D23 2022 Recap: Muppets Mayhem, Christmas, and More!

Published: September 12, 2022
Categories: Feature, Reports

The 2022 D23 Expo was a flurry of events and announcements for new Disney projects. I lost count, but I think there was about a dozen new Star Wars things announced, and about 50 billion Marvel movies in the works. Oh yeah, and the Muppets! They were there too! Since they have a new show on the horizon, The Muppets Mayhem, we were eager to see what would be announced pertaining to that show. Turns out…not much!

But before we talk about the Muppet-specific events, I want to bring up this sizzle reel below, shown during the Disney Legends Ceremony on Friday, highlighting “100 Years of Disney.” It heavily featured all the things that were grandfathered into the Disney family over the years – Marvel, Star Wars, ESPN, ABC, etc. – so you’d think there’s be some Muppets in there too.

And you would think wrong. The only Muppet-related clip is from the 2018 Muppet Babies and they’re only onscreen for about less than a second (at 3:53). While the other events the Muppets were a part of showed that there is love for the franchise, it’s a bit disappointing they couldn’t get one second extra here.

Anywho, onto the big Muppet events! First up was “Magic in the Air: 30 Years of The Muppet Christmas Carol” which, from what I can gather off Twitter, was indeed magical.

The event was hosted by Nina West of RuPaul’s Drag Race fame, wearing an exceptional Kermit the Frog dress. And who was the one to introduce West to the stage? None other than Charles Dickens himself!

West then brought out the rest of the Muppet stars from the film – Kermit (Bob Cratchit), Miss Piggy (Emily Cratchit), and Robin (Tiny Tim). While discussing their roles in the movie, Robin expressed interest in developing a “Dickens Cinematic Universe” with more movies about Tiny Tim, such as A Christmas Carol 2: The Winter Soldier, Tiny Tim: Love and Thunder, and Tiny Tim in the Multiverse of Madness. Kermit objects, but Charles Dickens counters – “We can do anything we want – I’m public domain!”

After showing the blooper reel from the film, West brought out a panel of creative people who worked on the movie – director Brian Henson, songwriter Paul Williams, costume designer Polly Smith, and Dave Goelz; I’m not quite sure what he did in the movie. They each talked about their contributions to the film, with Polly Smith showing off some really neat concept drawings and pictures from the workshop.

And as you might have heard, Brian Henson announced that the fully-restored version of the film with “When Love is Gone” in tact will be released to Disney+ on December 11. ‘Tis the sweetest dream we’ve ever known! To commemorate the news, Disney Legend and noted mermaid Jodi Benson came out to perform a rendition of the song.

The event came to a close with a big medley of the rest of the songs from the movie, as performed by West and the Muppets, now dressed in their iconic costumes from the film. I’ve never heard such excitement for singing produce in my life.

All in all, it looked like a fun tribute to an iconic and important piece of Muppet history. And who knows, maybe for D23 2026, we’ll get another event celebrating Muppet Treasure Island. Anything’s possible with the power of Christmas!

Later in the afternoon, there was “Disney’s Epic Entertainment Showcase: The Musical: The Extravaganza!” in which Lilly Singh (human lead of The Muppets Mayhem) and Raven-Symone (from Raven’s Home) were joined by various famous peoples to promote new and upcoming projects from Disney Branded Television, interspersed with various musical performances. Unfortunately, The Muppets Mayhem was not teased as much as the other shows; no exclusive trailer or footage and it wasn’t even mentioned in the opening montage of upcoming shows. I don’t think they even mentioned a potential release date, but Disney’s post-show press releases say that the series is coming out in 2023! So we just have to hang tight for a few more months!

To compensate for the lack of, well, any new info, the Electric Mayhem appeared live to kick off the show and perform the newly-released single from the upcoming show, “Can You Picture That?” Laughing Place was groovy enough to share a video of their performance. Not only do we get to see the Mayhem rock out in front of a crowd, but we also get our first taste of Peter Linz’s new take on Lips.

A new Disney+ original special was also announced during the show called Best in Snow. Hosted by Tituss Burgess, the special will be a competition involving making snow sculptures based on various Disney properties. The Muppets will be one of those properties and Kermit the Frog is reported to give a musical performance. How will they work an inevitable performance of “Rainbow Connection” into a holiday special? We’ll have to find out when the special comes out sometime later this year.

Finally, there was “Meet the Muppets: The Muppets Mayhem Conversation,” in which Tahj Mowry (playing Moog on the upcoming show) sat down for a short chat session with Animal, Floyd, and Janice. This was also very light on new information, but it was very heavy on fun and laughs, so I suppose that makes up for things. We learned there will be some new songs for the show, and that we may not even see some mainstays like Kermit or Miss Piggy, at least not in prominent roles. I’m very intrigued to see how that’ll play out.

Attractions Magazine captured the whole event for our eyes to see:

Beyond the events, there were some Muppets to be found out and about the floor of the expo. There appeared to be a Muppet Studios area where you could buy some branded merch, including some Muppets Haunted Mansion items and this onesie featuring the likes of Uncle Deadly, Lips, and Joe the Legal Weasel!

Super7 was also around with their various collectables, including prototypes for their Electric Mayhem line. Notabily absent is the aforementioned Lips, but instead we have Scooter a.k.a “the man with the van!”

And that’s all I have to say about what Twitter told me about the Muppets at D23 2022! They may not have gotten as much hoopla as the Jedis or Avengers, but it’s nice that they had their own niche full of love and fans. The next expo should be in 2024, so I look forward to more big Muppet announcements like On the Road with Big Mean Carl or Lips’ Very Own Spin-Off Variety Hour!

Click here to play hide and seek with Animal on the Tough Pigs forum!

by Shane Keating

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