Rick Moranis is returning to the Spaceballs universe, if only for a little while.
Moranis, largely on hiatus from acting since 1997, will voice his iconic Darth Vader spoof Dark Helmet on this week's episode of the ABC sitcom The Goldbergs, the network announced Monday. The news follows the show's announcement last week that the next in its long line of '80s pop culture tribute episodes would focus on Spaceballs, Mel Brooks' classic 1987 send-up of the Star Wars franchise.
“I truly think Rick Moranis gave the most underrated and brilliant comedic performance in any '80s movie as Dark Helmet,” creator Adam F. Goldberg said in a statement. “I’ve been a lifelong fan of his work and became obsessed with having him reprise the role on my show. As an added bonus, maybe this even gets Spaceballs back in the conversation and I can get my dream of helping make a sequel!”
Loosely based on Goldberg's own childhood, The Goldbergs follows the titular family — in particular the youngest child, Adam (Sean Giambrone) — as they navigate life in middle-class America in the 1980s. Because Adam is a pop culture nerd and aspiring filmmaker, much of the show focuses on his particular obsessions, from Star Wars to G.I. Joe. This has spawned numerous '80s pop culture tribute episodes covering everything from the films of John Hughes to Batman, and now Spaceballs will get the treatment. According to ABC, Moranis will voice Dark Helmet in a dream sequence in which he appears to Adam. Goldberg apparently spent weeks trying to convince Moranis to make the cameo appearance.
After rising to stardom in the 1980s with roles in classics like Ghostbusters and Little Shop of Horrors, Moranis took an extended hiatus from acting in 1997 to focus on his family. He has since released comedy albums and done occasional voiceover work (notably for Disney's Brother Bear and its sequel), and while he's never fully retired, he remains extremely selective about the rare roles he does take. Convincing him to not only make a brief appearance, but to reprise one of his most beloved roles, is a huge win for The Goldbergs.
The Spaceballs tribute episode of The Goldbergs will air Wednesday, May 9, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. Yahoo released an exclusive clip Tuesday featuring Dark Helmet's appearance, voiced by Moranis. Check it out.