Over the years other popular shows such as "SpongeBob SquarePants" and "The Simpsons," even a few Pixar films, have used Muppet influences, but no one has mined their vein of "kind comedy." For this "Muppet" movie, Segel created a new character, Walter, a Muppet he developed while learning the Muppet rules forged by Henson, who died in 1990.
"The big one was, you never mention the word 'puppet' or allude to the fact that they are puppets," Segel said. "They explained to us that that gets really complicated for a kid to understand that Walter is a puppet but Kermit is a frog and Miss Piggy's a pig -- they are not puppets, you know?"
"The Muppets" premieres on Nov. 23, and will bring the same old joyfulness that has always made them lovable to a new generation.
"All of their jokes are good-natured and pure and kind," Segel said. "I like to think that part of what's so magical about the Muppets is that they remind us of the best version of ourselves."