BREAKING MUPPET NEWS!
Yesterday started out as another slow news day in the Muppetverse--everyone patiently (/impatiently) waiting for Sunday's big "Special Muppet Presentation" at the Disney23 Expo in Anaheim, California. Friend of the blog, Muppet writer Jim Lewis had implied (in the latest answer in "The Brand New Ask Jim Lewis Thread" on Muppet Central Forum) that the Muppets would physically be at the expo. Fans assumed this meant that they would be part of the panel on Sunday.
Boy, were we wrong.
As news slowly started to trickle in from Disney fan Twitter feeds--news of new Disney Park exclusive Muppet merchandise, such as the already-announced Muppet series of the extremely popular Vinylmation series of vinyl figures, along with a Muppet*Vision 3D inspired Rizzo Dressed as Mickey Mouse figure, and new plush "Pook-A-Looz" featuring plush of Kermit, Animal, and (a source tells me) Gonzo.
Reporter Kermit and Rizzo the Rat replicas. Future replica plans include Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, and Pepe the King Prawn.
But a few scraps of merchandise doesn't really designate "breaking news," now does it? So what was this big, exciting news that's being buzzed about? What happened to cause me to pre-empt Sesame Street Saturdays again? Well... there's actually only one word I need to explain myself. That word?
That's right, the Muppets made their arrival yesterday and spared NO expense and pulled out ALL of the stops! Over twenty Muppet characters appeared in full form (including Sweetums, Robin, Scooter, Lew Zealand, and the entire Electric Mayhem) where they sang, danced, and (the general consensus agreed) made people happy!
The Muppets didn't appear in their own, specially designated time-slot, however. They rolled out during Disney Chairman Dick Cook's presentation on upcoming Disney movies (including the John Travolta and Robin Williams movie Old Dogs, Pirates of the Caribbean 4, Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, and more). But why, you ask (as well you should), did the Muppets appear during a presentation about new Disney movies? ...Unless? Yeah. That.
Disney Chairman Dick Cook officially announced the NEW theatrical Muppet movie: "The Cheapest Muppet Movie Ever Made" written by Jason Segel.
The Muppets are now officially green-lit for their first theatrical outing in over a decade--and they were given the official treatment by none other than Disney big-wig Dick Cook!
But... what the heck were they doing on a river boat? Well... from all reports I've heard, that was Pepe's doing. Reports have said that Dick Cook called offstage to Fozzie, Gonzo, and Pepe asking them to come on out, but they were reluctant to. The three of them soon appeared onscreen above Mr. Cook. Apparently, they couldn't find Kermit and Dick asks if the show can still go on. Pepe replies, "Of course!" (of course) and Fozzie and Gonzo proceed to argue about how they have no plan of what to do without Kermit.
I'm a little fuzzy on the details, but at one point while Fozzie, Gonzo, and Pepe are arguing behind the curtain, Scooter (yes, Scooter) tells them something along the lines of "The show must go on!" and convinces them to pull the riverboat out saying, "Isn't show business great? All aboard!!" and the curtains open, revealing Pepe, Fozzie, and Gonzo on the front half Mark Twain riverboat (straight from Disneyland). Pepe shouts, "Let's get this party started, hokay!" and sings his own version of "Prince Ali" from the Disney classic Aladdin.
After Pepe's song, the rest of the boat appears, being pushed by Sweetums. The rest of the Muppets (Miss Piggy, Animal, Zoot, Beaker, Bunsen, Janice, Floyd, Scooter, Rizzo, Dr. Teeth, Lew Zealand, five chickens, Robin, and two penguins) are revealed.
Miss Piggy tells Pepe that she "has a better song" and starts to sing (sources haven't said which song it was she was singing) with Robin, the chickens, and the penguins on the bottom deck of the boat.
After Piggy's song, Gonzo said, "We NEED Kermit!" and some more arguing occurs before the sound of a banjo is heard. The Muppets quiet down as "Rainbow Connection" is played on the banjo and Kermit emerges on the top deck, singing. The Muppets cheer and sing along with the final verse.
The song ends, the crowd applauds, and the boat disappears off the side of the stage. Some sources have said that Statler and Waldorf then appeared to heckle the performance, asking for "Grumpy" (Dick Cook) to come back onstage. He does so, of course, and officially announces "The Cheapest Muppet Movie Ever Made," complete with an onscreen graphic of a sheet of paper with the title hastily scribbled on it.
So that's all the news from yesterday--and it's arguably the BIGGEST Muppet news to come out of Disney in five years! It was truly an incredibly exciting day to be a Muppet fan--especially those Muppet fans in attendance at D23!
The Special Muppet Presentation occurs tomorrow at 1:00 PST, so I'll be sure to keep you updated on more of the HUGE news coming out of D23 this weekend!
For now, please enjoy the first video footage from the event. Muppets start around 2:30 and pick up again about 5:10!
Keep your sights set on The Muppet Mindset for more D23 Muppet news!