Star Wars Muppets Coming Soon

If you keep one mouse ear to the ground, you've probably heard about Disney's soon-to-be-released set of Star Wars Muppet figures -- you know, Kermit the Frog as Luke, Miss Piggy as Leia, etc. What you may not know -- especially if you were born post-'80s -- is that the Muppets and Star Wars actually go way back -- 28 years back to be exact.

In 1980, The Muppet Show, a primetime event fronted by Kermit the Frog of Sesame Street fame, introduced Luke Skywalker and "cousin" Mark Hamill to the show as guest stars. Along with Luke, C-3PO (Anthony Daniels), Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) and R2-D2 (himself) also starred, participating in several sketches that included "Star Wars-ified" versions of some of the Muppets.

Miss Piggy, naturally, portrayed Princess Leia, and crook-nosed Gonzo, whose masked face failed to conceal his signature schnoz, donned the costume of Darth Vader (or "Dearth Nadir" in Muppet-speak).

Now, as far as Star Wars Muppet crossovers, that was it -- no Kermit as Luke, Fozzie as Chewbacca, Beaker as Threepio, etc. Those incarnations would come, at least in part, three years later in a publication called Muppet Magazine.

For their Summer 1983 issue, Muppet Magazine ran a cover story on movie spoofs, which included "Battle of the Space Heroes", a five-page comic narrative which once again crossed the Muppets with the Star Wars universe. This time, we finally got our Fozzie as Chewbacca (or "Chewbackwards") and Kermit as Luke ("Fluke Shywalker") -- characters also included Miss Piggy as "Princess Loina" and Gonzo as "Barff McVader". And so, short of Beaker as Threepio and Rizzo the Rat as Yoda (both part of the upcoming set of figures), you now have the low-down on how we'll come to inherit a cool set of Muppet Star Wars crossover figures.

Now, for the trivia-minded, some astute fans could argue that the Muppets and Star Wars actually "met" a year before the 1980 Muppet Show episode on the set of The Empire Strikes Back. Frank Oz, who voiced Miss Piggy among other classic Muppet characters, was also the voice and puppeteer for Yoda. One day on the Dagobah set, Frank surprised Mark Hamill with Kermit and Miss Piggy while rehearsing a scene with Yoda. Naturally, hilarity ensued.

The Star Wars Muppet figures are due out this summer and will be available exclusively at Disney theme parks.

Still need a Star Wars Muppet fix? Check out the exhaustive list of Star Wars Muppet connections over at Muppet Wiki.

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