Walter is a humanoid Muppet introduced in the 2011 feature film The Muppets. He is sweet, slightly naive, lacking self-confidence and is a huge Muppet fan. He is one of the Muppet protagonists of the film, along with Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie, Gonzo, Scooter, and Animal.
Walter lived with his human brother Gary (played by Jason Segel), who is also a huge Muppet fan. (It can be assumed that Walter is adopted, since his and Gary's parents, briefly seen at the beginning, are shown to be humans, but this is not directly mentioned during the film.) He sets out to reunite the Muppets in order to save the Muppet Studios from destruction.
Entertainment Weekly described the character in a November 2010 article, stating: "Meet the newest member of the Muppet repertory company: Walter, a sweet, slightly naive twenty-something Everypuppet who, in the movie, is the best friend and roommate of [Jason] 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," James 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 Theater 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 reveals 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."
- ―Disney's official description of the character
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 who was 18 inches tall).
Disney paid Walter roughly the same amount as 67 movie tickets. In a 2012 interview with Talk Nerdy, Walter revealed that his last name is Blagojevich (no known relation to Rod Blagojevich]. However, he is known simply as "Walter" with the Screen Actors Guild.
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 textures.
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."
- ―James Bobin
Six puppeteers were considered for the role of Walter during an audition process, but it ended up going to Peter Linz.
Walter was born to a family in Smalltown, USA. He is unique in the family, as he is the only one that is a puppet. He has a strong bond with his brother Gary. Due to his "condition", he has been shunned his whole life (and he can't grow any taller either). He then discovered The Muppet Show, which gave him hope in life. He stated that he was their "Number one fan." He even dressed up in a Kermit costume for Halloween, but no matter how much the ridicule, he still had hope at the end of the day, all because of the Muppets. He eventually developed the desire to join the group, as revealed in his nightmare.
After almost twenty years have passed, Walter and Gary are still living together in the house they grew up in. They go on a vacation with Gary's girlfriend Mary (who is hoping for Gary to ask her hand in marriage) to Los Angeles to tour the Muppet Studios, where Walter finds out that Tex Richman has plans to tear down the studio to drill for oil once the Muppets fail to produce the ten million dollars needed to re-purchase the property. Walter tells Gary and Mary of this discovery and they set out to find Kermit the Frog to warn him of Tex's evil plan. Kermit decides that the only way they could earn enough money is to perform a telethon show. After Kermit brings back most of the Muppets together, the telethon proves to be a bigger success than they had expected. Walter takes the stage for the last act and wins the audience over with his whistling skills. Even though they fail to meet the ten million dollar goal, they still gain massive popularity and Tex Richman lets the Muppets keep their studio and name after suffering a head injury from a bowling ball accidentally thrown by Gonzo. Walter is asked personally by Kermit to join the Muppets, which he accepts. Following this, Walter said farewell to his brother and stayed in Los Angeles when Gary and Mary returned to Smalltown.
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