How Did ‘The Muppets’ Originally End?

Over its first five days, The Muppets pulled in over $40 million, making it a bona-fide success for Disney. That’s in large part to the simple fact that the movie is just plain good.

Angie gave The Muppets a great review on the site and it’s still kicking at 98% on Rotten Tomatoes. But the film wasn’t always a rainbow connection. The film had several problems before, during and after production, ranging from original puppeteers not wanting to be a part of the project; current puppeteers not agreeing with character choices; and major changes to the script at almost every stage. Nowhere is that flux better illustrated than the film’s ending. In fact, the ending you now see in theaters is not how the movie originally ended.

After the jump, we’ll reveal the original ending which – of course – will force us to spoil the current ending. If you haven’t seen The Muppets yet, go do that, then come on back.

Major spoilers for The Muppets coming up.

In the film as it stands now, the Muppets come up $1 short of their fundraising goal, therefore allowing Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) full ownership of the Muppet Theater and the Muppet name. Fozzie then mistakenly reveals they were actually millions of dollars short of their goal and everyone walks out of the theater defeated. Kermit delivers a rousing speech, Hollywood Boulevard is mobbed with fans and the reprise of “Life’s a Happy Song” signals the end of the film. It’s not until the credits that Tex Richman has a change of heart (in large part due to a knock from Gonzo’s bowling ball) and gives the Muppets back their names and theater. Via newspaper headline.

If you think about it, for a Disney movie, that’s kind of downbeat and deceptive. Which is why that’s not how the movie originally ended. According to Badass Digest, the original ending was much more upbeat and sealed with a bow:

The endings diverge when the big tote board comes up one dollar short. In the released film Fozzie bumps it and we see they’re actually millions short. In the original film they’re always one dollar short, and when it looks like all hope is lost Waldorf and Statler pipe up from the balcony. “That wasn’t so bad after all,” they say, and toss down a dollar. The Muppets are victorious.

The article continues to reveal there was more backstory to the Richman character that explained his hatred of the Muppets, his “maniacal laugh” and more.

So why, exactly, did director James Bobin and Disney decide to change the ending of the film, especially one that redeems two characters who help the bad guy? I’m sure the answer will come out soon enough.For now, though, it remains a mystery.

Did you notice any other seeming plot discrepancies or holes in The Muppets? Did the ending bother you? Why do you think it was changed?

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