James Bobin’s relaunch of Jim Henson’s fuzzy felt creations, The Muppets, was one of the big success stories of 2011. It proved that The Muppets could still be box office draws, it won over fans who had loved The Muppets for years and were initially skeptical of whether it could be good, and it made a whole new crop of Muppets fans out of kids meeting the characters for the first time.
A big reason for the film’s success was that it featured great songs like “Life’s a Happy Song” and “Man Or Muppet,” which were not only good enough to be put up in the pantheon of best Muppets songs ever written, but were also good enough to win their composer, Flight of the Conchords’ Bret McKenzie, an Oscar for Best Original Song (and they were also catchy enough that you’ll probably be humming them for the rest of the day now that you’ve been reminded of them).
So Collider’s recent report that McKenzie is going to be taking time out of his busy schedule playing Lindir in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit movies to write new songs for the Muppets sequel should be viewed as joyous news, indeed. According to Collider’s report, filming on the new Muppets movie – which is a Europe-set caper film co-written by Bobin and Nicholas Stoller – is scheduled to begin in London in late January, and in addition to bringing McKenzie back for more music, it’s also rumored to be adding a new Muppet character or two to the crew, and it should be adding new human names (in addition to the already-announced Christoph Waltz) to its cast very shortly.
Initially it was a pretty big bummer that Muppets star and co-writer Jason Segel wasn’t going to be on board for this sequel, but it’s starting to look like all of the other elements that made the 2011 relaunch a success are still coming together quite nicely in his absence. Sucks for Segel. Dude seems to be missing out on a pretty wicked party.