|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|
|Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) Frank Oz operating Yoda|
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.
|The Muppet Show (1980) C-3PO on Planet Koozebane Source|
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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