Jesse Walsh is a fictional character in the A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. He was created by David Chaskin and portrayed by Mark Patton. Making his debut in A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge in 1985, Jesse became the first male protagonist of the series. In Freddy's Revenge, Freddy Krueger enacts a plan to possess Jesse, using his body to kill in the real world, slowly gaining the strength to manifest his form physically. Outside of the films, Jesse has a main role in the novels. Because of the LGBT representation in a mainstream film, Jesse has developed a large fan base in the gay community and has been called a gay icon. Jesse has been observed by some scholars as a variation of the "final girl" slasher film archetype, and instead a "final boy".
In A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge, Jesse is a high school student who moves into Nancy Thompson's old house on 1428 Elm Street with his family and begins to have nightmares about Freddy Krueger. Jesse first encounters Freddy in nightmare sequence that takes place on a school bus. Jesse takes his friend Lisa to school and becomes friends with a boy named Ron Grady after they fight. Lisa Webber helps Jesse unpack his things after school and they find a diary from Nancy Thompson explaining her nightmares. Jesse realizes that Freddy wants to possess him and use his body to kill in the real world. Freddy successfully controls him and kills Jesse's coach and attempts to kill Jesse's sister though Jesse is able to resist.
He seeks help from Ron and asks him to watch over him while he sleeps but when Ron falls asleep, Freddy regains control and murders Ron. Jesse retreats to Lisa's house during a party but Freddy again takes control, trying to kill her. Jesse fights back against his control and Freddy instead turns on the other teenagers present, murdering seven before disappearing. Freddy travels to the boiler room where he would take his child victims while still alive. Lisa confronts Freddy and Jesse is able to finally regain control, exorcising Freddy. After this incident while traveling on the school bus with Lisa, their friend Kerry is impaled through the chest by Freddy and the bus careens off the road, revealing Freddy is still alive and has again trapped Jesse. His fate is left ambiguous.
Jesse briefly appears in flashbacks during Freddy's introduction in Freddy vs. Jason (2003).
Jesse is the lead protagonist of the 1992 novelization of A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge. In 2012, Mark Patton released Jesse's Lost Journal. There are 68 journal entries that span 1982–1985. The first 30 entries closely follow the events of A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge, though unveil new details not seen on screen (hints that Jesse's father is a pedophile; Jesse's platonic love for Lisa; his homosexual feelings for a classmate; his feeling of Nancy Thompson as a kindred spirit). There is a different conclusion in that Jesse supposedly kills Lisa Webber at the power plant, rather than the film's final bus sequence (although she is later revealed to have survived). The remaining 38 journal entries focus on Jesse's time at a psychiatric ward, his sentencing for murdering Ron Grady and the apparent disappearance of Lisa's corpse, his escape from the institution, and his efforts to build a new identity. Jesse still wrestles with Freddy Krueger in his mind, and enters into a panic when Hollywood begins making the Nightmare on Elm Street films based on Jesse's and Nancy Thompson's journal entries.