Josh Gad confirms the cancellation of his upcoming series with "Once Upon a Time" creators Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis.
The Muppets series in development for Disney+ has been canceled, but not to fear. The Muppets are still coming to Disney+. Confused?
The "Muppets Now" project announced at D23, a short-form unscripted series, is still moving forward. What's been canceled is the much more involved series, "Muppets Live Another Day," that was never officially announced and yet effectively confirmed and picked up for pilot last year.
That six-part series, which would have been scripted, was set to pick up the adventures of the Muppets after the second film in the franchise, 1984's "The Muppets Take Manhattan," with Kermit once again reuniting the gang to search for a missing Rowlf. Even better, Josh Gad was set to write the series alongside "Once Upon a Time" creators Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis.
In other words, just like when Jason Segel helmed their big-screen revival in the hit 2011 film, it actually looked like they'd assembled the right creative team with the right pedigree to really help the Muppets shine again. They were even setting it in the 1980's, which would have allowed for all kinds of nods to the decade of excess.
With '80s nostalgia at an all-time high, it really did seem like all of the ingredients were there for a successful revival for the venerable property that has struggled to regain its prominence in pop culture since Disney acquired it from The Jim Henson Company in 2004.
The 2011 revival was followed by the less successful "Muppets Most Wanted" in 2014. The following year "The Muppets" returned to television only to see their "The Office"-inspired revival retooled halfway through its first season and ultimately canceled after only 16 episodes.
Gad confirmed the latest cancellation news with a tweet Monday evening, writing, "Sometimes, creative differences are just that." He went on to praise his collaborators and expressed hopes that some portion of the project might live on, including four original songs created for it.
particular I hope you all get to hear the four BRILLIANT songs written by Bobby Lopez and @Lyrikris10 one day soon. They are beyond your wildest dreams. And also see some of the ideas & concepts director Jason Moore was going to bring to the 6 part limited series. Love Disney +
Disney remains committed to the popular characters, though, as the unscripted "Muppets Now" continues to move forward. Featuring guest stars and playing on the improvisational strengths of the Muppet puppeteers, "Muppets Now" will likely feature disconnected moments as Kermit, Miss Piggy, Gonzo and friends interact with various celebrities and other personalities.
As we've seen through countless talk show and awards ceremony appearances, the Muppets are brilliant in unscripted interactions, but this doesn't mean we want to abandon the potential of these characters to live and breathe in bigger, more ambitious projects like "Muppets Live Another Day."
Hopefully the title of the scrapped project serves as prophecy, and they do yet find another more substantial venue for their wholly original brand of comedy. There's nothing like a Muppets project, with these iconic characters interacting in a human world, and it would be a shame to rob future generations of their genius brand of entertainment.
For now, "Muppets Now" is slated to be a part of Disney+ programming, kicking off in 2020.