Grant Walker was a famous theme-park mogul.
Walker built his fame and fortune with a series of well-loved theme parks. One of his original "Visioneers" who designed and built his parks was a young Karl Rossum, later an electronics genius and the CEO of Cybertron. All Walker wanted, it seemed, was to make people happy by entertaining them. Underneath, however, Walker developed a megalomaniacal disorder and became obsessed with the idea of making the whole world as idyllic as one of his amusement parks – by force, if necessary.
As Walker grew older, he feared that he would die before his grand vision was achieved. He became keenly interested in Dr. Victor Fries's work, and the accident that made him the criminal Mr. Freeze. Walker realized that Fries' aging process had been slowed so much as to make him practically immortal. Walker was eager to trade his own humanity for immortality, so he had Freeze broken out of prison and brought to his newest theme park, Oceania, pleading with him to replicate the process on Walker. Freeze was aghast why anyone in their right mind would actually attempt to duplicate that accident, and attempted to talk Walker out of it by saying that one rotten day as a normal human was far better than being frozen forever. Walker's ace in the hole was Nora Fries, whom his agents had saved from death from the explosion at the GothCorp lab in which Freeze had believed she perished. Walker promised he had the means to save her life, and all Freeze had to do was grant his request, which he reluctantly did.
Once the transformation was completed, and Walker was installed in a cryo-suit similar to Freeze's own, Walker wasted no time in preparing his grand scheme: targeting a gigantic, cannon-sized cold gun at Gotham City, planning to freeze it, and ultimately the rest of the world, while a group of his loyal followers inside Oceania would be the only survivors of the human race. With the world frozen, neither Fries nor Walker would require cryo-suits.
However, Batman prevailed on Freeze's better nature, and Freeze helped him and Robin to escape captivity and sabotage Walker's plan, also by playing upon Freeze's pining for Nora. Batman and Robin convinced Freeze that if Nora regained consciousness, there is no way she would love a man who aided and abetted a megalomaniac like Walker. The cannon malfunctioned, and Oceania was destroyed by ice sheets and submerged beneath the ocean.
When Walker regained consciousness, he was alone and trapped in a block of ice that he could not break, even with his cybernetic strength. It is unknown if he was ever able to eventually break free from the ice, or if someone managed to retrieve him. Being trapped would have meant that his body, having gone through the same process as Fries, would eventually go through deterioration, killing him.
Grant Walker does not appear again in the animated series. He does appear in several issues of the comic book Batman: Gotham Adventures, as the "second Mr. Freeze". In those comics, Walker escapes the ice after several years of imprisonment, an experience which drives him insane, and goes on a rampage, including kidnapping a team of Wayne Enterprises scientists commissioned to find a cure for Freeze's condition.
There are three obvious parallels between Grant Walker and Walt Disney:
- Walker refers to his theme park designers and builders as his "Visioneers", a reference to Disney's "Imagineers".
- There is an urban legend (which was later pushed as truthful when it wasn't by then-Disney CEO Michael Eisner) that Disney wanted to be cryonically frozen before his death, in order to continue his work. In actuality, however, Disney was cremated, which is the polar opposite of cryogenic freezing. Cryonics was not studied until after Disney died, thus making such a concept impossible to begin with.
- In 1966, the final year of his life, Disney drafted plans for Epcot, which would be a self-contained city. Walt Disney had continued working on the plans even until his illness consumed him as a way to keep his mind active. The plans were later constructed as the Epcot Pavilion. Although the concept was to be self-contained, Disney made no remark that Epcot would be crime-free or utopian.
The reviewer for World's Finest Online, in covering "Deep Freeze", noted that Walker and Freeze stood in deliberate contrast to each other. Freeze claims to be dead to emotions, but his compassion betrays him several times during the episode: he initially refuses to subject Walker to the same confinement as Freeze himself, and Batman eventually convinces him to help stop the deaths of innocent people. By contrast, Walker is an outwardly warm, paternalistic figure, but he is as dead to emotions as Freeze claims to be, coldly planning mass murder just to create his own fantasy of a perfect world. His transformation into "the second Mr. Freeze" is more appropriate to his inner self than Freeze's ever was.