Fans of the Muppets would recall that the cast of lovably ridiculous puppets is the brainchild of both Jim Henson and Frank Oz. Ever since Henson created this cast of fuzzy animal (and whatever Gonzo is supposed to be) puppets all the way back in 1955, the duo had tirelessly worked to make them the weirdly adorable and hilarious little gremlins they are in the present day. Sadly, Henson’s passing on May 16, 1990, ensures he can no longer do that.
Fortunately, Oz is still kicking around, and he seems more than eager to work with Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, and Animal again. Unfortunately, it’s all up to Disney to decide on whether that happens or not. You know, since they acquired the Muppets back on February 17, 2004 (even earlier if you count the initial negotiations back in 1989)? Even more unfortunately though, the chances of Disney agreeing to that is very, very, VERY slim.
Frank Oz: Disney’s Worst Enemy?
The Guardian has just had a very interesting interview with Frank Oz himself. During that interview, the topic came around to asking Oz about the Muppets. The interviewer, Hadley Freeman, had assumed that Oz had retired since he hadn’t worked on anything Muppet-related since 2007. However, he assumed wrong. As it turns out, Oz actually fully wants to work with the puppets he helped create again. He’s very enthusiastic about it, actually. This makes sense since Oz did play Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Animal, and Sam Eagle on the original The Muppet Show from 1976-1981.
So what’s stopping Frank Oz? Well, the new owners of the Muppets franchise: the Walt Disney Company. To quote from Oz himself:
I’d love to do the Muppets again but Disney doesn’t want me, and Sesame Street hasn’t asked me for 10 years. They don’t want me because I won’t follow orders and I won’t do the kind of Muppets they believe in. The soul’s not there. The soul is what makes things grow and be funny. But I miss them and love them.
So in short: creative differences between Frank Oz and Disney will likely ensure that Oz will never get to work with the Muppets again. It’s a fair enough difference in opinion though, considering that there’s a widespread belief among Oz and Muppets fans that Disney’s continued pushing of Jim Henson during their initial negotiations for that and Sesame Street indirectly led to Henson’s death. That though is a story for another day. Tune back into THS for more Muppets news when we hear about it.
Source: The Guardian