Steve Whitmire has been voicing and puppeteering Kermit The Frog since 1990, having taken over in the role – and that of Ernie – after the death of Jim Henson. But now, sadly, we’re hearing that he’s quitting The Muppets altogether.
The fan site ToughPigs confirmed the news, although the reasons behind Whitmire’s departure remain a mystery.
To give you an idea of how much Whitmire did for the team: on Muppets Most Wanted, he played Kermit the Frog, Foo-Foo, Statler, Beaker, Lips, Rizzo the Rat, Link Hogthrob, The Muppet Newsman, Andy Pig and more.
Matt Vogel – who’s been working for Mupet Studio since 1996, filling many roles – will be taking over in the role of Kermit. His first footage as the iconic character is expected to land online next week.
Vogel worked with Whitmire as the assistant puppeteer on Ernie. Across The Muppets projects and Sesame Street, Vogel has also played Big Bird, Count von Count, ’80s Robot and Camilla the Chicken.
And here’s a fun fact for you: in Muppets Most Wanted, the latest big screen outing for the felt favourites, Vogel played Constantine, an almost-identical frog doing his best to act like Kermit.
It remains to be seen who the rest of Whitmire’s characters will be played by going forward.
The Muppets were last seen – in a starring role, at least – on TV, in ABC’s mockumentary The Muppets. They’re still producing plenty of content, though. It’s yet to be announced what their next major project will be.
We’ll bring you more news as we hear it.