Muppets at D23: Movies, DVDs, and Merchandise News!

Published: September 14, 2009
Categories: News

Update #5 on Sept. 16 at 10:00pm.

D23, Disney’s answer to Comic Con for Mickey fanatics, was the big event over in California this weekend. Amidst all of the Pirates, Poohs, and Plutos, Disney found the time for some big Muppet announcements. The big one being: Disney has not forgotten that they own the Frog.

We had a few agents in the field at D23’s Muppet panel, and we’re proud to bring the latest news to you of what Walt has in store for all those dogs and bears and chickens and things.

First off, the Muppets appeared in Friday’s big Disney presentation, which you can view a bit of in the video above. The Muppets sang to some prerecorded tunes, and they make a second appearance at the end of the video.
As we mentioned yesterday, The Cheapest Muppet Movie Ever Made is being dusted off and handed to Jason Segel (of I Love You Man and How I Met Your Mother fame). We have no word on what will happen to his “The Greatest Muppet Movie Of All Time” script, but the promise of a theatrical Muppet movie (the first since Muppets in Space in 1999) has got us paying attention. Of course, the elephant in the room is Kermit’s performer. Will Steve Whitmire be back for the Muppets’ biggest break in years? That’s a question for another blog. UPDATE: We’ve got a promotional picture! For realz.
Hey, remember those fantastic YouTube videos from last year? Well, so does Disney. They’ve announced that more of them are on their way, and this time they’re branching out and recording non-Public Domain songs. “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “Dust in the Wind”, and “Stand By Me” will hopefully show up on your YouTube station soon (check local listings). UPDATE: We have more info on the upcoming viral videos! Dust in the Wind will be sung by Beaker, Bohemian Rhapsody by the Electric Mayhem and Gonzo, American Woman by Sam the Eagle, Popcorn by The Swedish Chef, as well as Carol of the Bells. Also, at least three Muppet Labs videos are coming, including “Carve-O-Matic”, “Pumpkin Carving”, and “Ghost Hunting”. UPDATE #2: Stand By Me will be sung by Carl the Big Mean Bunny. No, really.
I am a bad Muppet fan, because I am one of the few who haven’t been to a Disney theme park since Muppet*Vision 3D came out. Thankfully for me (and I guess you guys too), Disney will be releasing a “Remastered” version of the show into their parks. I don’t know what that means, but it sure sounds exciting! Not to mention, maybe it’ll still be there by the time I can afford a ticket to Orlando.
Also at the theme parks, the successful Muppet Whatnot Workshops will be opening new stores, causing exhausted parents to lug those giant bags around while their kids ride Space Mountain. The Workshops will also be carrying new puppet designs, accessories, and facial features, so now you have to buy at least three more! UPDATE: We have pictures of the new Whatnot accessories, plus monster fur!
More theme park stuff! Remember how we all marveled at the Muppet Mobile Labs, featuring an animatronic Bunsen and Beaker riding through the crowds, actually talking to and playing games with passers-by? Pretty soon, there will be another Mobile Muppet vehicle, and it’ll be the Electric Mayhem bus! You’ll be able to do the Hokey Pokey with Dr. Teeth, listen to Janice wax poetic about her trip to the beach, and watch Zoot take a nap! The possibilities are endless!
Rumors flew by a few months ago regarding a Muppet Halloween special, due out this Halloween season. And since we’re already halfway through September, that rumor is decidedly bunk. Or, it was, until Disney announced that the Halloween special will be out next year. And while we wait for details about that, feel free to play through Muppet Monster Adventure for your PlayStation video gaming system and pretend it’s a new TV special.
Got an iPhone? Muppet iPhone apps are coming! Personally, I have a phone shaped like a letter I, and the apps for it are terrible. Thanks for nothing, AT&T! UPDATE: We have images of two of the iPhone app ads! Soon you’ll be able to carry Sexy Pepe around with you wherever you go.
Cat Cora, best known as one of the Iron Chefs on Iron Chef America, will be starring in an online cooking show with the Muppets. Will she be cooking bacon with Piggy? Bear claws with Fozzie? French Fried Frog Legs? Buns and Honeydew? Figs in Space? Yeah, I have no freaking idea. UPDATE: The show will be online this fall and will feature funny topics like “Food You Can Eat with Your Hands Night” and “Food That Gets Caught in Your Mustache Night”.
More Steiff plush dolls are on their way, featuring Kermit and Piggy (UPDATE: A Fozzie Bear doll is also on its way!). We featured an article here on ToughPigs recently about the ridiculous price for the Kermit doll, so you’ll excuse us if we don’t foam at the mouth over more merchandise we can’t afford. The good news is that there will be affordable merchandise. For example…
Pook-a-Looz! The name that means nothing! They’re cuter than Ugly Dolls, and not even attempting the realism of, well, any other dolls you can think of. So far we’ve seen Kermit, Animal, Gonzo, and Fozzie, but I wouldn’t be surprised if more were right around the corner. They’ll be available in large and “keychain” sizes. I have already fallen in love with the Kermit doll, and the cuteness of Fozzie burying his face in his neckerchief has already got me emptying my wallet.
While we wait patiently with our hands folded on our laps for the Swedish Chef Christmas ornament coming out this holiday season, Disney is already jumping the gun on next year’s design. Get ready for Animal at his drumset! Nothing says Christmas cheer like a furry beast chasing your wife and shouting “WOMAN! WOMAN!”
Disney is hoping that “Vinylmation” will be the next big fad for toy collectors. The toys are all shaped like Mickey (ears and all), but will have different paint jobs to resemble different characters. Some come out looking a little strange (like Kermit), and some are adorably ugly (like Sweetums). I think they’d all look less creepy if they didn’t have Mickey’s “nose”, which would keep their faces from looking all wonky.
Statler and Waldorf will be breaking out their typewriters (which I’m sure they use to write many letters of complaint to various newspapers) and penning a book. I’m going to hazard a guess and say that the book will be in the same format as the awful “It’s Hard Out Here for a Shrimp” and “The Diva Code“. Look forward to our we-read-it-so-you-didn’t-have-to review here on ToughPigs! UPDATE: We have a cover! Are you excited yet? How about now?
Weezer, who I’m still mad at for stealing my music video idea, will be recording a new version of “Rainbow Connection” for an upcoming CD due out next year called “Muppets Revisited”. UPDATE: We have album art and more artist info! The Fray, Ami Lee, My Morning Jacket, and Andrew Bird will be singing Muppet covers too! I’m hoping for more songs, because that would make for one short album.
The Muppets will appear on David Foster’s Christmas special this December with Andrea Bocelli. And since we don’t have a picture of it yet, please enjoy this picture of Boccelli with Elmo and pretend it’s, oh I dunno, Beaker. UPDATE: And now we have a picture! So that previous sentence makes absolutely no sense.
UPDATE: Muppet Halloween costumes! I’m thinking about having a kid just so I can dress him up as Fozzie Bear. Adowable!
UPDATE: Kermit will once again sing “I Believe” at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, this time with Tiffany Thornton. Are they trying to make this an annual thing? Because Thanksgiving already has that day saved every year. UPDATE #2: Kermit and Piggy will also be appearing in the Walt Disney World Christmas Parade Show, which will air on ABC on Christmas Day.
UPDATE: Lots more merchandise! Boy, that Kermit guy really likes being green, doesn’t he?
UPDATE: We have images of two of the new parody posters that will be outside the revamped Muppet*Vision 3D show. Another one which we don’t have an image of yet is Beaker as “BEAK-E”. Hopefully Disney will turn these into a calendar or something so we can all enjoy them! UPDATE #2: We found BEAK-E!
And lastly, here’s the big news for most of you out there. Studio DC: Almost Live will be released next year! What’s that? You thought Studio DC was unwatchable? Well then maybe you’d prefer The Muppet Show Season 4 DVDs! (That’s what we call the ol’ switcheroo.) Yes, finally we’re taking the next step toward actually owning legitimate copies of The Muppet Show, and this one will feature Gonzo and his schnozz on the cover. UPDATE: We have DVD cover art! I’m happy to see it’s an old Gonzo picture, and not, say, the “chili pepper shirt” Gonzo. Then again, I’d be happy if it had Don Rickles on the cover, just as long as we get these DVDs!

And that’s the bulk of what we learned at D23! We’ll update this page as necessary if more reports come in this week from other D23 attendees, so feel free to bookmark and revisit. And as always, we’ll keep you in the know on a more instant basis via the ToughPigs forum and our Twitter feed.

Special thanks to Danny Horn, Wilson Swain, and Greg James for all this amazing info! And thanks to Leighanne for those culinary puns!
Click here to discuss ALL of these Muppet news bits on the ToughPigs forum!

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RIP Robert MacNeil

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Written by Joe Hennes

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