Described as the ‘Muppet Old Guard’, – a group of writers and performers long associated with the franchise (not Statler, Waldorf and that eagle dude as the name led me to believe) are upset with the direction Disney is going with the new movie, ‘The Muppets‘.
In a piece ran by the Hollywood Reporter, the group slams the direction the Jason Segel/Nicholas Stoller re-launch of the Muppets under Mouse is heading in. Calling it ‘too cheap’ (in regards to the fart shoes Fozzy wears in the recent trailer), and lambasts the film for creating a “false history that the characters were forced to act out for the sake of this movie”, such as Kermit owning a mansion at the start of the movie. THR does note that none of these old guard have seen the film yet, so take the comments in stride.
Frank Oz, arguably the most famous puppeteer next to Jim Henson, went on the record with his displeasure about the upcoming film, “I wasn’t happy with the script… I don’t think they respected the characters. But I don’t want to go on about it like a sourpuss and hurt the movie.” The article also says that the unnamed puppeteer who plays Kermit was at one point debating having his name removed from the credits (oh no, unnamed person, don’t remove your unknown name from the credits I will only sit through on the off chance there is a scene at the end.)
While I will acknowledge what they are saying as valid, it all feels a little sour and pouty to me. Yes if Jim Henson was alive today, he might have sent his Muppets on a different adventure. One we’ll sadly never know. Whatever he would have done, he would have with filled with his energy, excitement and love for the characters. Everything that we’ve seen so far shows that Jason Segel has a love (hell, a full on nerd chubby) for the Muppets. In my humble opion, they look to be in good hands. Yes, this is a new direction, yes this is another evolution of the franchise. That’s exactly what needs to happen for it to continue.
If you want to preserve Jim Henson’s original vision then retire them. That would make the last ever Muppet movie 1999’s ‘Muppets in Space‘… and does anyone really want that to be it’s legacy?