The Muppet Show(1984) Dr. Julius Strangepork (Greg Berg), C-3PO (Anthony Daniels), Captain Link Hogthrob (Jim Henson), Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Miss Piggy (Frank Oz) Source
The Muppets and Star Wars are both beloved icons of pop culture. Bringing the two together has been a common theme and source of delight for many decades. They're also connected in ways that you may not be aware of.

1. Yoda
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) Frank Oz operating Yoda
Yoda is one of the most enduring characters in the Star Wars universe, and also one of the biggest links between the two franchises. That's because Yoda is voiced by Frank Oz, the puppeteer of many famous Muppets like Miss Piggy.

Originally, George Lucas wanted Jim Henson (creator of the Muppets) to do the voice of Yoda, but Henson said he was too busy to do a movie at that point. He suggested Frank Oz, saying, "Frank's the other half of me."

Oz was so successful at operating the puppet Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back that he also operated the puppet in Return of the Jedi, and The Phantom Menace. In Attack of the Clones, Yoda was changed to a CGI character, but Oz continued to voice him in Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith.

2. Sesame Street
R2-D2 on Sesame Street (1980) Source

In 1980, C-3PO (performed by Anthony Daniels) and R2-D2 appeared in two episodes of Sesame Street. In the episodes, C-3PO and R2-D2 meet Big Bird and R2 falls in love with a fire hydrant. R2-D2 wasn’t operated by the original performer, but was the three-legged version used in scenes from the movies.

3. Muppet Star Wars Figures
Muppets as Star Wars characters 

In July 2008, Walt Disney World released a set of six PVC figurines of Muppets as characters from Star Wars. The set included Kermit as Luke Skywalker, Miss Piggy as Princess Leia, and Fozzie as Chewbacca, the series was an instant hit and spawned both illustrations and reissues of the figures.

4. The Muppet Show
The Muppet Show(1980) Mark Hamill in "Pigs in Space" Source

In 1980, four months before the release of The Empire Strikes Back, The Muppet Show aired a parody of Star Wars, including Gonzo as Darth Vader. The episode stood out because it featured several cast members of the movie. Luke Skywalker, C-3PO, R2-D2, and Chewbacca appeared, all played by the original performers.

5. Koozebane
The Muppet Show (1980) C-3PO on Planet Koozebane Source
Koozebane was a frequently used planet on The Muppet Show. Koozebane was mentioned briefly in the 1996 and 2001 issues of Star Wars Insider magazine. In 2009, Koozebane became an official planet in the Star Wars universe in the reference book, Star Wars: The Essential Atlas.

6. The 1970s Muppet Show Album Had a Stormtrooper
Muppet Show 2 Album Back Source

The second Muppet Show record, released in 1978, had two versions. One was a double sized album cover that opens up, while the other is a standard record cover. The standard record cover has a backstage photo that includes a paper cut-out of a Stormtrooper from Star Wars. Can you find it? Here's a hint: it's near the top.

7. George Lucas Worked on Labyrinth
Labyrinth (1986) director Jim Henson and executive producer George Lucas Source

In 1986, George Lucas served as an executive producer on Jim Henson's Labyrinth. According to all accounts, they got along very well.

Frank Oz told Star Wars Insider magazine (#42), "Certainly, they both had the vitality and purity and joy and dreaming, and there's certainly geniuses behind both of them. George and Jim worked together on Labyrinth, and I think that which got them together was that synergy. There was an awareness and an appreciation. They are both very unique individuals, and I think they both wanted to work with each other, because they were very similar - very smart, very quiet, very strong people."

8. Chris Barton
Many people who’ve worked for Henson have worked for Lucas, and vice-versa. Just one example is Chris Barton, a long-time designer for Jim Henson's Creature Shop in London. Chris Barton worked as a designer on The Phantom Menace (1999) and Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002).

9. Muppet Babies
Muppet Babies (1984) as Star Wars characters Source

The animated television show Muppet Babies ran from 1984-1991 and had a number of Star Wars references in it. From the opening title which used clips from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope of Darth Vader's TIE Fighter and a Star Destroyer to several episodes including clips from Return of the Jedi.

Most notably, two episodes of Muppet Babies had full parodies of Star Wars with muppets dressing up like Star Wars characters: "Gonzo's Video Show" and "Muppet Babies: The Next Generation."

I have to say it's kind of creepy that they made long-time lovers Kermit and Ms. Piggy into the twins Luke and Leia. Then again, that’s how Lucas rolls.

What do you think of the connections between Star Wars and the Muppets? Who's your favorite Muppet? Who's your favorite Star Wars character?

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I love the Muppets. When you watch Labyrinth you can tell Lucas had an influence. My favorite Star Wars character is Vader, and my favorite Muppet is Ludo from Labyrinth.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Would it scare you to know that I knew all of those connections? Although Muppet Babies scared me. Was way too old for the show anyway.

Yolanda Renee said...

When my son was a baby and you'd ask his name he say it was Elmo! Great for kids, but I don't care for puppets of any kind! My husband used to torture me with a hand puppet belonging to my son. I threw it in the garbage - not funny - not funny at all! Don't like clowns - or talking animals! Just too creepy! Yeah, I'm weird - won't deny it! But if Alex can admit to being scared of Muppet Babies I can confess my phobias! LOL

MedeiaSharif said...

I love, love, love The Muppets, although I wish I were more familiar with Star Wars. I did see the Star Wars references when watching The Muppets, though. Great post.

He Geek She Geek said...

The Koozebane fact cracked me up. I used to love those skits

jeremy [retro] said...

i knew some of these, but i know want the star wars muppet toys, beeker as 3po... brilliant.


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