromech droid, the Heep's mouth glowed bright blue, and the normally black "pupils" faded into the yellow glow of the eyes.[2]

The Great Heep recharges by draining energy from an astromech droid.

The Heep had a magnetic grapple[3] that could be used to lift smaller droids and equipment. The grapple, a large, circular magnet, was suspended on a cable from a pole that could be retracted into the ridge on top of the Heep's head when not in use. A second cable carried power to the magnet and could be disconnected to disable the magnet.[2] Two large gripper arms extended from either side of the Heep's body, each ending in a red, three-fingered hand[3] with one digit opposing the other two to allow the Heep to grip objects.[2] The hands were powerful enough to easily lift and crush smaller droids[3] but could also be used to safely lift an organic or to manipulate objects such as door hatches.[2] The arms were hinged and could bend in either direction.[3] The Heep was attended by several repair droids,[6] while other small droids lived on his massive hull like parasites. During his work with the Empire, the Heep kept two delirious Human slaves nearby to feed his massive boilers with fuel.[8]

Like other Abominor, the Great Heep desired power and slaves. Despite his disregard for organic life,[3] he was prepared to work with the Empire to achieve his goals and even showed deference to Admiral Screed during their joint venture. However, when Baobab and his allies brought the mining operation to an end, the Heep was quick to blame Screed for its failure.[2] The Heep consumed everything in his path[6] and thought nothing of destroying Biitu's ecosystem to ensure his own survival. He frequently displayed amusement at the suffering he caused, both to organics and other droids, whom he was willing to sacrifice to consume their power or to use for scrap parts. When the Biitu mining operation fell apart, the Heep was determined to get revenge on Baobab, attempting to crush the Human beneath his giant arms even as the rain waters poured into his furnace.[2]

Behind the scenes[]

"For the design of Droids, we were lucky to have Joe Johnston on a few shows, as the designer of The Great Heep special. He did many designs which the animators then took a step further into animation."
Droids associate producer and story editor Paul Dini in 1988[9]

The Great Heep

The Great Heep was created by Ben Burtt[2] and designed by conceptual artist Joe Johnston[9] for The Great Heep, a TV special of the Nelvana animated series Star Wars: Droids which was first broadcast on June 7, 1986.[10] The character was voiced by blues performer and voice actor Long John Baldry.[2] Burtt later referenced the character in his 2001 Galactic Phrase Book & Travel Guide, establishing that the remains of the Great Heep were put on display at the Baobab Museum of Science.[7] The Great Heep's origins were not explained until the release of Daniel Wallace's The New Essential Guide to Droids in 2006.[3] Wallace identified the Great Heep as an Abominor and established a link between them and the Silentium,[11] a previously unidentified droid society to which Vuffi Raa from L. Neil Smith's 1983 trilogy The Lando Calrissian Adventures belongs.[12] How the Heep first came to form an alliance with Screed remained unstated until the 2013 release of the second part of the Star Wars Blog "The Droids Re-Animated" by Rich Handley and Abel G. Peña.[4]

In the second edition of A Guide to the Star Wars Universe (1994), Bill Slavicsek described the Great Heep's use of Human slaves to shovel fuel into his boilers.[8] Although this was never shown in "The Great Heep," in The New Essential Guide for Droids Wallace described the use of such organic slaves as common among Abominor.[2][3][11] The second edition of A Guide to the Star Wars Universe also described the Heep's drive pistons as visible on one side of his body and stated that one of his arms was chopped off at the elbow.[8] These descriptions were repeated in the third edition (2000), the Star Wars Encyclopedia (1998) and Star Wars: Behind the Magic (1998).[13][14][15] However, The Great Heep clearly shows the Heep with pistons on both sides and with both arms attached. When one arm is severed by lightning at the end of the special, it is at the shoulder, not the elbow.[2]


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Notes and references[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 PolyhedronLogo.png "Star Wars Droids: The Adventures of R2-D2 and C-3PO"—Polyhedron 170 states that Star Wars: Droids is set 15 years before the events of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, which corresponds to 15 BBY according to The New Essential Chronology.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.23 2.24 2.25 2.26 2.27 2.28 2.29 2.30 2.31 2.32 DroidsLogoMini.jpg Star Wars: Droids—"The Great Heep"
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 3.19 3.20 3.21 3.22 3.23 3.24 3.25 3.26 3.27 3.28 3.29 3.30 3.31 The New Essential Guide to Droids
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 StarWars.com The Droids Re-Animated, Part 2 on StarWars.com (article) (backup link)
  5. 5.0 5.1 Databank title.png Baobab, Mungo in the Databank (content now obsolete; backup link)
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, Vol. I, p. 362 ("Great Heep")
  7. 7.0 7.1 Galactic Phrase Book & Travel Guide
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 A Guide to the Star Wars Universe, Second Edition, Revised and Expanded, p. 193 ("Great Heep, the")
  9. 9.0 9.1 StarlogLogo.png "Saturday Morning "Star Wars"" – Starlog Yearbook Vol. 3
  10. SWInsider.png "Caravan of Courage: Star Wars on Television" – Star Wars Insider 32
  11. 11.0 11.1 StarWarsDotComBlogsLogoStacked.png "Endnotes for The New Essential Guide to Droids: PART 2 of 3" – Continuity, Criticisms, and Captain Panaka, Daniel Wallace's StarWars.com Blog (content now obsolete; archived from the original)
  12. StarWarsDotComBlogsLogoStacked.png "Endnotes for The New Essential Guide to Droids: PART 1 of 3" – Continuity, Criticisms, and Captain Panaka, Daniel Wallace's StarWars.com Blog (content now obsolete; archived from the original)
  13. A Guide to the Star Wars Universe, Third Edition, Revised and Expanded, p. 237 ("Great Heep")
  14. Star Wars Encyclopedia, p. 120 ("Great Heep")
  15. Star Wars: Behind the Magic

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