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'The Muppets': Sneak peek at D23!

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Miss Piggy
Todd Wawrtchuk/D23 Expo

In addition to showing off The Avengers, Wreck-It Ralph, and announcing two new original Pixar movies on Saturday, Disney also gave D23 Expo attendees a sneak peek of November’s The Muppets reboot. On hand at the Anaheim Convention Center was star/co-writer/producer/all-around good guy Jason Segel, plus special guests Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy.

First, Segel and Kermit were introduced, with the two sitting on a pair of film director’s chairs. A random guy in the audience shouted, “I love you, Kermit!” and Kermit raised his green arm and promptly responded, “I love you, too!” Moments later, a woman screamed, “I love you, Jason!” Segel thanked the fan and replied, “I look forward to meeting you in person someday.”

Piggy, naturally, was running late. While waiting for her to arrive, Segel and Kermit realized, to their horror, that the clips they were about to show the D23 crowd did not feature Piggy. Enter Piggy, who was driven onstage while sitting in a motorcycle sidecar. Once Piggy learned that she wasn’t part of the D23 footage, well, she wasn’t too pleased. “Where’s [chairman of Walt Disney Studios] Rich Ross?” shouted Piggy as she stormed off the stage. Then we were shown two clips from the film, which I’ll discuss below. Minor SPOILERS ahead:

Clip #1: Gary (Segel), his girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams), and their Muppet buddy Walter are driving around Bel Air, Calif. at night, trying to locate the home of Kermit. They finally find it: a deserted-looking mansion with a driveway fence that has the faces of Kermit and Miss Piggy painted on it. There’s no doorbell, so Walter asks Gary to throw him over the fence. But Gary fails to toss Walter high enough, and the fence that Walter slams into winds up being electrocuted — clearly Kermit and Piggy have encountered enough stalkers to warrant such an elaborate security system.

Suddenly, Kermit appears on the driveway behind Gary, Mary, and Walter. As Kermit walks toward the trio, he’s silhouetted by an enormously bright white light and we hear an angelic choir singing. It’s as if God himself were approaching. But seconds later, we see the source of that blinding light and Messianic music: On the street, a bus carrying members of the Good Shepherd Church Choir just happened to be driving by.

Next, we’re inside Kermit’s home with Gary, Mary, and Walter. It’s clear that Kermit has been living in the past. During the middle of a conversation, a robot butler enters the room with a tray of outdated sodas such as New Coke and Tab. Kermit asks the robot, whom he simply calls “’80s robot,” to please leave.

Clip #2: Most of the Muppets gang, plus Gary, Mary, and Walter, enter the now-defunct Muppet Theatre. The place could clearly use some sprucing up, so the Muppets start cleaning in a montage set to Starship’s 1985 hit “We Built This City.” As the group cleans, Kermit starts going through his old Rolodex, calling various celebrities with the hope that they may take part in a telethon (to presumably save the Muppet Theatre from being demolished by an oil tycoon). Again, Kermit is a bit behind the times. We see him cross off Molly Ringwald’s name, and he doesn’t get very far in trying locate President Jimmy Carter.

The Muppets, which is being directed by James Bobin (The Flight of the Conchords, Da Ali G Show), hits theaters on Nov. 23.

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