Since Disney acquired Muppets Studio, formerly the Jim Henson Company, in the mid-2000s, the Mouse House has made two successful Muppet movies, The Muppets and Muppets Most Wanted, and one failed Muppet TV show that lasted for one season. When Frank Oz, one of the original Muppet performers (Miss Piggy! Fozzie Bear! Animal!) and Jim Henson’s closest collaborator, was asked what he thought of the Muppets in the Disney-era, he did not hold back.
“I’ve said little about The Muppets under Disney. I wanted to give them time to work with the key performers to understand the heart of each character, and I didn’t want to sound like sour grapes. But I joined Jim when I was 19. I’m 74 now. It’s time,” he tweeted. This comes after a follower wished that the Muppets would “survive this Disney Hollywood Studio Park makeover” (referring to Muppet*Vision 3D), and Oz wrote, “So far the writers Disney has employed don’t know to write for The Muppets. I imagine their hubris makes them believe they can. But the characters need writing that has depth and honesty.” He added, “A version of The Muppets will survive. But they won’t be true.”
The Little Shop of Horrors director also voiced his displeasure at how Kermit is currently depicted (“They didn’t have a clue about who Kermit really is”) and the importance of the “key” Muppet performers (“When Disney does not want their involvement, the characters become superficial and dishonest”). Disney has apparently never reached out to Oz about a Muppet project, but “I would work with them if the script was worthwhile and under certain conditions,” he wrote. “One of the conditions is that the key performers have the final approval on what their characters will say and do. Which means I will never be asked.”
The Muppets will return on Disney’s streaming service.