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Actor Steve Whitmire played Kermit The Frog for the Muppets ever since Jim Henson died back in 1990, but that run came to an end this summer after some behind-the-scenes controversy. Now his replacement, veteran puppeteer Matt Vogel, has stepped into the role, and you can watch his first performance as the legendary character in the video below:
The official Muppets YouTube channel posts weekly videos featuring notable characters delivering pearls of wisdom, but this week's clip is special for obvious reasons. Though it's a very short bit - totaling less than 30 seconds, including an intro from Uncle Deadly - it does give us our first official taste of Matt Vogel's future as Kermit The Frog, and we're definitely happy with it.
Just like how audiences had to get used to Steve Whitmire's take on the character following the death of Jim Henson, some adjustment time is going to be needed in this situation. Kermit the Frog is such an ever-present figure in pop culture that we are all fine-tuned into exactly what his voice should sound like, which is why Matt Vogel's take doesn't sound entirely perfect right now. Provided Vogel sticks around, however, eventually we will get used to this new sound, and ultimately fully accept this voice as the new Kermit.
The big shake-up in Muppet world went down back in early July, when trade reports revealed that Steve Whitmire had been fired. It wasn't immediately clear exactly what was going on or why the actor had been terminated, but it was later revealed that Whitmire had clashes with the studio and had been "disrespectful" in giving notes about the direction of the character during the run of the Muppets television series.
Fortunately, Matt Vogel was able to step in and replace Steve Whitmire, having been a puppeteer with the Jim Henson Company going back to the mid-1990s when he started working on Seseme Street. He also portrays many other characters in the canon, including the aforementioned Uncle Deadly, Sweetums, Floyd Pepper, Camilla The Chicken, Crazy Harry, Lew Zealand, and Robin The Frog.
Matt Vogel will presumably have the opportunity to continue playing Kermit The Frog on the Muppets YouTube channel for the foreseeable future - but what isn't known is exactly when he will get the chance to play the part in a film or television show. There are no movie plans currently in the works following the underwhelming box office performance of Muppets Most Wanted, and we probably won't see another Muppet show on the air any time soon given the cancellation of that last one. Being big fans of the wonderful, fuzzy friends, however, you can be sure that we will be on the lookout for any and all updates, so stay tuned!