Welcome, everyone, to a special return appearance of Muppet Casting, where we take a famous movie and ask, if Jim Henson’s Muppets made their own version of it (in the vein of The Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island), which Muppets would you cast in the lead roles?
I’m bringing this feature out of hibernation, not for a film, but for a television show, one that’s near and dear to the hearts of many Avocadoites: the original, 1960’s Star Trek series!
But I hear you saying: Raven, the Muppets already did their own version of Star Trek; it was called Pigs in Space. And right you are, hypothetical reader. That’s why my first casting choice is:
Link Hogthrob as Captain Christopher Pike – Yes, the Swine Trek and its crew from the Pigs in Space sketches will here be the original version of the Enterprise from “The Cage”, with Link as the ship’s first captain.
And if Link is Pike, then we also need …
Miss Piggy as Spock – You might think she’d fit Number One better, but if Pike’s Enterprise is the Pigs in Space crew, and Kirk’s enterprise is staffed by our main cast of Muppets, then Miss Piggy has to be the one character who transitions from one to the other. Besides, Piggy trying to convince everyone she’s “perfectly logical” and not at all driven by emotion? She’d fail so badly, it’d be comedy gold.
Now’s probably the point where you expect me to cast Kermit the Frog as Captain Kirk. Kirk’s the lead role, Kermit’s the lead Muppet, that’s usually how these things go. But not this time. No, for the role of Kirk I’ve decided to cast:
Our Very Special Guest, Mr. Glenn Howerton! – When doing Captain Kirk in a Muppet movie, there are two competing instincts. One is to play him as the most normal guy in the bunch, reacting with bewilderment to all the strange stuff he has to deal with; that was mostly Kirk’s role in the Original Series, and with Muppets filling the cast, Lord knows there’ll be plenty of opportunities for that sort of thing. On the other hand, it’s also tempting to make the character a stock parody of both James T. Kirk and William Shatner: a blustering, violence-happy narcissist who’ll sleep with anything vaguely feminine.
In trying to decide which of these portrayals I wanted to go with, I realized that, if we cast human guest star Glenn Howerton in the role, we could do both! If you’ve seen his work on A.P. Bio or It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, you know he’s great at playing characters who view themselves as the Only Sane Man, constantly calling out the ridiculous behavior of everyone around them … while simultaneously being sleazy egomaniacs who are utterly blind to their own ridiculousness. He could make this role pop!
With the captain’s seat out of the way, we can move on to …
Kermit the Frog as “Bones” McCoy – Partly so the bickering friendship between Bones and Spock can map onto the bickering flirtation between Kermit and Piggy. Partly so we can get Kermit waving his hands in the air, shouting, “I’m a doctor, not a _______!”
Janice as Uhura – Uhura’s in charge of communications, so I think it’d be hilarious if every message sent or received by the Enterprise was filtered through Janice’s hippy-dippy cadences.
Scooter as Sulu – Sulu’s role was mostly just to be handy to help with whatever; perfect fit for a stage manager.
Fozzie Bear as Chekhov – Our dear little Chekhov does often seem to fancy himself something of a comedian; I think Fozzie’s personality would map onto him pretty well.
The Swedish Chef as Scotty – Swedish, Scottish, same thing, right? Plus, the Swedish Chef trying to get the Enterprise working by pounding on the engine and shouting his patented nonsense words: who doesn’t want to see that?
Rizzo the Rat as Harry Mudd – C’mon, who else was going to play the ultimate interstellar conman?
Gonzo the Great as Squire Trelane – If you gave Gonzo godlike powers and a book on the Napoleonic Wars, you might very well get a being as demented and gleefully enthralled by violence as the Squire of Gothos.
Sweetums as The Gorn – Because, obviously.
Pepe the King Prawn as Khan – Three little words: “Wrath of Prawn”
Statler & Waldorf as The Guardians of Forever – If you’re going to create a sentient being who’s fixed to an immovable spot and can do nothing but look through a window at all of history, the least you can do is give them the ability to snark at everything they see.
And, of course:
Fraggles as Tribbles
Those are my picks for a Muppet rendition of Star Trek: The Original Series. What are yours?