Without Frank Oz, there likely never would have been a Yoda, or at least a Yoda that would have been memorable enough to inspire The Mandolorian to unleash the Child upon the world. On some level, Oz has to know this, but that doesn’t mean that he’s felt much of a desire to get to know anything about the wee space gremlin.
In a recent interview with Indiewire, Oz shared his thoughts on Baby Yoda’s popularity—which amounted to a very diplomatic “gowns, beautiful gowns.” Oz made of point of clarifying that he’s had nothing to do with the character’s genesis, but he understands why people are obsessed with it, and why the company that created it is surely going to keep it around.
“I have nothing to do with Baby Yoda,” Oz said. “But I heard it’s very cute, and I’m sure Disney has a whole plan for it.”
Beyond his elegant Baby Yoda shade, Oz also mused about the agony and ecstasy that comes with being a noted part of The Muppets’ history. Much as he wants people to understand that he’s more than just the voice of Miss Piggy and Fozzie Bear, Oz explained that he still holds a deep love for the characters, and has been game to the idea the multiple Muppet reunions that Disney has apparently shot down despite the fact that the company plans to bring the characters back in a new series. But Oz was also resolute in his belief that whatever Disney does next with the property needs to honor the spirit Jim Henson wanted to define the original series. To do otherwise, Oz said, would be a big mistake.
“It has to be the Muppets,” Oz said. “If we called it something else, it would still have the same spirit as Jim, and we couldn’t disguise it as something else. Look at all these shows that rip off the Muppets. Which of them have gained the popularity of the Muppets? They haven’t, and there are reasons for that. It comes from one man.”
That all being said, Oz recognizes that beloved franchises he was a part of originally don’t need his involvement in order to continue to be excellent. Take, for example, Netflix’s The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, which threw him for a loop.
“I was so pleasantly surprised,” Oz said. “I thought they did it with care, there was a lot of thought behind it, and they opened it up. I was very pleased. They did a great job.”
We should all be so lucky to live like Frank Oz, unbothered, unstressed, and profoundly unconcerned with whatever it is that the new kids on the block are up to.
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