Decades Before Disney Owned Star Wars, The Muppets Made Their Worlds Collide

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Written By Sedoso Feb

Each episode of “The Muppet Show” featured a very special guest, pulling from an impressive pool of 1970s talent. On the February 25 1980 episode, however, the very special guest was simply “The Stars of Star Wars.” Hamill was the only actor whose face was visible. At the beginning of the episode, Hamill, in character as Luke Skywalker, announces that he and his friend have mysteriously arrived on a musical variety show planet. Yuk, yuk. 

Later on, a “Star Wars” musical number was performed out of plot necessity (as it were). Luke Skywalker, his “Star Wars” co-stars, and the Pigs in Space were lost on an alien world called Koozebane, cornered by the Darth Vader-like Dearth Nadir (Gonzo) and his gargling right-hand man Angus McGonagle (Nelson). Kermit enters rather unexpectedly and announces the only escape is to sing and dance. The ensemble breaks into “You Are My Lucky Star.” Chewbacca and R2-D2 dance and C-3PO taps. Luke Skywalker is invited to perform, but he excuses himself and cedes the stage to his cousin … Mark Hamill. Hamill sings “When You Wish Upon a Star.”

Disney didn’t own the Muppets or “Star Wars” in 1980, so the fact that Hamill sang a song from the 1940 Disney feature film “Pinocchio” was a coincidence. Indeed, the number seemed to be a sendup of Disney treacle, as the Muppet joined Hamill in singing and the Sleeping Beauty castle from Disneyland appeared in the background behind them. How silly, the joke was, to juxtapose “Star Wars” and Disney. Those things are very different.

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