May The Fourteenth Be With You: Star Wars: Droids – The Adventures of R2-D2 and C-3PO

James Proclaims (4)

droids

I remember this cartoon from the eighties but I can’t really say I was ever that big a fan as a child.

Which is strange because I loved Star Wars and I also loved cartoons. I suppose I just didn’t find a cartoon about C3PO and R2D2 that inspiring.

But it wasn’t bad. No worse than a lot of cartoons I did like.

And I did quite like the Ewok cartoon that was made around the same time. Which wasn’t really any better.

But more of that another day.

Anyway, in the spirit of trying to write about all things ‘Star Wars’ I watched all 13 episodes of the only series of this recently.

There was a subsequent one-off special. I haven’t seen that yet. I might watch it later and write about it tomorrow. Who knows.

In a misguided attempt at humour, I’ve been issuing spoiler alerts on all my Star Wars posts. Except the one about mugs. So, for no good reason, I’m going to issue another spoiler alert now.

Spoiler alert – there is no point worrying about spoilers. This cartoon was made in 1985. It’s not the worst example of an 80s cartoon but it’s not worth watching now. You can find all the episodes on YouTube if you really want to watch it, but only someone who has decided, for no good reason, to spend the whole month writing about Star Wars would need to bother. And frankly that person needs to take a good long look at his current life choices. And make better decisions.

‘Star Wars: Droids – The Adventures of R2-D2 and C-3PO’ unsurprisingly is about the adventures of R2D2 and C3PO. I don’t know if the hyphens were necessary but I’ve never bothered with them before, so I see no reason to use them now, just because a long forgotten cartoon chose to use them.

There are other characters, but the premise is really about how, prior to the events of the original Star Wars movie, they were quite itinerant and had lots of masters.

Which seems to have been largely debunked by the prequel movies.

So these stories have no bearing on anything that happens in the movies at all.

But every four episodes or so, the cast of characters changes and the only constants are our two droid friends.

For the duration of the episodes that they are with any given master, there is generally an overarching storyline of sorts, but most of the episodes work as stand-alone stories as well. Or don’t work depending on your point of view.

Certainly the plots are all fairly forgettable and most of the characters are archetypes. It doesn’t always feel like it’s really in the Star Wars universe but there are some minor characters from the movies that pop up from time to time, like Boba Fett (who, like his appearance in the dreadful ‘Holiday Special’ is way better in cartoon form than he ever was in the movies) and IG88, (who was even less of a presence than Boba Fett in ‘The Empire Stikes Back’).

There are also a few Stormtroopers in about four episodes.

As an 80s cartoon it’s OK. Maybe it deserved a second series. But it’s also fine that it didn’t get a second series.

None of the characters are really that memorable. Anthony Daniels does the voice of C3PO, but he does the voice of C3PO in everything so it’s no guarantee of quality. His presence helps make an ordinary cartoon slightly more memorable though.

Really, though, the main ‘take home’  from this is also something that I’ve found problematic in the movies. Which is the question of whether the droids are sentient beings or not. Because they always seem to be. And if they are, then they are essentially slaves. And I don’t think I’m OK with that.

Best character – Thall Joben

thall

One of the ‘masters’ of the droids for four episodes. They’re all archetypes really and Thall is no better or worse. But he does have quite a hairstyle and for that alone, he’s the most memorable character in the whole series.

Worst character – Coby

Coby_swenc

He’s only in two episodes and only a prominent character in one, but he’s so annoying in that episode that, in a cast of largely forgettable characters, he sticks in the memory for all the wrong reasons.

Unsung hero – Kybo Ren

kybo

When you’re already a forgetable villain in a pretty forgettable cartoon, the last thing you need is to have a name that is almost the same as the main villain in a much more memorable trilogy of movies. Not that anyone would ever claim that Kybo Ren was their favourite Star Wars character, but if such a person does exisit, they’ll now find themselves being contantly challenged. “Surely you mean Kylo Ren?” I’m not the sort of person who dresses up as Star Wars characters and goes to conventions but if I ever do, I’ll definitely go as Kybo Ren. Which, given my dietry choices during lockdown, will be quite an easy look for me to pull off.

And that’s all I’ve got to say about ‘Star Wars: Droids – The Adventures of R2-D2 and C-3PO’. And some people might argue that even that is too much.

Tune in tomorrow to see if I’ve got the audacity to base another whole post around the 1986 ‘one-off special’…