The Muppet Christmas Carol remains a much-loved festive classic, but now there’s even more to enjoy. A previously lost song is being restored to the movie – though it might not arrive on Disney Plus in time for Christmas.
As reported by the BBC (opens in new tab), a ballad called "When Love Is Gone" was removed from the film as Disney thought its maturity wouldn’t be enjoyable for younger viewers. The song was originally meant to play as Scrooge is taken back in time by the ghost of Christmas Past, when Scrooge and his fiancée Belle end their relationship as, predictably, the notorious workaholic is prioritising his job.
Director Brian Henson, son of Muppets creator Jim Henson, explained to BBC Radio 2 why a love ballad didn't feel like a good fit in the film: “Because there is no loving relationship that we can celebrate in that movie… So the love ballad is when Belle is leaving Scrooge.”
Jeffrey Katzenberg, a producer on the film, thought the song too "sophisticated emotionally" for its young audience.
Henson reflected: "So I reluctantly agreed [to remove the song] because he said: 'If you say you're not going to do it, you don't have to do it', and I was like: 'Well now, darn it, I guess I will because you want me to'. The agreement was we would remove it from the theatrical release but then put it back in for all of the television and video releases from then on."
But Henson has now revealed that the song, once thought lost, will be added back to the film. Though the ballad remained on VHS copies of the movie, it didn’t make it to DVDs – and the video master and negative were missing.
However, when Henson went to view the 4K remaster of The Muppet Christmas Carol, he was surprised that the song had been found and restored. "I was so excited. They actually hid it... so I went down and they said: 'But before we show it to you, we've got something else we want to show you'. And they put up reel four of Christmas Carol with 'When Love Is Gone'. I was like, 'No, you did not!' and they said, 'Yes we did! We found it!' I was so happy, I was so happy.”
He added: "They are all set with the full-length version again. I don't know if they are going to get it up on Disney Plus in time for Christmas because they have all these processes but it is coming back, the full-length version is coming back."
Here’s hoping that, if we don’t get "When Love Is Gone" this Christmas Present, we might get it in a Christmas Yet to Come (AKA, next year). For now, check out our roundup of the 35 best Christmas films to watch this season.