The Hollywood Reporter first reported that Josh Gad and “Once Upon a Time” creative team of Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis are walking away from a Muppets-centered series at Disney+ titled “Muppets Live Another Day,” with Gad chiming in on Instagram about what the project really was and what went wrong. (Please keep in mind that this project was never officially announced and the non-scripted Muppets short form series “Muppets Now” is still a go for Disney+.)
According to the Hollywood Reporter, tensions arose after a leadership change at Muppet Studios. Newly installed VP David Lightbody, a veteran of Disney Parks Live Entertainment and the person responsible for the popular Muppet show at Epcot, supposedly wanted to do his own take on the Muppets material and so he scrapped Gad, Horowitz and Kitsis’ ambitious, 8-episode project, internally dubbed “Muppets 1984.” Lightbody offered the trio a chance to work on a new Muppets project, but instead they chose to walk away.
Gad took to Instagram to further explain things, noting that the project featured brand new songs by the Oscar-winning duo of Bobby and Kristen Lopez and was going to be directed by “Avenue Q” director Jason Moore. It was set to take place a year after the events of “Muppets Take Manhattan” and “was essentially about what happens after you’ve reached the end of the rainbow.” Gad said that it was meant to feel like a movie stretched across a limited number of episodes and, more curiously, was going to be “Muppets by way of ‘Stranger Things.’” Gad continued: “By placing the Muppets in the middle of the 1980’s, was to subvert and comment on our current love for all things nostalgia while at the same time allowing the characters to tell a story that would ultimately lead to an end in present day, revealing some secrets along the way.”
The general tone of Gad’s post was positive and not at all angry (which, given that they’d been working on the project for almost 2 years, would have been more than reasonable), and the big takeaway was that he wants folks to be able to hear Bobby and Kristen’s undoubtedly amazing new songs. One day, Josh, one day …