You don't normally associate Elmo with The Muppets, and so when an article popped up in The Hollywood Reporter recently about why Elmo wasn't in the new movie, some folks looked at them kind of sideways, like ... why would you even need to write such a thing -- everyone knows Elmo ain't no Muppet! But those of us who are in touch with our Muppet and Sesame Street history will know that the two have crossed paths several times over the years using the entry point of Kermit being from Sesame Street, opening the door for characters from each property to intermingle in hilariously adorable ways.
And Jason Segel, who wrote, produced and stars in The Muppets (due out next week) actually wanted to utilize characters from Sesame Street for The Muppets, asking that Elmo come onboard to star as the celebrity host the gang tries to track down for their big telethon. Segel told Ryan Seacrest recently that "a team of lawyers told us Elmo wasn't available," which is why you won't see him in the film. Seeing as Elmo is sort of what's still keeping Sesame Street popular, the character is ridiculously guarded. In a movie about Muppets making a comeback, we're not sure how Segel would've used Elmo, whose popularity has outlasted the Muppets over the years. If it was anything like how they used the celebrity they do get to host the telethon, then we can certainly see why Elmo's lawyers turned him down.
Additional note: How amusing is it that Elmo has a team of lawyers? Seacrest even jokes at the end, "Can you imagine going to law school, and that's what you're defending?"
In case you don't believe us when we say the Muppets and the Sesame Street gang have intermingled, here are a couple of videos. One is from Sesame Street and the other is from The Muppet Show.