Longtime Jim Henson collaborator Frank Oz says that Disney just "does not get The Muppets". The iconic Oz voiced Bert, Miss Piggy, Grover, Animal, and Sam Eagle for The Muppets from 1963 to 2004, which would lead one to believe that he knows a thing or two about how Jim Henson envisioned the characters and their rebellious spirit. The Muppets were taken over by Disney in 2004 and many believe that since then, the true spirit of what Henson always had in mind vanished from the beloved characters.
In a new interview, Frank Oz goes out of his way to say that he's not "knocking" Disney and adds that he's never been asked for any input regarding The Muppets in any way. He clearly doesn't have a problem with Disney since he reprised his role of Yoda for The Last Jedi. But when it comes to The Muppets, something has been missing since Disney took control. Oz explains.
"As much as Disney loves The Muppets and wants the best for The Muppets, and they truly believe they can do it, they don't get it... They don't get the true rebellion and true affection underneath those characters."
Going back to the fact that he'd never been asked for any input, 73-year old Frank Oz believes that The Muppets would be better if Disney listened to the performers. Oz went on to champion the performers behind-the-scenes who bring Jim Henson's creations to life. Oz truly believes that The Muppets would be more successful if Disney listened to the crew behind-the-scenes. He had this to say.
"They've never asked me, and they have not asked the performers how to do it. If they just did that, the performers are so brilliant, instead of an outside person, let the performers lead. Then it would be a whole different deal."
This isn't the first time that the subject of Disney not "getting" The Muppets and their spirit has been brought up in the last year. Steve Whitmire voiced Kermit the Frog from 1990 to 2016 and was let go by Disney for having a difference in opinion to a storyline on the show. Disney claims it was over "inappropriate business," while Whitmire claims that it's because, "I have insight into their limitations with respect to how well they know The Muppets." Steve Whitmire had worked with The Muppets since the late 1970s and was personally asked to take on the role of Kermit after Jim Henson passed away.
Steve Whitmire was fired from The Muppets reboot show that failed miserably and has since left a bad taste in the mouths of fans and the crew who have worked with the characters for, so long. Disney has set their sights on a reboot of the Muppet Babies cartoon, which will debut on Disney Channel on March 23rd. You can read the rest of what Frank Oz had to say about Disney and The Muppets over at The Hollywood Reporter.