With Fraggle Rock and a Muppets sequel on the way, it’s clear that last year’s return to the big screen benefited the Jim Henson Company well. It seems there’s certainly a big screen future for the famous puppets that a new generation has now grown to love, and it seems now more than ever there is a future for the characters in theaters. However, in a day full of Muppet news, not only will one other Henson property be coming to the big screens after an over 10 year absence, but a new series may be hopping across the pond. But, with the news of success, it may just mean we’ll have to wait in order to see Kermit and the gang once more.
First up, it seems as if The Muppets 2 may be delayed from the incredibly optimistic 2013 release date. Director and co-writer James Bobin has joined New Line Cinema to direct the upcoming spy adaptation Agent Zigzag. Produced by Tom Hanks under his Playtone Pictures banner, with a script written by Mark Bomback, the film follows “the true story of Eddie Chapman, a professional criminal who won the trust of German intelligence services during WWII even as he reported back to the spymasters of Britain’s MI5″.
However, there is some hope for fans wanting their Muppets fix. It’s said that it is ultimately unclear if Agent Zigzag will be Bobin’s next film due to the unknown development stance ofThe Muppets 2. A script went underway in April between Bobin and Nicholas Stoller, with Disney even going as far as to confirming and unveiling a logo for the sequel during CinemaCon. While word has gone out the film could begin to roll for a release sometime next year, nothing has been confirmed. [Variety]
Meanwhile across the pond, the Jim Henson Company will actually be seeking to expand their small screen reach. Working with BBC, a new pilot is currently in development called No Strings Attached, which would serve as a comedy series for the hit broadcaster. The series, if picked up of course, would introduce a whole new slew of puppets created by the Henson workshop, and would feature two celebrities every week joining the creatures in Muppet-like sketches and games.
Brian Henson would lead the team of puppeteers along with an executive producing role, while Danny Baker would be the head of the writing team that would comprise the material seen on screen every week. BBC and Henson Company will co-produce the pilot, and its likely that if it is successful in the U.K. reruns will air on BBC America at a later date. [EW]
Finally, for perhaps the biggest news of all, Sesame Street may be returning to the big screen for the first time in 13 years. In the history of the revolutionary children’s program, the franchise has only dealt out two true Sesame Street theatrical features: Follow That Bird! in 1985 and The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland in 1999. Now, 20th Century Fox has picked up the rights to develop an all-new film for Sesame Street that will be produced by Shawn Levy (Real Steel, Night at the Mueseum).
No director is yet attached, but a script is already in the process of being writen by Joey Mazzarino. Mazzarino co-wrote Grouchland back in 1999, and is an actor/muppeteer for the Jim Henson Company. With Mazzarino’s involvement, it’s likely that Sesame Workshop will be in a producing capacity, though no confirmation from they nor Fox has yet surfaced. As to when exactly the project is aiming for principal photography is currently unclear. [THR]