If you were one of the people who enjoyed Disney’s resuscitation of The Muppet movie franchise, then you owe a bit of thanks to How I Met Your Mother actor Jason Segel, who co-wrote The Muppets script, starred in the film, and was generally the driving force behind Jim Henson’s puppet characters getting back on the silver screen.
Since The Muppets was a financial success ($150 million worldwide on a $45 million budget) it’s no surprise that Disney would greenlight a sequel film, but what IS surprising is the news that Jason Segel won’t be involved in it, either in front of or behind the camera.
Our good friend Steve “Frosty” Weintraub over at Collider asked Segel point-blank whether rumors of him being out of the Muppet movie franchise were true, to which Segel responded:
“It’s true but it’s totally amicable. My goal was to bring The Muppets back and I did that leaving them in very good hands, my writing partner and James Bobin the director. I did what I set out to do, and now I wanna pursue more human-related projects (laughs).”
“All I wanted to do was to set the stage for them to do whatever they wanted. I’m sure I’ll return in some capacity here and there, but that was half a decade of my life. Five years of hard work. I’m ready for a little puppet break.”
As Collider points out, The Muppets wasn’t so much about Segel’s character, Gary, as it was about Walter, the humanoid puppet who became the newest member of the Muppet gang. Therefore, any new Muppet movies are free to move ahead without Gary (whose storyline is pretty much complete) and instead focus on Walter and his adventures with The Muppets.
From the quote above, it’s also clear that Segel is Muppetted out at this point; pretty much the same sentiment South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone had after working on Team America: World Police. It would seem the fantasies of puppet play are a lot sweeter than the realities (where movies are concerned, at least).
Finally, as far as general audiences are concerned, this is far from upsetting news. Most people (read: kids) just show up to see the Muppets – we humans are a distant second.