It's been a foregone conclusion that Walt Disney Pictures would eventually push ahead with a sequel to (yes, Oscar-winning) The Muppets, seeing how that film successfully re-invigorated the Jim Henson franchise at the box office, while also managing to win over most longtime Muppet fans and newcomers alike.
Reports are in that Disney has indeed secured a deal for Muppets director James Bobin and co-writer Nicholas Stoller to work on the next installment in the continuing... uh, saga of Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, and the rest of the iconic googly-eyed felt characters (including new addition Walter). However, one vital ingredient from the first movie might be missing in the followup: co-writer/star Jason Segel.
Here's the situation, according to Vulture: between starring on How I Met Your Mother, handling promotional duties on the upcoming The Five-Year Engagement and This Is 40, and other future writing projects, Segel is not expected to be available to collaborate with Stoller on the script for a second Muppets movie (in the near future, at least). He could still appear in the actual film, assuming his schedule eases up down the line.
Vulture's scoop also makes no mention as to whether or not Muppets songwriter/composer Brett McKenzie will be brought back for the followup. When Screen Rant's Roth Cornet interviewed the Flight of the Conchords alum, he did seem open to the idea of a Muppets sequel (while also being somewhat intimidated by the prospect).
Chances are good then that Disney heads will at least make a strong effort to bring McKenzie back, given how pivotal his original songs were to the popularity of last year's new Muppet flick (reboot?). It's nonetheless disappointing to hear that Segel isn't expected to work on the sequel's script, considering how instrumental he was in both the writing and overall creative process behind The Muppets.
Segel's devotion to doing justice by Henson and his fellow original puppet performers' work definitely showed through in The Muppets. Of course, the same can also be said for Stoller's writing contributions, Bobin's energetic direction, McKenzie's toe-tapping (and award-winning) tunes, and the efforts of the new crew responsible for bringing Kermit and Co. to life.
That's all to say: a Muppets followup without Segel still has a good deal to offer. Perhaps the sequel could even improve on the shortcomings of the original - like offering a more comically-inspired storyline than the conventional (but well-executed) "getting the old gang back together" plot Segel and Stoller came up with in their first Muppet flick.
We will continue to keep you up-to-date on the status of Disney's The Muppets sequel as the story develops.
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