- "That was my favorite episode. Ben [Burt] has a particular affection for me as C-3PO and has a natural empathy toward R2-D2."
- ―Anthony Daniels
The Great Heep is a one-hour animated television movie that serves as a prequel to the Mungo Baobab cycle of episodes of Star Wars: Droids: The Adventures of R2-D2 and C-3PO. Written by Ben Burtt and directed by Clive A. Smith, the special originally aired on ABC on June 7, 1986.
The episode opens with the Argo Moon traveling through hyperspace. C-3PO and R2-D2 are traveling in the cockpit while Cag and his co-pilot pilot the ship. C-3PO hopes to join Master Mungo Baobab at his new outpost. R2-D2 beeps while C-3PO looks forward to serving. Misunderstanding the protocol droid, R2-D2 fetches a mop and bucket of water for C-3PO, splashing him with water.
A new shadow
On the lush planet of Biitu, Mungo rides a rockhopper down a hill and over a bridge. He approaches a farming settlement where Biituians are working in the field harvesting crops. They greet Mungo, who remarks they are having a good harvest. The burrowing pet reptile Chubb and his Biituian companion Fidge Tadrazan burrow a tunnel through the field before emerging under a tree.
Fidge later greets Mungo, presenting him a fruit. Mungo initially has trouble understanding Biituian. Speaking in Galactic Basic Standard, Fidge asks Mungo if he has found what he has come for. Mungo tells the boy that he has found a rock which he believes will make the Biituians very rich. He says that he has found more of the rocks near the ruins on the hill. The rockhopper begins braying as a dark shadow descends over the village, generating winds and a storm that damages the fruit trees. Mungo wonders what is that while the locals watch with fear. Mungo is knocked unconscious by a plank. Fidge and Chubb watch in horror as the large object hangs over their village.
Meanwhile, R2-D2 and C-3PO watch as the Argo Moon enters Biitu's atmosphere. C-3PO looks forward to settling down on the peaceful planet while R2-D2 mops the command bridge. C-3PO offers to put a good word for R2-D2 and pays attention to attending Mungo's clothes and personal effects. C-3PO has ambitions of being promoted to a position that fits his programming. However, he slips on a puddle of water and damages a portrait featuring Mungo an alien.
Captain Cag chastises C-3PO for creating a mess and tells him to clean things up since they will be docking. C-3PO in turns issues orders to R2-D2, lecturing him about Biitu being a civilized planet that doesn't tolerate unkemptness and untidiness. Just then, the Argo Moon is attacked by a swarm of Sludgegulpers, which proceed to board the ship. The crew are incapacitated by sleeping gas. C-3PO thinks this is a misunderstanding and tries to reason with the Sludgegulpers. However, he and R2-D2 are taken captive by the droids, who take them aboard their starship.
Captives of the Great Heep
This starship flies to the now ravage Biituian village, whose surroundings have been turned into a desert. C-3PO observes that the crops have dried up. C-3PO, R2-D2 and other captive droids are dropped down by a grappling rope. The starship ascends. C-3PO is grabbed by a giant droid which deposits him in a container with other droids. R2-D2 fights back, splashing the giant droid with water. The giant droid splashes R2-D2 with water and grabs him. C-3PO watches in despair as he is driven away in the container speeder. He wishes that Master Mungo was here.
R2-D2 is taken to a cell in large fortress. He is repaired by a small spherical droid and finds himself overlooking the ramparts of a vast stony fortress. The spherical droid takes him to the Biitu droid harem, which is full of astromech droids enjoying oil baths. A butler droid welcomes R2-D2, claiming that their master the Great Heep wants all R2 units to relax and enjoy themselves. R2-D2 is perplexed.
C-3PO and several droids line up outside the large fortress, which turns out to be a Fuel-ore processing plant. A floating droid announces the arrival of the Great Heep, a gigantic Abominor with wheels who tells the new batch of droids that their duty is to serve him and Biitu for the rest of their days. C-3PO panics. The Great Heep warns that any droids caught trying to leave will be used for scrap. The massive droid takes an interest of C-3PO, grabbing him.
Meeting Mungo and the natives
When C-3PO tells him that Mungo Baobab is his master, the Great Heep bursts out laughing before dropping C-3PO. The Great Heep summons one of his droid servants to fetch him an R2 unit to recharge. He shows C-3PO the captive Mungo, who is imprisoned in a cage. Great Heep informs C-3PO that they captured Mungo when the Empire took over this colony and set up the mine. C-3PO speaks to the captive Mungo, who is pleased to see the protocol droid. Mungo asks about the whereabouts of the crew and ship but C-3PO doesn't know. C-3PO thinks that the Great Heep and his followers only abduct droids.
The servant droid returns with a red R2 unit and throws him into the Great Heep's maw. Mungo explains that the Great Heep uses R2 units to recharge himself. C-3PO fears for R2-D2 while watching the Great Heep devouring the red R2, which is reduced to a golden husk. The Great Heep orders that C-3PO be placed on the lube crew. Two sludgegulpers assign C-3PO with carrying a load, causing C-3PO to grumble. Other droids are forced to transport large rocks carrying ore into the factor.
C-3PO asks Mungo what happened. Mungo explains that this site on Biitu used to be a thriving farm colony until the Greet Heap arrived with the moisture eater. He explains that moisture eater's tower pulls in all the rainfall, keeping it absolutely dry so that the Great Heep can mine the fuel ore. Mungo tells him that the people here are beginning to die from thirst. A guard droid demands that C-3PO give him a drink of oil. Mungo asks C-3PO to get some water from a ramp, giving him a pouch.
C-3PO walks into the cave, while worrying about Mungo and R2-D2. R2-D2 meanwhile enjoys himself in the droid harem with the other astromech droids. R2-D2 takes a liking to a female astromech droid and the two bathe in the oil bath. A waiter serves another droid one high-tier special. An underwater giant claw grabs an unsuspecting R5 series astromech droid. Meanwhile, C-3PO finishes filling the pouch but is taken for a ride by a burrowing creature, which turns out be Chubb and Fidge.
Fidge speaks to Chubb and also drains water from the fountain. Fidge is initially distrustful of C-3PO until the droid speeaks the Biituian language. C-3PO warns Fidge that it is dangerous here. Fidge explains that his family needs the water and that he and Chubb got in here by digging. C-3PO tells Fidge that he can help Master Mungo. Fidge asks if Mungo is alright. The three flee an approaching circular Gulper droid.
The Gulper droid pursues them. Fidge and Chubb run out of the cave, going past Mungo's cage. They manage to hide in a box. C-3PO soon follows but Mungo spays the Gulper with oil, causing it to roll back into the cave. While Mungo drinks water, he tells C-3PO to follow Fidge into the pipes since Fidge may be able to show them a way out. C-3PO complies and climbs into the pipe. Mungo resolves to destroy the moisture eater.
Meanwhile, Admiral Terrinald Screed's cargo ship lands outside the Great Heep's ore factory. Admiral Screed asks if the first back of ore fuel is ready to load. The Great Heep says that it is ready and will prepare it for loading. He also claims that the captive Mungo Baobab is no longer a threat. He shows Screed the captive Baobab. Screed taunts Baobab that the Empire beat him and the Baobab Merchant Fleet to Biitu first.
Mungo counters that the fuel rightfully belongs to the people of Biitu. Screed responds that the drought will drive them out. Mungo responds that the drought will kill the Biituians. Screed tells Mungo that he will take him back in hibernation since the Emperor regards him as an important prisoner. Mungo vows to escape.
A rescue plan
Later that night, a stormtrooper stands on guard duty as a labor droid loads ore into the ship. C-3PO also returns in the night, telling Mungo that he has been unable to find Fidge. C-3PO also fears the fate of R2-D2 being turned into food for the Great Heep. Mungo realizes that R2-D2 has been taken to the Great Heep's harem. C-3PO is startled by Fidge and Chubb, who emerge from their hiding place.
Mungo is also pleased to see Fidge, who has brought a saw. C-3PO translates for Fidge, who explains that there is a network of pipes under the quarry. Fidge thinks they can use them to return to the village. Baobab realizes that the people of Biitu can't hold out for much longer. Mungo decides to escape offworld to seek help on a cargo ship. He thinks he can't fly the ship alone. C-3PO proposes using an R2 unit to tie into the ship's control system and fly the ship. At Mungo's suggestion, C-3PO asks Fidge if he can help him find a way into the droid harem.
Fidge tells C-3PO and Baobab that there is a way into the harem beyond the palace guards. Mungo sends C-3PO to accompany Fidge to rescue R2-D2. Baobab begins sawing through the bars, resolving to get aboard the ship before morning. Meanwhile, C-3PO along with Fidge and Chubb climb out of a tunnel, which leads to a stairwell that takes them into the droid harem. Inside the harem, R2-D2 flirts with a female astromech droid named KT-10.
C-3PO, Fidge and Chubb hold onto a long stony structure. Below, the Great Heep summons his servants to bring him a pink astromech droid. C-3PO loses his grip on the stone but grabs a lasso that brings him into the droid harem. He finds R2-D2 within the droid harem. R2-D2 is delighted to see him. C-3PO tells R2-D2 and the other astromechs that the Great Heep is not a nice fellow and plans to destroy them. An underwater claw grabs R2-D2's pink companion, startling the droids. As C-3PO reiterates his warning, the droids are startled by the screams of KT-10. After C-3PO tells R2-D2 that Master Mungo needs him, he is grabbed by the Great Heep. Fidge and Chubb managed to evade attention. C-3PO pleads for help.
Escaping the Great Heep
Later, R2-D2 parachutes down the battlements and lends on top of a speeder transport. Near dusk, Mungo is sawing through the bars when Admiral Screed arrives with a pair of stormtroopers and a spherical medical droid to put him into hibernation prior to his delivery to the Emperor.
As the droid approaches Baobab, Fidge distracts the Imperials long enough for Mungo to kick through a weak point in the prison bars, allowing him to escape. Mungo flees down the tunnels with Fidge and Chubb. Meanwhile, R2-D2 arrives in the Great Heep's junkyard where he discovers the metal husk of KT-10. He attempts to revive her but is caught by a giant magnet which is connected to the Great Heep. The Great Heep intends to feed on R2-D2 but the astromech breaks free of the magnet and lands on the conveyer belt, infuriating the Abominor.
R2-D2 flees through the factory as the Great Heep orders his inions to seal the exits. Elsewhere, a dissection droid ties C-3PO to an operating table. C-3PO begs the droid not to cut him up but the dissection droid ignores his pleas. C-3PO activates a button that causes the operating table to spring up. He ends up on the conveyer belt system. Meanwhile, R2-D2 leads one of the Great Heep's minions on a chase, with his pursuer falling into a vat of molten metal. R2-D2 soon arrives and uses a laser cutter to help C-3PO escape the conveyer belt.
He and C-3PO slide down a chute. R2-D2 and C-3PO get trapped inside a canister which the Great Heep intends to load into a trash incinerator where laser guns dismantle mantle. They escape the chamber. Meanwhile, Mungo along with Fidge and Chubb use a garbage chute to infiltrate the Great Heep's fuel ore processing plant. He resolves to rescue R2-D2 but tells Fidge that they have to get another droid if they can't rescue R2-D2. While Mungo is initially unwilling to involve Fidge in the rescue mission, he convinces Mungo that he and Chubb can dig tunnels. Baobab lets them continue with the mission.
He soon encounters C-3PO and R2-D2. Mungo is relieved to see them and tells them that Fidge has gone into the harem to find R2-D2. Baobab is worried about Fidge's safety. Meanwhile, Admiral Screed orders a stormtrooper to keep an eye out for the fugitive Baobab and not to let anyone but droids aboard the cargo ship. Mungo plans to hijack the Imperial ship and use its turbolasers to destroy the moisture eater. Mungo disguises himself as a droid with the help of C-3PO and R2-D2.
Meanwhile, Fidge and Chubb exit a tunnel which leads to the mountain. The two steal a bulldozer but Fidge has trouble controlling the vehicle and almost rolls it over the edge of a cliff. Outside the cargo ship, C-3PO and a disguised Mungo carry a crate containing R2-D2 aboard the ship. They walk past the stormtrooper sentry, who notices a metal foot dropping. Back on the mountain, Fidge manages to regain control of the bulldozer, which they use to force their way into the droid harem. The astromech droids gather around them.
Meanwhile, Mungo along with R2-D2 and C-3PO enter the Imperial ship's cockpit. Mungo gets R2-D2 to start up the ship but a beacon alerts Admiral Screed, who realizes that someone is interfering with the ship's navigational system. Mungo orders his stormtroopers to catch Baobab. Posing as a droid, Mungo complains about his alleged rusty and disheveled state. However, he drops his gloves and the stormtroopers realize he is Mungo.
Mungo fights with the stormtroopers, who are armed with pikes. The stormtroopers are shaken when the stolen Imperial cargo ship lifts off. An enraged Screed orders the turbolasers to open fire on the stolen ship. R2-D2 mans the controls. Shortly later, Fidge and Chubb return with he bulldozer and the liberated astromech droids. They watch as R2-D2 dodges the turbolasers. Fidge uses the bulldozer to demolish the turbolasers and to drive away the stormtroopers. The droids pursue the Imperials and take the captive with the help of Fidge and Chubb.
Showdown with the Great Heep
An enraged Great Heep demands to know what is going on. He dismisses Screed as incompetent fool. Screed calls the Great Heep a lumbering junk heap who is obsessed with his droid harem. The Heep insults Screed but the Admiral blames his droids for letting out the astromech droid. R2-D2 rains down ore on Screed and the Great Heep before shooting at the moisture eater. Mungo and Fidge cheer.
The Great Heep orders his Gulpers to unite into a larger machine, which they struggle with. Meanwhile, R2-D2 uses the Imperial cargo ship to attack the moisture eater. The Gulpers form a large repulsorlift vehicle armed with turbolasers. R2-D2 leads them on a chase and causes them to crash into large sheets of wreckage. Mungo and the others cheer as the Gulpers are driven away by the hijacked ship.
Laughing, the Great Heep hurls a disc at R2-D2's ship, damaging it and causing it to crash. R2-D2 flies the stricken ship into the moisture eater, destroying the giant tower. R2-D2 is distraught by the presumed loss of his friend and begins crying. Just then, it starts raining again. Admiral Screed flees while the enraged Great Heep pursues C-3PO, Mungo, Fidge, and Chubb. Mungo saves Fidge. The Great Heep attempts to crush them but his right arm is struck by lightning, severing it. Heavy rain pours through the hole in the Abominor's arm, short-circuiting his systems and causing him to break down.
Victory and restoration
Following the defeat of the Great Heap and the destruction of the moisture eater, Biitu begins healing and grass starts to grow back. While the Biituians take the Imperials prisoner, Mungo reassures Fidge that his people will have no trouble restoring the crops with the help of the Imperial prisoners. Fidge is happy. A defeated Admiral Screed vows the fight is not over. Mungo praises R2-D2 for being a hero but C-3PO is still mourning his friend's loss.
C-3PO toys with a sonic capsule, which was a birthday present from R2-D2. To C-3PO's delight, R2-D2 survived the crash due to his parachute. Mungo, C-3PO, Fidge and Chubb hug the astromech droid. C-3PO is relieved that his droid friend survived. R2-D2 also tends to KT-10. With the help of the other astromechs, R2-D2 restores her back to functionality. The Biituians also cheer and repurpose the late Great Heep into an ornamental structure.
Mungo is contacted by Captain Cag, who asks if it say to enter Biitu. Baobab reassures the captain that it is safe. The villagers and droids watch as Captain Cag's ship lands. C-3PO says that he loves a happy ending.
The Great Heep was originally set for release on December 13, 1985, but was rescheduled for June 7, 1986. It received the lowest ratings for that week, as well as the lowest ratings of a TV special for that season.
|Organizations and titles||Sentient species||Vehicles and vessels||Weapons and technology||Miscellanea|
Organizations and titles
Vehicles and vessels
Weapons and technology
- "Ewoks & Droids TV Series" – Bantha Tracks 29
- "Star Wars Publications Timeline" – Star Wars Insider 23
- "Sound Advice" – Star Wars Insider 26
- "A Star Wars CELibration" – Star Wars Insider 27
- "Scouting the Galaxy: Droids, Ewoks and the Mysterious Vlix (And the Truth about 4-LOM and Zuckuss!)" – Star Wars Insider 27
- Star Wars: Chronicles
- "Caravan of Courage: Star Wars on Television" – Star Wars Insider 32
- Star Wars: Behind the Magic
- "A State of Nelvana" – Star Wars Insider 73
- The Cinema of George Lucas
Notes and references
- "Caravan of Courage: Star Wars on Television" – Star Wars Insider 32
- Miller, Bob. "Saturday Morning 'Star Wars,'" Starlog Yearbook, Vol. 3
- "Star Wars Droids: The Adventures of R2-D2 and C-3PO"—Polyhedron 170 states that Star Wars: Droids is set 15 years before Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope. The New Essential Chronology places the events of A New Hope in 0 BBY, meaning that Star Wars: Droids takes place in 15 BBY.
- The Cinema of George Lucas
- Miller, Bob. "TV Episode Guide: Ewoks & Droids," Starlog Yearbook, Vol. 3