Here is Why The Muppet Babies Isn’t on Disney+





Since Disney+ launched four years ago, several classic Disney films and series have joined the platform, such as Dinosaurs and Bear in the Big Blue House. One popular series, The Muppet Babies, is still missing, and Jim Henson cartoonist Guy Gilchrist says the reason stems from copyright and trademark issues.

The success of The Muppet Babies is in large part due to collaborative efforts between talents across studios, a tradition that has since fallen out of fashion in the entertainment industry. The show weaved in clips from content in the public domain, but also Raiders of the Lost Ark and Star Wars

At the L.A. Comic Con, Gilchrist explained the difficulties of getting permission to stream The Muppet Babies.

“Back in those days, everyone loved us,” said Gilchrist, according to DisneyPlus Informer. “We didn’t fill out forms, request, this or that. We basically did whatever we wanted to do with the blessing of all of the studios. These days, things are owned by Disney, Universal… and there’s not the comraderies at the creative level that we had in the eighties.”

Several big names, including George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, worked on the series through partnerships, collaborations, and malfunctioning puppets. 

“Jim was very good with George Lucas,” said Gilchrist. “George came in and worked on Labyrinth with Jim, and that was not their first collaboration… they were across the street from each other. Jim was filming The Muppets, and George was doing Star Wars across the street. Yoda didn’t work, so Jim, Frank, and Kathy Mullen fixed Yoda. Then, Steven Spielberg was also a very dear friend of Jim’s, and Jim fixed E.T. because E.T. didn’t work.”

The group effort created a wonderful show that entertained audiences through the remnants of the last century. The series was a spin-off of The Muppets Take Manhattan. It debuted on CBS in 1984 and ran for eight seasons. Fans still want to watch The Muppet Babies, but the only version available to stream is the reboot on Disney+.

Although studios worked together in the past with great success, licensing issues due to the series using clips from other studios will keep it out of the streaming realm for the foreseeable future.

“I know how much you guys love the Babies and would love to have them back,” said Gilchrist. “But I don’t really know a way that that will ever happen. It’s copyrights and trademarks and that sort of thing, unfortunately.”

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