Buena Vista/Disney have announced that Kermit, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Fozzie, and the rest of the late Jim Henson's classic puppet comedy crew will return to the big screen in The Greatest Muppet Movie of All Time on Christmas Day, 2011.
This new Muppet movie - the first theatrical release for the furry sock puppets since Muppets from Space came out back in 1999 - will feature Jason Segel (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) traveling the globe in an attempt to reunite the now-disbanded Muppet crew.
Segel wrote the screenplay for the film in collaboration with his Forgetting Sarah Marshall director Nicholas Stoller (Get Him to the Greek) and will work under the direction of Flight of the Conchords co-creator, James Bobin.
In the tradition of previous Muppet outings, Segel featured an onslaught of celebrity cameos in his screenplay. Although they surely won't all make it into the film's final cut, I can definitely see the likes of George Clooney, Alec Baldwin, Ben Stiller, and Mel Brooks showing up.
The Muppets have appeared in a variety of online videos and musical skits - the likes of which include their rendition of "Stand By Me" this past Easter - in order to remain relevant in the age of the Internet. Awareness of The Muppets amongst the YouTube Generation is surprisingly high, given that the Muppets were at the height of their popularity back in the 1970s and saw only modest returns from their movies of the 80s and 90s.
Does the Muppets' idiosyncratic brand of humor - silly musical sequences, breaking the 4th wall, oddball puns - still has what it takes to sustain the running time of an entire feature film? Well, Segel has produced some solid comedic material in the past and he seems to really adore the Muppets in general, so here's hoping that his screenplay can bring the funny.
What do you think? Are you excited to hear that the Muppets are finally making their way back into theaters? Sound off in the comments section below.
The Greatest Muppet Movie of All Time will arrive in theaters in the U.S. on December 25th, 2011, with production expected to start later this year.