Jarrod Fairclough – This week the most anticipated film in years opens around the world. Fans all across the globe are lining up to see what could be the biggest film event of the decade. Will the audience fall in love with these characters, or will they be horrified at what these beloved actors have done? I’m talking, of course, about Sisters, starring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.
Oh, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens is opening too. You may not have seen the GIANT BILLBOARDS!
The Muppets and Star Wars have been intertwined for years. We could sit here and talk about every moment they’ve spent together, but there’s a sequel coming out in 2017, and I’d like to have this article posted by then.
Of course there was the Star Wars episode of The Muppet Show, where Mark Hamill, Chewbacca, C3PO and R2D2 boarded the SwineTrek. Then, according to folklore, there was the time Frank Oz surprised Hamill with Miss Piggy instead of Yoda in a take for Return of the Jedi. Muppet Babies had Star Wars references falling out of their nappies, and just last year Cookie Monster starred in Star S’Mores, which included Grover as Yoda.
In 2011, both Disneyland and Walt Disney World exclusively sold sets of Muppet action figures, where they were dressed as characters from the beloved space franchise. We’ve decided to take a look at a selection of these figures, and rate the casting choices, offering our own ideas on who could have been substituted in. All ratings are out of 5 Koozebanes.
Luke Skywalker – Kermit the Frog
While it would make sense that the main character of one franchise would play the main character of another. Luke’s story is a classic coming of age story, albeit set in space against his mean father (spoilers), but Kermit has never needed a coming of age story, because he’s always been that cool calm collected leader. Plus, he as Luke makes Miss Piggy as Leia his sister. Which is wrong on several levels, but it does make sense that they kissed in Empire Strikes Back.
Alternate Choice: Scooter
Especially in this new series, Scooter has become a real man child. He lives with his mother in a weird Norman Bates relationship, he hates his ‘stepfather’ Ken, and he wants to prove himself to be a grown up. Plus he can be a whiny little baby sometimes, just like Luke in most of A New Hope. Plus, his uncle owning the theater can easily be adjusted to his father owning the Death Star.
Princess Leia – Miss Piggy
This is obviously a no brainer. A strong willed, no nonsense princess being portrayed by a strong willed, no nonsense pig. Both are beautiful in their own ways, both are smart and always up for a fight. Both want their man, but refuse to be defined by the relationship.
Alternate Choice: Yolanda
Unfortunately, I’m limited in my alternate choices by the lack of female characters, but if there’s any lady Muppet who knows what she wants out of life, it’s Yolanda. She’ll play dirty if needs be, she won’t take any bull from anyone at all. Plus, it was either her or Janice. And could you really imagine Janice as Leia? “Oh wow, like, I rully think Vadar needs to cleanse his aura”… I don’t think so.
Han Solo – Link Hogthrob
Look, I can definitely understand by Link was chosen as Han (ha, Ham Solo), but when you put Han’s relationship with Leia in to perspective, she needs someone clever and strong and willing to fight for her. I think Link would be more likely to run and hide, or pretend his Millennium Falcon didn’t start, leaving Piggy Leia to run in to battle herself. Let’s be honest though, she’d destroy them with just her hands.
Alternate Choice: Kermit the Frog
Kermit is a natural born leader, just like Han Solo. Everyone looks to them for guidance, making Kermit the natural fit for this character.
Darth Vadar – Gonzo the Great
One of my favorite not-so-obvious-but-still-running-gags that The Muppets have done is constantly have Gonzo play Darth Vadar (or Dearth Nadir) in every parody they’ve done, where the outfit is pretty much exactly the same besides the protruding hook nose that defines Gonzo’s appearance. Gonzo’s Vadar is bumbling and silly, not the villainous deep voiced terror that Vadar was in the films. So, while hilarious, it’s not scary at all. No matter how hard he tries.
Alternate Choice: Uncle Deadly
Sure, Deadly’s never been the scariest villain around, and nowadays he’s more likely to judge your clothing than your choice in Jedi Powers. But he’s got the creepy voice and the strange attitude, and you can just see him planning out the attacks on Alderaan with flair. Although he’d never be seen dead in black after the fourth of July.
C3PO – Beaker
Like Link, I can definitely see why those chose Beaker to be Threepio. Both are bumbling servents and sidekicks, and, not many people know this, Beaker also knows 6 million forms of communication. But Beaker doesn’t talk coherently, so perhaps he was better suited to play another droid…
Alternate Choice: Fozzie Bear
Fozzie is about as faithful a sidekick a frog could ever ask for, which makes him ideal to play Threepio. Plus, the droid was a constant source of comedic moments in the films, and there’s no way Fozzie would pass up the opportunity to get a laugh!
R2D2 – Bunsen Honeydew
With Beaker as C3PO, it would only make sense to have Bunsen play Artoo. However the casting just doesn’t work, with the usually very talkative Bunsen reduced to a beeping and booping robot, especially one with such an attitude on him. Although, I will concede that Artoo is very good at science, just like Bunsen. Then again, Artoo just hacks in to stuff…
Alternate Choice: Beaker
Beaker beeps and boops (well, meeps and moops) constantly, and always sticks by his friends, even when it spells certain trouble for him. He’s likely to get roped in to a space battle alongside Luke, using his expertise to hack in to the other systems, and just like Artoo, he’ll get hurt multiple times.
Chewbacca – Fozzie Bear
Because who else could play a fuzzy lovable sidekick like Fozzie? Always one to help out, Fozzie and Chewy share a connection with their best friend, always there to lend a helping hand, and always there when the going gets tough. Whether their in a Studebaker or the Millennium Falcon, both are ready to get stuff done.
Alternate Choice – Rowlf the Dog
Both are brown and shaggy, and both like to give advice out, even if Chewy’s sounds like he’s gargling mouth wash. All you need to do is put the sash around Rowlf, and you’re set! I wonder how good Chewy is at the piano…
Yoda – Rizzo the Rat
One is full of wise sage advice. The other has a cousin named Morty who can get you free cable provided you do him a favor and take this envelope across town to Uncle Tony. I’m not sure where this casting decision came from. They’re both short, I guess?
Alternate Choice: Gonzo the Great
Though he can be zany and crazy, Gonzo has shown a lot of maturity and contemplation over the years, the exact recipe needed for Yoda. He needs to be able to dole out advice in a heart beat, but he also needs to be able to bound around the place while fighting Count Dooku. Plus, I want to hear Gonzo say weird things in disjointed ways. “Yoda I am, use the force you must. Dive into a vat of pudding I will”.
Obi-Wan Kenobi – Sam the Eagle
I oddly love this choice, if only to see Sam get mad and a little aggressive over the weirdos fighting wars around him. Both Sam and Obi-Wan are wise, both are smart, and both have no time for the shenanigans going on. Plus, Sam’s pretty good with a light saber.
Alternate Choice: Pops
Though you wouldn’t think it, because he’s blind as a bat, Pops is incredibly clever and wise. And even though he cannot see, have you ever seen him bump in to anything? Exactly. Know why not? The Force. Think about it, you know it to be true.
Emperor Palpatine – Uncle Deadly
This is by far my favorite casting choice. Deadly has the same wrinkly face and demeanor as Palpatine, the same villainous tendancies (occassionally) and those same cold dead eyes… You can image Deadly bossing around Vadar, demanding he do his bidding. But the robe would need to be switched out for a nice vest.
Alternate Choice: Statler and Waldorf
“Hey Statler, looks like the frog and the pig are jumping to hyperspace!”
“Huh, I didn’t know it was called Star Boars”