Star Wars is the title of both the 1977 science fiction film and the entire epic six-film saga created by George Lucas. The other films in the cycle are The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Return of the Jedi (1983), The Phantom Menace (1999), Attack of the Clones (2002), and Revenge of the Sith (2005), with plans for still more. The Star Wars franchise also encompasses audio dramatizations, animated series, video games, comics, and other spin-offs. There are many connections between Star Wars and the Muppets, perhaps most notably the presence of Frank Oz's Star Wars character Yoda, who has often been misidentified as a Muppet.
In 2012, The Walt Disney Company bought Lucasfilm from Lucas, including the rights to the Star Wars characters and franchise.
In an interview with Leonard Maltin, George Lucas discussed the creation of Yoda:
|“||I went to Jim [Henson] and said, 'Do you want to do this?' And he said, 'Well, I'm busy, I'm doing this, and doing that, I'm making a movie and all that -- I really can't, but... how about Frank? You know, Frank's the other half of me.' And I said, 'Well, that'd be fantastic.' ||”|
Oz performed Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and The Phantom Menace. Starting with Attack of the Clones, the Yoda character was realized using computer animation. Oz voiced him in Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith, and in the Star Tours: The Adventures Continue ride. The Yoda puppet was built by many veteran Henson designers who would go on to form the basis of Jim Henson's Creature Shop. In 1986, Lucas served as an executive producer on Henson's Labyrinth.
In 1999, an interviewer made the comment to Frank Oz, "There seemed to be a kind of natural synergy between Star Wars and the Muppets almost immediately," to which he replied in detail:
|“||I think that's true. 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. ||”|
- In 1980, C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) and R2-D2 appeared in two episodes of Sesame Street, episode 1364 and episode 1396, as well as a few other inserts.
- Also in 1980, the stars of Star Wars guest-starred on episode 417 of The Muppet Show, including Luke Skywalker, Mark Hamill (Luke's cousin), C-3PO, R2-D2, and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew). The show also featured Star Wars parody elements, including Gonzo as Dearth Nadir.
- In 1990, C-3PO and R2-D2 (in their Star Tours incarnations) hooked up a transmission for Tony Danza to interview Miss Piggy on Disneyland's 35th Anniversary Celebration.
- In 2009, Oscar the Grouch appeared alongside Darth Vader in a brief cameo in Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.
- A movie poster in J. P. Grosse's office as seen in Muppet Diary 1980 features the cast of Pigs in Space in "Sty Wars".
- Gonzo makes his first of two appearances as Dearth Nadir in The Muppet Show episode 402, with a group of chickens as stormtroopers. He appears as Nadir again in episode 417, with First Mate Piggy dressed as Princess Leia.
- A photo of the backstage bulletin board on the back of The Muppet Show 2 LP features a paper cut-out of a stormtrooper from Star Wars.
- In 1980, ITC Distribution France released a poster print (and later, postcards) of the Muppet characters in a Star Wars spoof titled, "La Guerre des Muppets" (Muppet Wars). The scene is a take on the "Style A" theatrical one-sheet for the 1977 film with Kermit as Luke Skywalker, Miss Piggy as Princess Leia, Gonzo as Darth Vader, Fozzie Bear as C-3PO and Lew Zealand as R2-D2.
- The "Hey a Movie!" opening number of the 1981 special The Muppets Go to the Movies features brief film clips from famous movies, including a shot of an X-wing fighter.
- The cover of the Summer 1983 issue of Muppet Magazine featured Kermit (as Luke Skywalker) and Gonzo (as Darth Vader) having a light saber fight while Miss Piggy (as Princess Leia) looked on. Inside is a comic book parody called "Super Stars War" starring Link Hogthrob as Ham Solo, Miss Piggy as Princess Loina, Kermit as Fluke Shywalker, Gonzo as Barff McVader and Superschnozz, Dr. Julius Strangepork as Okiwan Fenokee, and Fozzie Bear as Chewbackwards.
- The Muppet Magazine cover was later titled "Star Chores" for the 1993 Muppet Trading Cards set, and seen as a poster in Robin's room in the "Muppet Babies: Yes, I Can" series of videos in 1995. The title "Star Warts" was used for its appearance in the Muppet Movie Parodies 1999 Calendar and The Muppets at the Movies 2002 Calendar, and also appeared without a header in The Muppet Calendar CD-ROM (1995). The spoof was turned into a "Star Chores" poster in the show area for Muppet*Vision 3D in 2009.
- Footage from a Star Wars space battle is used in a montage of film clips at the beginning of The Muppets Go to the Movies.
- Nanny Vader is one of several babysitters the babies imagine will take care of them when Nanny goes away in "Around the Nursery in 80 Days". Using footage from the Star Wars movies, Nanny Vader recruits the babies as stormtroopers aboard an Imperial Star Destroyer where they receive training in how to wield a lightsabre. Outside of their imaginations, it's revealed that Baby Animal has been standing in for Nanny Vader wearing a Darth Vader helmet.
- "Nanny's Day Off" uses footage from Return of the Jedi.
- A more elaborate spoof occurred in "Muppet Babies: The Next Generation", with Baby Gonzo as Gon Zolo, Baby Fozzie as Fozz-Wocka, Baby Animal as Yodie and Animal Vader, Baby Scooter as R2-D2 and Baby Skeeter as C-3PO. Footage from Star Wars has also been used in other episodes, for example, when a character opens a door to reveal a threatening danger. A clip of a TIE-fighter chasing an X-Wing can also be seen in the opening credits of each episode.
- The Muppet Babies comic book The Big Space Adventure features a spoof of both Star Trek and Star Wars franchises. Baby Piggy appears in a Princess Leia costume, while the rest of the babies play her loyal crew in classic Star Trek uniforms. A grown-up Gonzo plays King Nonzo of Onzo, a Darth Vader look-alike, in his Dearth Nadir attire.
- Miss Piggy and Beauregard go on the Star Tours ride in the 1990 special The Muppets at Walt Disney World.
- The title of the Sesame English episode "The Empire Strikes Backside" is a reference to the Star Wars film The Empire Strikes Back.
- In the 1999 film Muppets from Space, the Cosmic Fish bid farewell to Gonzo saying "May the Fish be with you," a reference to Star Wars' famous line, "May the Force be with you."
- At the beginning of the commentary track for Muppets from Space, Kermit leaves to get popcorn and doesn't return until the end of the movie (Steve Whitmire plays Rizzo throughout the majority of the commentary track). Upon his return, he explains that he went back into the wrong movie. "I was halfway through it before I realized that wasn't Gonzo. It was Jar Jar Binks!"
- In the 2002 TV-movie It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie, Daniel attempts to bring Kermit to a world in which he was never born, but accidentally takes him first to an atmospheric realm inhabited by a Yoda Muppet, performed by Eric Jacobson.
- In a Movie Mania TV spot made for the Odyssey Channel, several Muppets (including Kermit, Fozzie, Bobo the Bear, Pepe the King Prawn, and Animal) "auditioned" for the role of Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back.
- Similarly, in a 2006 episode of Statler and Waldorf: From the Balcony, Bobo auditions for the role of Chewbacca in Revenge of the Sith, but insists on reading for other characters.
- For the July 2008 Star Wars Weekends in Walt Disney World, a set of six PVC figures were released featuring the Muppets as Star Wars characters.
- In a 2003 episode of Sesame Street, Bob greets Elmo and Zoe (who are pretending to be aliens) with the Vulcan hand sign and the Star Wars line, "May the force be with you."
- A commonly referenced number by George Lucas is 1138, first used in a short film he made in college which became THX 1138. The number is closely associated with Star Wars.
- In The Muppet Show Comic Book: Pigs in Space, Han Solo and Greedo can be seen sitting at a table in Cafe Fred. Other patrons of the Cafe include Bender and the cast of Mystery Science Theater 3000. The "B" cover of the comic book also spoofed one of the theatrical release posters of Star Wars.
- In 2010, a series of Disney pins were sold based on the designs of the PVC figures, plus new additional characters of Sam the Eagle as Ben, Link Hogthrob as Han, Animal as a Tusken Raider and Dr. Bunsen Honeydew as R2.
- In a 2010 episode of Sesame Street, Virgil Von Vivaldi presents a limestone rock with a lute for his "rock" band. He tells the rock: "Use the force, lute."
- In Tales of a Sixth-Grade Muppet, Danvers imagines several scenarios for what it will be like to meet Gonzo, one of which features Gonzo as Darth Vader in his meditation chamber.
- In the "Super Grover 2.0" sketch "The Cart Before the Horse," Super Grover 2.0 tries to find a force big enough to move a cart with a horse in it. During the sketch, he uses many lines from Star Wars involving "The Force," such as, "The force is strong in this one" and "Use the force."
- During their November 17, 2011 appearance on Good Morning America, Lara Spencer asks the Muppets to weigh in on the Star Wars vs Star Trek faux-feud between William Shatner and Carrie Fisher. Pepe comments "I like Star Tours. Its a great ride."
- In the Once Upon a Monster level "Seamus the Brave," the monsters put on a play by Seamus called The Emperor's New Clothes 2: The Emperor Talks Back.
- In Tales of a Sixth-Grade Muppet: The Good, the Bad, and the Fuzzy, Pepe the King Prawn attempts to quote the movie's famous line, "May the force be with you" before getting cut off by Kermit during his audition for the Muppets' band camp movie.
- In the "Elmo the Musical" segment, "Pizza the Musical," Elmo is confronted by a space chicken (referred to at New York Comic-Con as "Darth Chicken," played there by John Tartaglia), who wears a Darth Vader-esque outfit and pilots an egg-shaped Death Star. In the online game version of the segment, Elmo encounters a different space chickens operating toll booths. The chicken dons different disguises, including a Darth Vader outfit, a Stormtrooper uniform and Boba Fett.
- A "Cookie's Crumby Pictures" segment, "Star S'Mores", features Cookie Monster as Flan Solo, who is trying to control his hunger for his sidekick Chewie the Cookie. With the help of Luke Piewalker, he seeks advice from mentors Only One Cannoli and Groda (Grover) to control himself by counting to four or singing to help control the urge. It is an encounter with Darth Baker that presents a solution by pretending the cookie is something that he wouldn't eat. As a reward, Princess Parfaita lets Flan eat her hairdo made out of cookies. Mr. Snuffleupagus and Oscar the Grouch make cameos as a Bantha and "R2-PU," respectively.
- In the comic book Star Wars Tales issue #14, "The Emperor's Court" examines the "Who shot first?" phenomenon between Han Solo and the alien Greedo created by George Lucas's later changes to his 1977 film. Emperor Palpatine presides over a jury including (among others) Super Grover and Kermit the Frog.
- The comic book Agent of the Empire: Iron Eclipse issue #1, features a Muppet Labs homage in the form of an Imperial scientist resembling Bunsen named Royd Pew and his assistant Bleeker, who make a failed demonstration of a set of wingpacks.
- A behind-the-scenes mention is also relevant to the discussion of creating a romantically realistic fight choreography sequence in the documentary From Puppets to Pixels. See Yoda for more.
- In the 2009 Star Wars reference book The Essential Atlas, Planet Koozebane is identified as a "real" planet in the Star Wars galaxy. Koozebane had previously been mentioned in passing in 1996 and 2001 issues of the Star Wars Insider magazine.
- The 2010 book Star Wars Art: Visions includes a commissioned piece of art by Peter de Sève called "Easy being green, it is not." The piece depicts Kermit fishing in a swamp, sitting next to Yoda. 
- The 90-minute feature Star Wars Spoofs released on the 2011 Star Wars Blu-ray collection includes a clip from The Muppet Show episode 417 with Mark Hamill and the crew of the Swinetrek (from Piggy's appearance as Princess Leia to Gonzo's introduction as Dearth Nadir). A clip from Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian featuring Oscar the Grouch's complete cameo alongside Darth Vader is also featured.
In addition to Frank Oz and the aforementioned guests, many puppeteers, designers, and actors have worked in the Star Wars franchise as well as in Muppet/Henson productions.
- Ed Asner played Jabba the Hutt in the NPR radio dramatization of The Return of the Jedi (1996)
- Donald Austen assisted on Yoda in The Phantom Menace (1999)
- Kenny Baker played R2-D2 in all six films
- David Alan Barclay assisted in the building and performance of Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and puppeteered Jabba the Hutt (mouth and arm) in Return of the Jedi (1983)
- Chris Barton worked as a designer on The Phantom Menace (1999) and Attack of the Clones (2002)
- Bob Bergen voiced Luke Skywalker in several LucasArts video games
- Ailsa Berk played Amanaman in Return of the Jedi (1983)
- Danny Blackner played an Ewok in Return of the Jedi (1983)
- David Bowers played Mas Amedda in Attack of the Clones (2002) and Revenge of the Sith (2005)
- Paul Brooke played the Rancor keeper in Return of the Jedi (1983)
- Julianne Buescher voiced Rianna in Star Wars: Lethal Alliance and Aaron Azzameen in Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance games
- Art Carney played Saun Dann in The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978)
- Diahann Carroll played Mermeia Holographic Wow in The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978)
- Alyson Court played Malani and Baby Nippet in the animated series Ewoks (1985)
- Oliver Ford Davies played Governor Sio Bibble in The Phantom Menace (1999), Attack of the Clones (2002), and Revenge of the Sith (2005)
- Warwick Davis played Wicket Warrick in Return of the Jedi (1983) and Wald and Weasel in The Phantom Menace (1999) (also performed in scenes where Yoda was walking.)
- Malcolm Dixon played an Ewok Warrior in Return of the Jedi (1983)
- Lindsay Duncan played the voice of TC-14 in The Phantom Menace (1999)
- Mike Edmonds played Logray and puppeteered Jabba the Hutt's tail in Return of the Jedi (1983)
- Peter Friedman played Dak in the radio version of The Empire Strikes Back (1983)
- Myra Fried played Hoona in Ewoks (1985).
- Stuart Freeborn served as make-up/creature supervisor on the original trilogy, and designed Yoda, Chewbacca, Jabba the Hutt, and others.
- Wendy Froud sculpted Yoda for The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
- Michael Giacchino scored the pre-show and queue music for the Star Tours: The Adventures Continue ride
- Michael Gilden played an Ewok in ''Return of the Jedi (1983)
- David Greenaway assisted on Yoda in Phantom Menace (1999)
- David Alan Grier played various roles in the NPR radio versions of Star Wars (1981) and The Empire Strikes Back (1983)
- William Hootkins played Jek Porkins in A New Hope (1977)
- Russell Horton played 2-1B in the NPR radio version of The Empire Strikes Back (1983)
- Samuel L. Jackson played Mace Windu in The Phantom Menace (1999), Attack of the Clones (2002), and Revenge of the Sith (2005)
- Allison Janney voices Aly San San in the Star Tours: The Adventures Continue ride
- James Earl Jones voiced Darth Vader in the first three films, Revenge of the Sith (2005), and in the Star Tours: The Adventures Continue ride
- Harvey Korman played Krelman, Chef Gormaanda, and Amorphian instructor in The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978)
- John Lithgow played Yoda in the NPR audio dramas of Return of the Jedi (1983) and The Empire Strikes Back (1996)
- Christopher Malcolm played Zev (Rogue 2) in The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
- Sam McMurray played various roles in the NPR radio drama of The Empire Strikes Back (1983)
- Kathryn Mullen assisted with Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
- Liam Neeson played Qui-Gon Jinn in The Phantom Menace (1999)
- Rena Owen played Taun We in Attack of the Clones (2002) and Nee Alavar in Revenge of the Sith (2005)
- Eric Peterson played Teebo in Ewoks (1985) and Old Ogger in Droids (1985)
- Toby Philpott puppeteered Jabba the Hutt's head, body, and tongue in Return of the Jedi (1983)
- Natalie Portman played Padmé Amidala from The Phantom Menace (1999) through Revenge of the Sith (2005)
- Jack Purvis played a Jawa in A New Hope (1977), Chief Ugnaught in The Empire Strikes Back (1980), and Teebo in Return of the Jedi (1983)
- Wayne Pygram played Governor Tarkin in Revenge of the Sith (2005)
- Hugh Quarshie played Captain Panaka in The Phantom Menace (1999)
- Mike Quinn puppeteered Nien Nunb and others in Return of the Jedi (1983) and served as a CG character animator on Attack of the Clones (2002)
- Paul Reubens voiced RX-24 (Captain Rex) in the Star Tours ride and in the queue of the Star Tours: The Adventures Continue ride (archival audio from the original Star Tours)
- Tim Rose played Admiral Ackbar, Salacious Crumb and others in Return of the Jedi (1983)
- Kiran Shah performed an Ewok in Return of the Jedi (1983)
- Katherine Smee assisted on Yoda in The Phantom Menace (1999)
- Jimmy Smits played Senator Bail Organa in Attack of the Clones (2002) and Revenge of the Sith (2005)
- John Stocker played Widdle and others in Ewoks and various villains in Droids (both 1985)
- Cree Summer played Princess Kneesaa in Ewoks (1985) and Luminara Unduli in the animated series Star Wars: Clone Wars (2004)
- Christopher Truswell voiced Gilramos Libkath, Shu Mai, San Hill and Wat Tambor in Attack of the Clones (2002)
- Bruce Vilanch wrote The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978)
- Patrick Warburton voiced G2-4T in the queue of the Star Tours: The Adventures Continue ride.
- Billy Dee Williams played Lando Calrissian in The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983)
- Simon Williamson played Max Rebo, Gamorrean guards, Mon Calamari officer, and others in Return of the Jedi (1983)
- ↑ "Casting a Legend" @ StarWars.com
- ↑ Star Wars Insider #42, p. 70
- ↑ YouTube - Muppet Babies Theme
- ↑ YouTube - Muppet Babies Theme
- ↑ Magnetic Dreams - Cookie's Crumby Pictures