Walter is a Muppet character first introduced in The Muppets.
Walter lives with his brother Gary, and both of them are huge Muppet fans. He is sweet, slightly naive, and lacking self-confidence. In the film, Walter and Gary set out to reunite the Muppets to help save Muppet Studios.
Entertainment Weekly described the character in a November 2010 article:
“Meet the newest member of the Muppet repertory company: Walter, a sweet, slightly naive twenty-something Everypuppet who, in the movie, is the best friends and roommate of Segel's character, Gary. Both Gary and Walter are die-hard Muppet fans. "Walter is the kind of guy who faints when he sees Kermit," Bobin says. Of course, Walter's Muppet fandom is complicated by the fact that he is a Muppet himself. "Walter has a bit of a self-confidence issue because he's the only person like him that he's seen aside from the Muppets," Segel explains. "His dream is to meet the Muppets and be around people who are like him." When Gary and Walter learn that The Muppet Theatre is in danger of being torn down, they set out to save it by reuniting Kermit, Piggy and the entire troupe to stage an old-fashioned extravaganza.”
Disney's official description of Walter from October 12, 2011, revealed that he and Gary are brothers:
“With his Kermit t-shirt and watch, Walter is a devoted fan of the Muppets. The lifelong resident of Smalltown, USA, dreams of meeting his heroes one day, and feels that — just maybe — he belongs with them. So when brother Gary and his girlfriend Mary plan a trip to Los Angeles, Walter joins them with hopes of realizing his dream once and for all.
The role marks the big-screen debut for Walter, and one seemingly written for him. “I play Walter, the world’s biggest Muppet fan,” says the star, “which is a real coincidence, since I happen to be the world’s biggest Muppet fan and my name is Walter. It’s like I was made to play this part.”
Walter finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time — or is it the right time? — when he overhears evil oil baron Tex Richman discussing a plot to destroy Muppet Studios. With the help of Gary and Mary, it’s Walter who sets the plan in motion to reunite the Muppets and save the studio. His pure-hearted enthusiasm for all things Muppets just might save more than the studio, too.”
Walter was named after the first puppet Jason Segel ever owned. In an interview at the World Premiere, Walter claims he was swimming laps at the Beverly Hills Hilton when a talent scout discovered him for the role (he was the only person he could find 18'' tall).
Disney paid Walter roughly the same amount as 67 movie tickets.
The script only specified that Walter had the look of “an old dishrag” and wore a blue suit. Puppet Heap Workshop president Paul Andrejco drew 14 possible Walters, and later, 25 different combinations of color and fabric texture.
In an interview with Film Journal International, director James Bobin spoke on Walter's design:
“We based Walter’s design on the same one they used for Kermit—he’s basically a hand puppet with a more advanced mouth. That design gives the puppeteer’s hand maximum freedom of movement, so with the smallest amount of finger change, he or she can create a huge range of expressions. With a few flicks of his left finger, Peter can make Walter look incredibly different all the time and because the camera is close enough in, you swear you can hear this puppet thinking and that conveys the emotion of the movie.”
Six puppeteers were considered for the role of Walter during an audition process, among them were Kevin Clash, Joey Mazzarino, Matt Vogel, and Bill Barretta, but the part ultimately went to Peter Linz.
Life in photographs
A bookending theme in The Muppets are the photographs taken throughout Walter's journey:
- The Muppets
- Lady Gaga & the Muppets' Holiday Spectacular
- Muppets Most Wanted
- Disney Drive-On with The Muppets
- The Muppets 2015 Presentation Pilot
- Muppet Thought of the Week
- The Muppets Take the Bowl
- The Muppets Take the O2
- Facebook Portal commercials
- The Disney Family Singalong: Volume II
- Muppets Now
- Jake's Takes (November 5, 2011; online)
- Google+ Hangout (November 7, 2011)
- The Muppets World Premiere (November 12, 2011)
- Disney 365
- Dancing with the Stars (November 15, 2011)
- Star Movies: VIP Access (November 15, 2011)
- Attack of the Show! (November 17, 2011)
- Kevin McCarthy's Nerd Tears (November 21, 2011)
- Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (November 21, 2011, February 7, 2014)
- Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Web Video: Walter at the NBC Pipes (November 22, 2011)
- Mark at the Movies (November 26, 2011)
- Made in Hollywood (November 26, 2011)
- Omelete (November 30, 2011)
- Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (December 22, 2011)
- Good Morning America (March 13, 2012, March 14, 2014)
- Talk Nerdy (March 14, 2012)
- MTV News (March 14, 2012)
- Entertainment Tonight (March 19, 2012)
- The Hollywood Walk of Fame (March 20, 2012)
- Entertainment Weekly (March 21, 2012)
- Just for Laughs (July 26, 2012)
- "All I Need is Love" video (November 26, 2012)
- Hilarity for Charity (April 6, 2018)
- The Late Late Show with James Corden (June 26, 2020)
- Although Walter appeared in the presentation pilot, he did not appear on The Muppets. When asked, Bill Barretta explained, "Well, Walter, you know, when we first started the show, I think there were certain ideas about what the show would be about and certain jobs or certain places for certain characters. I think at the moment this first season I would say, Walter was just kind of someone that we felt, you know, I guess didn’t have a place yet in this arena." Aside from "Kodachrome", Walter didn't make any appearances for two years. He made his first new appearance on the 4th episode of Muppet Thought of the Week.
- According to a March 2012 interview with the PBS YouTube channel "It's My Life", Jason Segel is just Walter's cousin, but he does have older brothers in real life.
- Walter revealed in a 2018 Facebook post that he needs to pay a monthly fee to maintain friendship with Miss Piggy.
- Rottenberg, Josh. Entertainment Weekly. First Look: Exclusive Sneak Peek at the New Muppet Movie. November 12, 2010.
- Nightline's interview with Jason Segel
- "The newest Muppet is a geek", CNN Geek Out, December 7th, 2011.
- Talk Nerdy
- Brooks Barnes, "Wocka, Wocka, Wocka! Muppet Antics Resume", New York Times, November 16, 2011.
- Muppet mania: James Bobin guides return of Kermit & Co. Alter, Ethen. October 26, 2011
- Linz, Peter. Dragon Con (2012)
- Baretta, Bill therebelchick.com interview 12/1/2015
- YouTube "It's My Life interviews Kermit and Walter from The Muppets" Mar 16, 2012
- Walter's Facebook page May 6, 2018