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I'm not sure I'd make too much of the news that Disney has signed a deal with James Bobin and Nicholas Stoller to start development on a sequel to "The Muppets" without Jason Segel attached to co-write.
First, even last year, when I visited them on the set of "The Five-Year Engagement" (and we'll have more on that this weekend), Stoller and Segel said they'd already brainstormed ideas for a sequel. Those guys make great collaborators, and I have no doubt that at this point, Stoller would be able to take those ideas that they'e discussed and execute them quite ably.
The big news here is that Disney feels good enough about the performance of "The Muppets" to officially start development on a sequel. I think it's amazing that the characters have finally made their pop culture comeback in a way that stuck, and I hope this is the beginning of a real return to the sort of omnipresence they had when I was a kid in the '70s.
Look, there's a lot more material aimed at families now than there was when I was young, and I'm sort of shocked sometimes at the cascade of media that targets my kids. While I think I'm raising smart media consumers, I recognize that the way their diet works is very different than it was for me as a kid, and I have to accept that it's a much larger part of their life than it was for me. As a result, I just want to see that there are choices out there I feel great about offering them. Not things that I begrudgingly accept or that I have to just be okay with, but things that I think add real value to their lives, in terms of both entertainment and the values represented. The Muppets had become a sort of karaoke machine, doing The Muppets version of "Treasure Island" or The Muppets version of "A Christmas Carol" or the Muppets version of "Wizard Of Oz." With the movie, Stoller and Segel and Bobin brought them back to what they used to be, and I am confident that if they end up making the sequel, it'll be more of the same, if not better.
Besides, the door is open for Segel to return as Gary, and my guess is that if he does make the film with Bobin and Stoller, he'll have a hand in the final shape of the film. It's unavoidable if he's working with this team. There's just too great a sense of collaboration involved.
"The Muppets" arrives on home video March 20th. I cannot wait.