Walter Browning, (Budwing in the books) is one of the two main characters of the "Zathura" book, 2005 film adaptation and the video game, who first appeared as a minor character in the book's predecessor, "Jumanji". Walter is portrayed by Josh Hutcherson in the "Zathura" film, and he reprised the role in the video game.
While their parents list the Shepherd family house after a party, Danny and Walter Budwing head outside to play, but the two don't get along with each other. Danny wants to play catch, while Walter wants to watch television. Danny tosses Walter a baseball which hits him on the head. Walter then chases Danny through the house and catches him in the park across the street from their house, where they find a board game named Jumanji (which was previously left there by Judy Shepherd and Peter Shepherd). Danny brings the game home, but Walter is not interested in playing it, sine he views the jungle adventure / animal / survival theme childish and boring.
But jammed inside the Jumanji box, Danny then finds another board game called Zathura: A Space Adventure. Danny starts playing Zathura, then he gets a card that says, "Meteor shower, take evasive action." Immediately, a meteor shower occurs. Danny and Walter soon realize the game sent them into outer space. The brothers start playing the game Zathura, since the game won't take them home unless they finish it. Soon, Walter loses his gravity and Danny saves him from disappearing into space.
When Walter takes his turn, a defective robot chases him through the house. When Danny takes his turn, he gets close to a planet called Tsouris 3 and gets shorter and wider. Soon, a Zorgon ship appears and Zorgons board their house. The robot chases the Zorgons away as Walter takes his turn and gets sucked into a black hole and is sent back in time. Walter transports back to when he was with Danny in the park. Danny finds Jumanji and is about to take it home, but Walter throws it out and instead offers to play catch with Danny.
Walter and his younger brother Danny do not get along with each other or their older sister, Lisa. While their divorced father is away at work and Lisa, whom he left in charge, is napping, Danny discovers an old space-themed board game called "Zathura" in the basement. He convinces Walter to play the game with him, the goal of which is to become the first player to reach the final space on the board. Each turn, a player turns a key and presses a button, causing the board to move the player's piece a random number of spaces and spit out an event card. When Danny's first turn causes a meteor shower inside the living room, Walter and Danny realize playing the game has altered reality.
The boys discover their father's house is floating in space. Lisa, unaware of the situation, wakes up and begins preparing for her date that evening, but is frozen stiff when another card turns the her own bathroom into a cryonic chamber. Walter concludes the only way to end the game and return everything to normal is to win the game. As they continue to play, Walter and Danny must overcome the dangers presented by the game cards, including the appearance of a defective robot and an attack on the house by a race of reptilian aliens called Zorgons. Another of Danny's turns produces an astronaut, who methodically eliminates the house's heat sources and lures the Zorgons' ship away by ejecting the boys' father's nap couch after setting it on fire.
Walter asks the astronaut to leave after he eats all of their food, but Danny chooses to let him stay. Growing increasingly agitated, Walter accuses Danny of cheating by moving his piece prematurely; when Walter tries to move the piece back and takes his next turn, the game accuses Walter of cheating and ejects him from the house into the vacuum of space, but the astronaut retrieves him. On Walter's next turn, he receives a card that allows him to make a wish. The astronaut warns Walter not to make a wish out of anger. Fearing the worst, he is relieved to discover that Walter wished merely for an autographed football. He explains that he and his brother had played the game fifteen years before, and he wished his brother away, causing him to be stuck in the game without a second player.
Lisa awakens from her stasis, and still oblivious to the situation, turns up the heat. This causes the Zorgons to return and anchor their ships to the house. Lisa finally discovers their predicament, and the four hide upstairs, but realize they left the game behind. The astronaut uses the house's dumbwaiter to lower Danny to retrieve the game. Danny finds the game aboard one of the Zorgon ships, but is seen by the Zorgons. Walter uses a "Reprogram" card he drew earlier to fix the malfunctioning robot, who attacks the Zorgons instead, and the aliens retreat.
Walter receives another wish card; he uses it to bring back the astronaut's brother, causing a doppelgänger of Danny to appear. The astronaut reveals he is actually Walter, and commends his younger self for making a better choice than he did 15 years ago of his timeline, and the astronaut and the alternate Danny disappear.
The Zorgons return to the house with a large fleet, intent on destroying it. Danny makes a final move, landing on Zathura, and wins, creating a black hole that sucks up the Zorgon fleet and the house. The siblings awaken in the house as it was before the brothers started the game, just as their father arrives home. Their bond renewed, and after they leave with their mother, Danny's bicycle, which had been orbiting their house, falls from the sky.
Walter has a mild distaste for Danny towards the start of the story. Walter stereotypes Danny based on his previous actions, and discourages any relationship with him. Walter blames Danny for all of his problems. The Astronaut teaches Walter that unity is better than hostility by telling him of his experiences playing Zathura. Walter assumes that he is correct in all situations, but is mostly proven to be sadly mistaken. If you haven't noticed Walter has brown eyes and older Walter has blue eyes.
- When the first shooting star came, the Astronaut thought that Walter would wish Danny away after their fight about everything is Danny's fault, their parents getting divorced and cheating and never winning at games, but instead Walter wished for an autographed football which was signed by Brett Farve.
|Jumanji Picture Book|
|Characters||Judy • Peter • Mother • Father • Mr. Budwing • Mrs. Budwing • Danny Budwing • Walter Budwing • Guide|
|Animals||Rhinoceros • Monkey • Lion • Tetse Fly • Python|
|Weather||Thunderstorm • Monsoon • Earthquake|
|Locations||Jumanji Realm • Brantford|
|Media||Zathura • Zathura: A Space Adventure • Zathura (Video Game)|
|Characters||Danny Browning • Walter Browning • Lisa Browning • Mr. Browning • Mrs. Browning • The Astronaut|
|Antagonists||Zorgons • The Robot|
|Objects||Zathura (board game)|
|Locations||Browning House • Zathura (Black Hole)|