Frank Oz, the actor and puppeteer who gave life to iconic Muppet characters Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Animal and Sam Eagle in The Muppet Show as well as Cookie Monster, Bert and Grover in Sesame Street, said he would love to work with the beloved characters again.
In 2001, actor Eric Jacobson, who was a regular performer on Sesame Street since 1994, succeeded Oz in voicing many of the same characters from The Muppets.
Oz recently revealed in an interview there was one hiccup preventing him from ever having a Muppet reunion.
"Disney doesn't want me," he told The Guardian.
Oz, who is also famously known for voicing Yoda from Star Wars, said in the teleconference interview he has not worked with The Muppets, since 2007.
He misses playing the characters he helped create with late Muppets and Sesame Street founder, Jim Henson.
He told the news outlet:
"I'd love to do the Muppets again but Disney doesn't want me, and Sesame Street hasn't asked me for 10 years. They don't want me because I won't follow orders and I won't do the kind of Muppets they believe in."
Oz added he will not watch The Muppets today.
The 77-year-old explained:
"The soul's not there. The soul is what makes things grow and be funny. But I miss them and love them."
In 2004, Michael Eisner—then the head of the Walt Disney Company—bought The Muppets but not Sesame Street because Jim Henson did not allow it.
Oz believes the stress in negotiating with Disney eventually took a toll on his colleague's health.
"The Disney deal is probably what killed Jim. It made him sick," Oz said of Henson, who at 53 died in 1990 of streptococcal toxic shock syndrome—right around the time Eisner and Henson were actively in negotiations.
"Eisner was trying to get Sesame Street, too, which Jim wouldn't allow. But Jim was not a dealer, he was an artist, and it was destroying him, it really was."
Since Disney's acquisition of The Muppets, Oz said there was a "demarcation line between the Jim Henson Muppets and the Disney Muppets"
"There's an inability for corporate America to understand the value of something they bought. They never understood, with us, it's not just about the puppets, it's about the performers who love each other and have worked together for many years."
Disney currently owns all Muppet-related trademarks, including the word, "Muppet."
Many of the Muppet/Henson titles, including all episodes of The Muppet Show, are available for streaming on Disney+.