It’s been 12 years since the Muppets have appeared in theaters, and no one was more nervous about their return at the El Capitan preem than Jason Segel, the co-writer, producer and star of Disney’s “The Muppets.”

“Everyone was worried that I would ruin the Muppets with irreverent humor,” Segel said at Saturday’s dessert bar afterparty at Hollywood & Highland. “But my only goal was to bring them back to make movies and TV shows again,” adding that he wanted to pay homage to the sense of irony seen in “The Muppet Show” during the 1970s. “Nailing the tone was the most important thing,” he added, giving a nod to the Muppets’ original flair for irony.

Disney’s Rich Ross agreed, saying he viewed the film “as a referendum. We believed if we didn’t do it right we shouldn’t do it at all.” As for the question of aud interest in the Muppets’ return, Ross enthused over last week’s push (not launched by Disney) to have them host the Oscars.