Veteran Director, ‘Muppeteer’ Frank Oz says Disney no longer wants him with The Muppets

You don’t have to be a huge Muppets fan to have heard the name “Frank Oz.”

That’s because while his career definitely includes a lot of Muppet mayhem, it has also spanned roughly 60 years and includes his work as a film director in The Dark Crystal, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Little Shop of Horrors, What About Bob, The Indian in the Cupboard, The Stepford Wives and others.

Credit: Disney

Oz himself brought Master Yoda to life years ago with his puppeteering abilities, and in the last few years, Oz has worked on other Star Wars projects, like Star Wars: The Last Jedi. But, interestingly enough, Oz was not consulted at all about the development of the character Grogu (aka “Baby Yoda) in Jon Favreau’s The Mandalorian series on Disney+.

And for all his accomplishments, Frank Oz says that Disney doesn’t want him participating anymore with The Muppets. 

“I’d love to do the Muppets again, but Disney doesn’t want me,” Oz explained in a recent interview. “They don’t want me because I won’t follow orders, and I won’t do the kind of Muppets they believe in.”

Oz was only 19 years old when he began working with Jim Henson in New York in 1963.

“The Disney deal made [Henson] sick,” Oz said, speaking of talks between Jim Henson and Disney about a deal that wouldn’t materialize until years after Henson passed away.

Credit: Disney

Frank Oz says that after Disney purchased the Muppets, he quickly saw a change in the kind of content that was being produced.

“There was a demarcation line between the Jim Henson Muppets and the Disney Muppets,” he explained. “[Disney] never understood, with us, it’s not just about the puppets; it’s about the performers who love each other and have worked together for many years.”

Oz says he can’t even watch The Muppets anymore.

“The soul’s not there,” he said. “The soul is what makes things grow and be funny. But I miss them and love them.”

About Becky Burkett

I'm an enthusiastic writer who finds joy in random things like cold weather, snow, "I Love Lucy," "The Andy Griffith Show," journals full of blank paper, countdowns to Christmas, the month of December, "Toy Story," "Sleeping Beauty," my 4 kids, my 4 shih tsus, Disney Parks history, Imagineering and visiting the parks. I think Walt Disney is the standard against which genius should be measured. I love to write about Disney Parks, Disney history, all things Imagineering and PIXAR. I adore the colors, story and art direction of Disney's "Sleeping Beauty" (Team Make it Blue!), and "Toy Story" is life (minus "Toy Story 4"). I believe Walt Disney was so much more than an entertainment and theme park tycoon; I believe he was a savant with a vision for life and how it could be if happiness and kindness are strived for. I love Biergarten at EPCOT and 1900 Park Fare at Disney's Grand Floridian. You can find me croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room, chillin' on the PeopleMover or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. I'm always looking for Imagineers in the parks, and I'd rather meet Joe Rohde and Tony Baxter than anyone in Hollywood! Hey, if you dream it, you really can do it!