The first Lego minifigs based on The Muppets are coming, and thanks to online toy watchers, fans have their first look at the pop culture icons in full Lego glory. A new collection of The Muppets blind bags are reportedly on the way, with Lego minifigs of 12 different Muppets characters randomly distributed throughout. At this point, there is no word on a Lego playset for the Muppets, so you may have to make do with constructing a makeshift stage, or using the Swedish Chef in an unrelated kitchen set, but it's hard to argue when you get more Muppets.
Per 9 to 5 Toys (via our friends at Tough Pigs), there will be 12 minifigs made in the initial wave of Muppets characters. The characters we know are coming are Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie, Gonzo, Bunsen, Beaker, Animal, Janis, Rolf, the Swedish Chef, Statler, and Waldorf.
Each character has an accessory specific to them, ranging from Kermit's banjo and Gonzo's beloved chicken Camilla to a decidedly contemporary take on Statler, who has his laptop and seems to be watching Muppets Now. As an Easter egg, the image on his screen features the only Lego appearance of Scooter, who serves as the line producer in Muppets Now and whose job is to keep the talent moving and make sure everything goes as seamlessly as he can.
That modernity is offset a little by Waldorf, who is carrying the 'ZZZ" sign from the Diana Ross episode of the classic Muppet Show.
The Lego minifigs will reportedly retail for $4.99, and will go on sale starting May 1.
At its height, The Muppet Show was playing all over the world, and seen by an estimated 200 million-plus people per week, at a time when there was no delayed viewing; audiences had to make it their business to sit down and watch at the anointed time.
The Muppet Show was followed by The Muppet Movie, which was also a colossal commercial success. The sequels created during Henson's life varied in quality and return on investment, but all of them were seen as some kind of success, and The Muppets remained one of the biggest success stories in popular culture for years.
In the time since the Disney acquisition, The Muppets Studio has released The Muppets' Wizard of Oz, 2011's The Muppets, and about a dozen projects that ranged from flops to minor/moderate successes in TV, film, and home video. There not only isn't a Jim Henson at the helm, but there appears to be nobody there providing meaningful quality control outside of the Muppet performers themselves -- and often, the best they can do is turning in a great performance for some questionable material.
Meanwhile, Disney+ aborted plans last year to have Josh Gad co-write a six-part The Muppets Live Again miniseries for Disney+. The project, which was an '80s-set sequel to The Muppets Take Manhattan, was cancelled by Disney after creative differences drove Gad and his co-writers away. That pitch, which had longtime Muppets fans excited, seems to touch on something fundamental that Disney has failed to grasp in many of their previous efforts: unlike Star Wars and Marvel, Disney's Muppets history is littered with examples of fixing things that aren't broken, ultimately weakening the brand.
Arguably the biggest money-maker Disney has had from The MuppetsStudio since 2011 has been Muppet Babies, Disney Jr.'s animated series, which is essentially a faithful clone of the original animated series of the same name, just with the jokes, the situations, and the animation style updated for the time of production. That series wrapped its three-season run last week.