Four Color Comments: Why Does Disney Even Bother Owning The Muppets?

Always nice to see a license go to waste. I grew up on the Muppets and have always been a huge fan. My first exposure was obviously Sesame Street. From there […]

Always nice to see a license go to waste.

I grew up on the Muppets and have always been a huge fan. My first exposure was obviously Sesame Street. From there was a spin-off with just Kermit the Frog and a brand new cast with the Muppet Show. Some of the funniest stuff I’ve seen. There were many movies, some better than others, but I still watched them. 

Unfornatually in 1990, creator Jim Henson passed away. I felt like something died inside of me too. Henson was a huge influence in my life. And then I started to wonder what would happen to the Muppets. Before Henson died, there was a partnership with Disney and they did help with some of the movies. But in 2004, Disney acquired full rights to the Muppets, and they have barely done squat with them ever since. 

Why would you buy a license if you have no intention of doing anything with it? For years there were no movies or specials, or even merchandise. It took actor Jason Segel in 2011 to actually make a new movie. That’s 7 years of the Muppets collecting dust before Disney would do anything. And the movie wasn’t that good either. It was followed up with another disaster Muppets Most Wanted.

In 2015, ABC released a new Muppets TV show. It was supposed to be geared to a more adult audience, but it was just horrible. And it didn’t help that ABC barely showed the episodes with any regularity. So was it any shock the show wasn’t picked up for a second season?

In an interview at SXSW festival, even famous Muppeteer Frank Oz said “I felt the show wasn’t true to the characters. There was a purity in each character that was vital. I felt that purity was being moved around to areas that didn’t feel right.”

I agree with Frank. The show was so hard to watch. Not enjoyable at all. I kept thinking “These aren’t my Muppets”.

I own the DVD collection fo the first 3 seasons of The Muppet Show. I’m still waiting on season 4 and 5. This collection came out in 2005, 2007, and 2008. And they aren’t even complete. Some skits were cut due to music licensing which essentially means Disney didn’t want to shell out the money for the rights. So it looks like I’ll never get that series on DVD, unless I want to buy it bootleg, and that’s starting to look good.

Even if you look at the Disney Store website, they are only selling 26 Muppet items, and not one of them was a plush. Most of them were just old DVD movies. Highly dissapointing.

I just don’t get why Disney insists on holding onto to this property. They are really doing nothing with it. So why have it. Just because they can?

Personally, I’m at the point where I feel the rights should just be given back to the Jim Henson Company, and let Jim Henson’s kids carry on the legacy. 

In this day and age, I feel the humor and music that the Muppets added to the world, is truely needed.

Brian Isaacs - Executive Editor / Publisher

About Brian Isaacs - Executive Editor / Publisher

An avid comic collector/reader for over 40 years and self-proclaimed professor of comicology, Brian original started up the site Pendragon's Post to share his voice. Well that voice has been shared, and evolved into The Fanboy Factor. Brian is an advocate for remembering comic roots, and that we don't forget what was created in the past, and encourage everyone to read it as well. When not swimming in geek culture, he can be seen corrupting..introducing his young son to comics, much to his wife's chagrin.