An untitled Fraggle Rock movie has been in development by The Jim Henson Company since 2005. The proposed film was planned to "take Gobo, Wembley, Mokey, Boober and Red on an adventure outside of Fraggle Rock where they will interact with the strange beings in 'outer space' (also known as humans)."
The Weinstein Company formerly partnered with the Henson Company to produce and distribute the film. Cory Edwards, the writer and director of the 2005 animated film Hoodwinked!, was announced as the writer and director for the Fraggle Rock film in May 2008. Edwards kept a blog about the process, and began writing about his frustrations with the project in mid-2009. In June 2010, Edwards announced that the Weinstein Company is looking for a replacement screenwriter, claiming that he's been told that his script is "not edgy enough." In 2011, the deal fell through with Weinstein.
In 2011, following the loss of the Weinstein deal, New Regency announced that they had acquired the rights to produce the film. In May 2012, new writers for the project were announced. Brian Henson mentioned in a Variety interview in March 2014 that the Fraggle movie was "still in development".
When asked about the project at a Q&A event in May 2015, Brian Henson commented that the project was "in script development," adding that there's "a lot of enthusiasm, but it still really in script development." When asked why the decision to to revisit the world of the Fraggles as a film as opposed to reviving it as a TV series, Henson responded: "I don't know that I have a good answer to that, other than I have a sister named Lisa, and she and I make a lot of these kind of decisions, and I think she was more enthusiastic about making it a movie, but yes, you could definitely go either way."
In a May 2006 interview, Brian Henson said, "Yes, we are writing a Fraggle Rock movie and trying to pull it together." Henson said that fans should expect the movie "to do something that sort of stands next to the Fraggle Rock series rather than be a continuation of the show."
The Jim Henson Company confirmed in an October 2006 press release that the movie was "in the works". The press release also stated that "the treatment is being written by author Ahmet Zappa (The Monstrous Memoirs of a Mighty McFearless)."
Zappa discussed his plans for the treatment in a December 2006 interview with MTV.com. Zappa said at that time the filmmakers were planning to release the movie in late 2008 or early 2009, and said that "the Fraggles need to be here sooner, rather than later."
Weinstein Co. deal
In May 2008, Henson announced that the Weinstein Company would distribute the Fraggle Rock film. The announcement also said that Cory Edwards, the writer and director of the 2005 animated film Hoodwinked!, was attached as the Fraggle film's writer and director. The press release listed Brian Henson, Jason Lust, Lisa Henson and Eric Robinson as producers, with Ahmet Zappa and Brian Inerfeld as executive producers.
Lisa Henson commented on the partnership: "Our previous partnership with the Weinstein Company has proven to be a wonderful collaboration and we are confident that joining with them on this project will ensure audiences young and old will enjoy meeting Red, Gobo and the whole Fraggle gang. With Cory Edwards directing, this new Fraggle adventure will bring an exciting energy while honoring the heart, joy and hope of the original series."
In the Henson Company press release, Edwards said:
Screenwriter Cory Edwards has been writing about his progress on the film on his personal blog, "Cory's Curiosities".
In March 2009, Edwards discussed the plans for the movie's soundtrack:
He also discussed Henson's concerns about the script:
In June 2009, Edwards wrote about the continuing delays in getting the project greenlighted:
Edwards added that he is currently working on pitches for other movies.
In September 2009, Edwards wrote that he is continuing to have meetings with studio executives and financing partners. While he said "I remain optimistic", he acknowledged frustration with the slow progress of the negotiations. He also clarified that Henson is not the source of the delay:
In December 2009, Entertainment Weekly posted a blurb about the Fraggle Rock movie, quoting Edwards:
In April 2010, Edwards wrote about the production's holdup and once again restated that the script is good and that the Henson Company is not the source of the delay:
In May 2010, Cory Edwards was interviewed by the Muppet Mindset about the Fraggle Rock movie. Edwards mentioned that Karen Prell and Dave Goelz would be reprising their roles as Red Fraggle and Boober Fraggle. He added that most of the cast members were having health problems, which could mean recasting.
In June 2010, Edwards posted on his blog that the Weinstein Company "have begun the search for a new writer, presumably to rewrite my entire script from scratch." Edwards expressed concern and frustration about the process: "This is happening behind my back, without consulting me or even asking my opinion... The only overall note coming from the studio is this: 'Not edgy enough.'"
Rejecting the word "edgy", Edwards declared: "I have said repeatedly that I will do my very best to make this Fraggle movie relevant and modern, to compete with everything else out there. But what I will NOT do is sabotage what made the property beloved in the first place... Perhaps this [blog post] will get the studio to pick up the phone and actually engage me again." Later that month, Edwards reported he had spoken to the company about the script, and was given some changes they had requested.
Edwards revealed in an Entertainment Weekly interview in May 2011 that the project is no longer in development with Weinstein: "I had heard for months now that it's all but dead. But I have heard recently that it's not even with the Weinstein Company anymore. They've let that option go. Which means that it's up to the Jim Henson Company, what they want to do with it. My deal was with the Weinstein Company, so we'll see if anybody wants to make a deal with me to direct again. I wrote a script that the Weinstein Company owns, so in a way I'm disappointed that that project didn't happen. But as I've said on my blog, I think we all need to remember that it's also good that a bad [movie] didn't happen. If the elements weren't right, and the studio wasn't onboard with my vision, then I'm happy that it didn't go forward, because it could have been a disaster and fans would have been angry. So my answer is that it's in a deep, deep coma and it sounds like it's up to the Jim Henson Company how they want to proceed. I know they like me and I love the Fraggles, so we'll see."
New Regency deal
In October 2011, the company New Regency announced that they had bought the rights to produce the film from The Jim Henson Company. Regency Enterprises has produced films such as Free Willy, Macaulay Culkin's The Nutcracker, Pushing Tin, Fight Club, The Onion Movie, the Alvin & the Chipmunks movies, and Marmaduke.
On May 30, 2012, it was announced that Jim Byrkit and Alex Manugian were signed to write the screenplay. Byrkit was a writer and storyboarder for Academy Award-winning animated feature Rango (and voiced the characters Waffles, Gordy and Papa Joad); Manugian also worked on Rango (and voiced the character Spoons). In 2014, Ivan Reitman (director of the Ghostbusters films) was attached as a producer, but it was later noted that he and his production company, Montecito Pictures, were no longer involved on the project.
After nearly two years of inactivity, Brian Henson briefly talked about the film's progress in a March 2014 Variety interview:
On March 19, 2015, it was announced that Joseph Gordon-Levitt would be attached to the project as a producer and star. Levitt says,
In July 2018, Gordon-Levitt reported on Twitter that conversations about the movie were still ongoing. In response to the question "Any update on the Fraggle Rock movie?" Gordon-Levitt posted: "Just had a meeting about it the other day. Movies take a long goddamn time. Wait should I not say goddamn in the context of Fraggle Rock? I guess I shouldn’t. Sorry Wembley."
By June 2020, Gordon-Levitt was quoted that the movie wasn't happening, mentioning the new show with Apple TV+: "There’s so many projects that are in development. Some get into the press for some reason and some don’t. We all spend lots and lots of time working on lots and lots of things that don’t become real. This was one of those."
- "Jim Henson Company at 50" The Hollywood Reporter, Ray Richmond. September 20, 2005.
- "Fraggle Rock is Coming to the Big Screen!" (HTML version), The Jim Henson Company press release. May 12, 2008.
- 'Fraggle Rock' Movie Gets a Pair of Writers The Hollywood Reporter, Borys Kit. May 30, 2012.
- Brian Henson on His New Reality Show, the ‘Fraggle Rock’ Movie and More, Variety, March 25, 2014.
- "Brian Henson on Dark Crystal 2 and More", Now Playing Magazine, Fred Topel. May, 2006.
- "THE RUMORS ARE TRUE! Fraggle Rock Feature is in the Works!", (HTML version) The Jim Henson Company press release. October 19, 2006.
- "Celeb Cameos, New Songs: Ahmet Zappa Says Fraggle Flick Will Rock", MTV.com, Larry Carroll. December 7, 2006.
- Edwards, Cory. "Big Notes vs. Small Notes", Cory's Curiosities. March 16, 2009.
- "Pushing the Boulder Up the Hill", Cory's Curiosities. June 29, 2009.
- Lewinski, John Scott. "Farscape cast, creators reunite to to celebrate DVD - Comic-Con Report", TV Squad. July 25, 2009.
- "Let the Meetings Play, Down at Fraggle Rock", Cory's Curiosities. September 30, 2009.
- Collis, Clark. "Get ready to Rock: The Fraggles hit the big screen", Entertainment Weekly. December 4, 2009.
- "Nagging Questions", Cory's Curiosities. April 28, 2010.
- "'Edgy' Alert", Cory's Curiosities. June 14, 2010.
- "'Hoodwinked!' writer-director launches world's 'first episodic Twitter series': 'Roger Cosmonkey'", EW.com. May 16, 2011.
- New Regency Lands ‘Fraggle Rock’ Feature Rights Auction, Deadline.com, October 28, 2011
- Henson Co. Busy With Wide-Ranging Slate of Film, TV and Theater Projects, Variety, March 11, 2014
- Joseph Gordon-Levitt Starring in ‘Fraggle Rock’ Movie (EXCLUSIVE), Variety, March 19, 2015.
- Twitter post by hitRECordJoe, July 28 2018.
- Lang, Bret. "Joseph Gordon-Levitt on Returning to Movies With His Greatest Acting Challenge Yet." Variety. June 17, 2020
- Cory's Curiosities - Cory Edwards' blog