Clone Wars Weekly: Let's Hear it for the Little Droids

As any loyal fan knows, Anakin Skywalker isn’t afraid to gamble. At the same time, a risky tactic does blow up in his face, and others get fragged in the process.

That’s the premise of the latest SWCW episode, “Downfall of a Droid,” which will debut this Friday on Cartoon Network at 9:00 pm (Eastern).

The character who will suffer the most for Skywalker’s lack of planning? No less than everyone’s favorite astromech ‘droid, R2-D2. “Downfall” will kick off a new two-part miniarc that will conclude next Friday with the episode “Duel of the Droids.”

"’Downfall of a Droid’ is written by George Krstic and directed by Rob Coleman,” said a Lucasfilm spokesperson. “George was a writer and executive producer on Megas XLR before his work on Clone Wars. Rob was animation director on all three Star Wars prequels and has worked on a number of major films at ILM as animation supervisor.”

“Artoo is very childlike and inquisitive,” says Krstic, “there’s no subterfuge to Artoo. He’s got loyalty and bravery and, while he doesn’t speak English, I think everyone understands what he’s saying. The wonderful sound design work and the incredible characterizations for Artoo have made it so that it doesn’t matter what language you speak, or where you’re from. You can relate to Artoo and what he’s about.”

Which brings up a whole other aspect of the Star Wars universe, the ‘droids. They are central to the entire Star Wars universe. Simon Pegg once gave a great speech in the middle of his series Spaced as how different the movies would have been if Artoo and C3PO were killed off at the beginning of A New Hope. As George Lucas developed the franchise, he made sure these two are never out of the picture for too long.

But what really counts is they aren’t the only two droids in this universe. There are virtually billions of them and they come in all manner of size, shape and condition. Throw in the various Separatist battle droids and one can be forced to admit the series would be impossible without them.

“There are many different kinds of droids, both good and evil,” said the spokesperson. “We have seen many different variations - serving many different functions – in the films and in the series so far. But the universe is vast, and there may be droid types yet undiscovered. There were literally dozens of different kinds of droids seen in the first 'Star Wars' movie alone, and we know they serve every possible function, from household help to piloting spacecraft and serving as soldiers.

“Both sides utilize droids in many different functions, but it probably does say something about the nature of the Separatists that they rely more on machines than they do on humans. The difference between a clone and battle droid is pretty straightforward. The former fights on the side of the Republic, while the latter serves Count Dooku's evil Separatist army. That said, once should remember that there are many kinds of droids beyond those in the employ of the Separatists. Two classic good guys - R2-D2 and C-3PO – are droids, and they are decidedly on the side of the Jedi Knights. Just as we are learning that clones can have distinct personalities, one shouldn't be quick to categorize all droids together.”

Most especially R2-D2. This becomes especially apparent when Anakin is forced to take on a replacement. One might even get the impression this new unit might have some ulterior motives.

“Different types of droids have different programming and different personalities,” said the spokesperson. “Clearly, the standard battle droid has minimal intelligence programming; they serve their cause as a seemingly endless supply of cannon fodder. There are other types of Separatist droids programmed to be more effective, such as droidekas, super battle droids and the recently introduced commando droids. Of course there are droids that pop up here and there, on both sides, who stand out as individuals.”

As for Krstic? He admits writing this episode is his ultimate “nerd moment,” particularly as Artoo is his favorite character of all time.

“A few of the characters I wrote for on the series are being made into action figures and, as a fan, that’s pretty much the pinnacle of my career,” Krstic said with a laugh. “I can die happy now because it’s not going to get better.”

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