Coming this month to Disney theme parks -- and just in time for the new Muppets movie -- is a new set of Star Wars Muppets crossover figures, expanding the popular line that launched with six figures in 2008!
The new articulated figures, which will be offered in two-packs for $18.95 at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort, include Kermit and Miss Piggy as Luke and Leia, Link Hogthrob and Fozzie Bear as Han Solo and Chewbacca, Sam the Eagle and Gonzo as Obi-Wan and Darth Vader (with a Camilla Stormtrooper), and Beaker and Dr. Bunsen Honeydew as C-3PO and R2-D2.
For the uninitiated, the Muppets and Star Wars actually go way back -- 31 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 Link Hogthrob as Han Solo (or "Ham Solo"), Fozzie as Chewbacca ("Chewbackwards") and Kermit as Luke ("Fluke Shywalker"). Characters returning from the 1980 Muppet Show episode included Miss Piggy and Gonzo, now as "Princess Loina" and "Barff McVader."
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.
Still need a Star Wars Muppet fix? Check out the exhaustive list of Star Wars Muppet connections over at Muppet Wiki.