Few characters are more iconic than Kermit the Frog. While he's sticking around, he will now have a new person giving the character that trademark voice.
Steve Whitmire has been the one behind the voice of Kermit the Frog since 1990, but it was recently learned that he will no longer be filling the role (via ToughPigs). No reason was given for the actor's release, but the Muppets Studio confirmed that Whitmire is no longer working with the Muppets and that Matt Vogel will be the new voice of Kermit.
The studio also confirmed that Vogel's first voicing of Kermit will be heard in next week's "Muppets Thought of the Week"
There's been a great deal of confusion about the switch, and Whitmire clarified some aspects of it on his personal blog. He confirmed that it was not his idea to leave and that he first learned of the upcoming change back in October 2016.
"As I am sure you can imagine, I have experienced every possible emotion since October 2016, when I received a phone call from The Muppets Studio’s executives to say they were recasting," said Whitmire. "Through a new business representative, I have offered multiple remedies to their two stated issues which had never been mentioned to me prior to that phone call. I wish that we could have sat down, looked each other in the eye, and discussed what was on their minds before they took such a drastic action."
Whitmire retained the hope that the studio would change its mind, but didn't disclose the two aforementioned issues the studio had.
"I have remained silent the last nine months in hopes that the Disney company might reverse their course. Doing what is best for the Muppets is the lens through which all my interactions have been filtered. Given the opportunity, I remain willing to do whatever is required to remedy their concerns because I feel my continued involvement with the characters is in the best interest of the Muppets."
While Whitmire won't be the voice of Kermit moving forward, he shared exactly what the job has meant to him.
"For me, the Muppets are not just a job, or a career, or even a passion. They are a calling, an urgent, undeniable, impossible to resist
Whitmire also voiced characters like Rizzo the Rat and Beaker, so it remains to be seen if Vogel will be taking over those as well.