The Muppets remains one of the most beloved franchises in pop culture history. Yet, despite releasing two movies and one TV show featuring Kermit and the gang, Disney, which owns the brand, hasn't had a great deal of success at creating new content for the franchise — and Frank Oz thinks he knows why.
In a post on Twitter, 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. I suppose a version of The Muppets will survive. But they won’t be true."
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. I suppose a version of The Muppets will survive. But they won’t be true.— Frank Oz (@TheFrankOzJam) December 17, 2018
It's an incendiary comment. However, Oz is an authority on the subject. He was one of the original artists involved in developing The Muppet Show, which premiered in 1976, with Muppet mastermind Jim Henson. He also originated the voices of Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Animal and other characters.
Disney has attempted to relaunch The Muppets multiple times. It had some initial success with 2011's The Muppets, starring Jason Segel and Amy Adams, which grossed over $165 million worldwide. It led to a sequel, 2014's Muppets Most Wanted, but that film didn't do as well, taking in $80 million globally.
In 2015, a television series centering on a talk show hosted by Miss Piggy was broadcast on ABC. However, the series was critically panned, rejected by audiences and canceled after a single season.
Fans still adore the Muppets and would love to see new content that successfully captures the humor and intelligence that made the original Muppet movies and The Muppet Show such a cultural touchstone.
Disney is planning to reboot the Muppets yet again as a series for its upcoming streaming service, Disney+. Unfortunately, Oz's skepticism casts a bit of a shadow on that and any future attempts from Disney to revive the franchise.