2011′s The Muppets wasn’t a flop, but it wasn’t exactly a hit either. Grossing a little less than $90 Million at the box office, it was done for relatively cheap but was also seen as a brand relaunch. In situations like that good word of mouth and a renewed interest in the characters trumps the end results (and may also lead to higher sales when it hits home video). but though the film seemed willed into existence by Jason Segel, he won’t be writing on the sequel, according to Vulture.
Returning for the second will be director James Bobin and co-writer Nicholas Stoller, both of whom will pen the new script. Segel is too busy between his television show How I Met Your Mother, and will be promoting upcoming films Five Year Engagement and Judd Apatow‘s This Is Forty for the rest of the year. If promotion sounds like a weak excuse, it’s usually a month of talking to journalists and doing TV spots (and sometimes Saturday Night Live), and then there’s international consideration and premieres to contend with. On top of which, the Apatow film is coming out in December, so it seems likely the film is courting Oscars. If Segel has a meaty enough part he will have to do some campaigning. That film also co-stars Albert Brooks, so it’s possible he could be up for Oscar snubbing yet again.
All parties say they’re open to Segel returning as an actor. But it’s unknown if this is a straight sequel, or – like so many of the Muppet efforts – another story in their universe. If I had a problem with last year’s reboot, it would be that so much of it was dedicated to making you remember and love the characters again. It would be nice to see a film where they aren’t laying so heavily on that as a backbone, and instead let the Muppets cut a little looser. But as a way to introduce a new generation to the characters (and to make parents misty-eyed), it worked.
One of the most interesting things about last year’s film was seeing how it was so anticipated by other journalists. They seemed way more excited than the general population, and I think part of that was knowing that “we” would get to interview the Muppets themselves. That enthusiasm didn’t translate, though I can’t deny when I was sitting in front of Kermit, it did get me a bit misty-eyed.
What do you want out of a Muppet sequel?