Ed Asner never retired, as made clear by the long list of projects he left behind before his death on Aug. 29. In one of his last filmed performances, The Mary Tyler Moore Show star filmed scenes for The Muppets Haunted Mansion, a Halloween special launching on Disney+ on Oct. 8. Asner, who died at age 91, also voiced his Up character Carl in a series of Pixar shorts released on Disney+ after his death.
Muppets Haunted Mansion features the beloved Muppet characters visiting the iconic Haunted Mansion attraction on Halloween. Gonzo the Great is challenged to spend one daring night with the 999 ghosts living in the Haunted Mansion. This being a Muppet project, many of the ghosts will be played by celebrity guest stars, including Asner, as Disney announced on Tuesday.
A very special cheer to our good friend Edward Asner! Celebrate his cameo in #MuppetsHauntedMansion and more surprise guests to be revealed soon. The Original Special starts streaming October 8 on @DisneyPlus. #Hallowstream pic.twitter.com/kdovJT1ZVS— The Muppets (@TheMuppets) September 14, 2021
Disney began announcing the guest stars for the special last week. The first round included Skai Jackson, Pat Sajak, Geoff Keighley, Justina Machado and Craig Robinson. The second batch includes Jeannie Mai, Danny Trejo, Chrissy Metz, Sasheer Zamata, and Alfonso Ribeiro. Yvette Nicole Brown, John Stamos and Walt Disney Imagineering Executive Creative Director Kim Irvine will also make appearances. Hopefully there will still be some surprises when the special is finally released.
The Muppets special includes the new songs "Rest in Peace," "Life Hereafter," and "Tie the Knot Tango." Aside from Gonzo, other Muppets appearing in the special include Pepe the King Prawn, Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, and Fozzie Bear. It seems likely that Uncle Deadly will make an appearance as well.
The Haunted Mansion opened at Disneyland in 1969 and the Walt Disney World version was an opening-day attraction at Magic Kingdom in 1971. Eddie Murphy starred in the poorly-received 2003 film Haunted Mansion. A new Haunted Mansion movie is in the works, with Rosario Dawson, LaKeith Stanfield, Tiffany Haddish, and Owen Wilson starring. Justin Simien is directing from a script by Katie Dippold. Production begins next month.
Asner died at his home in Los Angeles on Aug. 29 at 91. Since he continued acting until just before his death, he has several projects coming soon. His first posthumously-released project was Dug Days, a series of Pixar shorts featuring Asner's Carl Frederickson and the dog Dug from Up. All five episodes were released on Sept. 1. Asner also appears in the upcoming movies Awaken, The Gettysburg Address, Back Home Again, A Fargo Christmas Story, and Deadly Draw.