HOUSTON – The Force may not be with Enron Corp. these days, but it was implied by the Star Wars-related names of some of the fallen energy company's financial vehicles.
JEDI LP and Chewco Investments LP, inspired by Chewbacca the faithful Wookiee in the Star Wars movies, are among the limited partnerships that have been associated with Houston-based Enron, which descended into bankruptcy in December.
It's unclear who the big Star Wars fans were at Enron, but Lucasfilm Ltd. said this week it was an unwilling participant.
"Until it surfaced in the press, Lucasfilm was unaware of any possible use of our protected trademarks by Enron, and any actual use by Enron of such trademarks was without our permission," Lucasfilm spokeswoman Jeanne Cole said.
The names, which also included homages to Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobe (Kenobe Inc. and Obi-1 Holdings LLC), were not overtly marketed by Enron. In fact, debt hidden by the secretive Chewco contributed to last year's failure in investor and customer confidence in Enron.
Enron spokeswoman Karen Denne said the Star Wars theme began with the JEDI acronym in 1993, when Enron and the California Public Employees' Retirement System entered into the Joint Energy Development Investment LP.
"That just started a series of Star Wars names," Denne said.
There are other connections. In July 2000, when Enron and Dallas-based Blockbuster Video teamed to develop on-demand home movies in a venture that fizzled months later, mockups of Darth Vader and one of his stormtroopers appeared in Enron's lobby.
Enron, once a major backer of the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, last spring helped underwrite Star Wars: The Magic of Myth. The exhibit featured authentic movie costumes and models and the sketches that inspired them.