‘The Great Heep’ is a bizarre entry into the Star Wars ‘back catalogue’. A feature length special of an already cancelled TV show, which very few people actually watched.
It would be easy enough to have viewed this as just an extended episode of the aforementioned show, which I wrote about yesterday, as it seems to take place between episodes 9 & 10 of that show.
But it was released separately from the series and it is a little different in some respects.
So maybe it deserves its own post.
Even if all I’m going to tell you is that it wasn’t worth the 50 minutes of my life that I spent watching it last night and it definitely wouldn’t be worth you watching it either.
But before we get to that, I should issue a spoiler alert.
Spoiler alert – Don’t watch this. But if you do intend to watch this and you’re worried that plot details will ruin it for you then I may reveal some of those in the ensuing text. But what little plot I could discern was largely uninspiring stuff and to be honest, it didn’t make a massive amount of sense.
You don’t really need to have seen the preceding series to be able to watch this. Which is a bonus because although the series was a perfectly acceptable 80s cartoon, it hasn’t stood the test of time and you’ve got better things to do than watch that.
But you’ve also got better things to do than watch ‘The Great Heep’. In terms of characters, obviously C3PO and R2D2 are in it, and there are also some Stormtroopers and an imperial officer called Admiral Screed, who was also in some of the episodes of the TV show, but they were set chronologically after this and in any case he didn’t do much in those and he doesn’t do much in this.
The droids’ ‘master’ is someone called Mungo Baobab and he was also in the series but only in the same episodes as Admiral Screed. And he was fairly indistinguishable from the ‘masters’ in the other episodes. Except that he had a beard.
The main baddie, and titular character, is a giant droid called ‘The Great Heep’. And he’s rubbish. He eats R2 units though, so we’re vaguely aware that R2D2 might be in some danger. But he’s not an especially interesting character.
Ultimately it’s R2D2’s girlfriend who actually gets eaten. Because R2D2 has a girlfriend in this.
‘She’ looks like this:
Apparently she is called KT10, but I don’t remember her ‘name’ being mentioned in the cartoon, it’s just something I found out on the internet.
I don’t think KT10 would be an acceptable addition to a cartoon these days. But this sort of thing was apparently fine in 1986.
Although, to be fair, no-one watched this, so it would’ve been hard for anyone to be offended.
Anyway she gets eaten by The Great Heep. But no-one really cares. Except R2D2. And she’s miraculously brought back to life at the end. Although it presumably doesn’t work out between her and R2D2, unless they’re in some kind of long distance relationship during the events of, y’know, Star Wars.
There are other anomalies. We see a droid listening to a walkman, for example. Which is a bit weird.
Anyway, some stuff happens. I was quite tired when I watched this so it’s possible I’m not giving it due credit but none of that stuff seemed particularly exciting. The good guys win and the bad guys lose. But given that the bad guys are ultimately the Empire, the celebrations by the good guys at the end seem a little premature, because one imagines the Empire will be back shortly to crush them.
I didn’t see this when I was the ‘target audience’. I might have quite liked it back then. But, as I missed it, it holds no nostalgia for me now and that is the only value this cartoon could hold for anyone.
Best character – C3PO
More by default than anything else. Anthony Daniels does his voice (because of course he does) which gives the whole thing a bit of Star Wars ‘authenticity’. I wouldn’t say I loved C3PO in this so much as the times he was on screen corresponded quite strongly with when I was the least bored.
Worst character – The Big Heep
If you’re going to be the titular villain, you need to be either scary, or charismatic, but ‘The Big Heep’ is neither. So he’s rubbish.
Unsung Hero – KT10
Objectified by the other droids, having to fend off unwanted advances in a male-dominated sector and then ultimately eaten by her boss, KT10 does not have an easy time of it. And, then she’s supposed to be grateful because all the ‘male’ droids club together to save her life at the end. Frankly it’s the least they could do…
And that’s it for one 1980s animated Star Wars spinoff. Tune in tomorrow when I’ll be dealing with the other one.