Steve Whitmire was replaced as the voice of the beloved Kermit the Frog by Matt Vogel, who showed off his voice acting chops for the first time this week.

KERMIT’S NEW VOICE UNVEILED

Whitemire took over as the voice of Kermit in 1990 after creator Jim Henson passed away. He was fired suddenly in July, and replaced by Vogel shortly after. Whitmire wrote an emotional blog post about his firing, saying he felt betrayed and blindsided by the decision, but wishes his colleague all the best in his new gig. “For me, the Muppets are not just a job, or a career, or even a passion,” Whitmire said. “They are a calling, an urgent, undeniable, impossible to resist way of life. This is my life’s work since I was 19 years old. I feel that I am at the top of my game, and I want all of you who love the Muppets to know that I would never consider abandoning Kermit or any of the others because to do so would be to forsake the assignment entrusted to me by Jim Henson, my friend and mentor, but even more, my hero.”

Following this, Muppets Studio released a more detailed statement on why Whitmire was fired. “The role of Kermit the Frog is an iconic one that is beloved by fans and we take our responsibility to protect the integrity of that character very seriously,” a spokesperson said in a statement. “We raised concerns about Steve’s repeated unacceptable business conduct over a period of many years and he consistently failed to address the feedback. The decision to part ways was a difficult one which was made in consultation with the Henson family and has their full support.”

After a long process, Vogel stepped out as the new Kermit in a “Thought of the Week” video that was discreetly released by the Muppets Studio this week. “Dreams are how we figure out where we wanna know. Life is how we get there,” was Kermit’s short message. His voice sounded almost just like it always has, with credit to Vogel.

Watch below.