The Muppet Christmas Carol Was Almost A TV Special Instead Of A Movie

At this year's D23 Expo, Brian Henson announced that his directorial debut "The Muppet Christmas Carol" would finally be coming to Disney+ in its complete and uncut form later this year. After a number of years of trying, the studio has finally found a way to properly restore the song "When Love Is Gone" to the film, so now it can be viewed the way it was originally intended.

However, "original" is a relative term in this instance because this beloved holiday classic that has become a seasonal staple for three decades was originally intended to be a TV special similar to the recent "Muppets Haunted Mansion." During the panel celebrating the film's legacy — and the new life it's about to receive thanks to this release — Henson shared the origins of what is regarded as one of the most faithful adaptations of Charles Dickens' iconic tale to date.

/Film's Dalin Rowell was on hand at the panel titled "Magic in the Air: 30 Years of The Muppet Christmas Carol," where they learned that the idea for the movie was brought to Henson by his agent, CAA founder Bill Haber. Although, Haber intended for the story to be a TV movie for ABC. Then, after Jerry Juhl (who is best known as the head writer of "The Muppet Show" and all of the "Muppets" movies from 1979 to 1999 except for "The Muppets Take Manhattan") finished the script, former Walt Disney Studios chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg got a hold of it and decided that this should be a full-blown theatrical feature instead.

When love is found

Brian Henson, Jerry Juhl, and the rest of the Jim Henson Company were initially hesitant to proceed with the project since this would be the first Muppet movie without their creator. But as Henson recounted at the retrospective panel, eventually everyone came around to Katzenberg's idea.

"[My dad, Jim Henson,] really didn't know where to go with the next Muppet movie. And then, of course, having him no longer with us, we don't even have him thinking, 'Wow, what are we going to do next with the Muppets?' We were really scared and careful. And what we realized by really embracing 'A Christmas Carol' and really creating a whole new world that wasn't our world, but has the Muppets, was the fact that we could do something very fresh and different. Then we really fell in love with it."

It's great that they did because Christmas wouldn't be complete for generations of fans without an annual viewing of "The Muppet Christmas Carol." And now with the definitive version on its way to the Mouse House's streaming service, it can actually be watched the way it was intended: on a TV (or any of your devices) and with the song "When Love Is Gone" to make everything make sense once again.

The new and improved version of "The Muppet Christmas Carol" will premiere on Disney+ on December 11, 2022, exactly 30 years after the movie's first theatrical release.