As I watched the first episode of What If…? yesterday, I kept asking myself how they got so many actors to perfectly replicate the voices of many of the cast members. Only when I reached the end credits did I realize that it wasn’t just Hayley Atwell who had come back for the Captain Carter episode, but pretty much every character on screen, even minor ones, were voiced by their original actors, missing only Chris Evans as Steve Rogers.
Turns out this is going to be a trend in What If…? going forward. Variety interviewed executive producer Brad Winderbaum who expressed surprise that they got as many actors to reprise their roles as they did. He says he estimates that 85% of the original cast members have returned to voice their MCU characters in What If…? That’s a list that includes:
Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Samuel L. Jackson, Natalie Portman, Paul Rudd, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, Rachel McAdams, Michael B. Jordan, Josh Brolin, Paul Bettany, Hayley Atwell, Sebastian Stan, Don Cheadle, Benicio del Toro, Michael Douglas, Danai Gurira, Tom Hiddleston, Djimon Hounsou and the late Chadwick Boseman. The full list, on Wikipedia, is even longer.
There are a few high profile names missing there, and those include:
Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Holland, Zoe Saldana and Elizabeth Olsen.
Winderbaum believes the missing actors may have simply been a scheduling issue, but also admits “we didn’t push that hard.” He was specifically asked about Dave Bautista, who publicly said he was never asked to reprise his role as Drax, but Winderbaum doesn’t understand why that wouldn’t have happened, as they’d be happy to have him, and chalks it up to a potential “miscommunication.”
Winderbaum hints at both future animated projects being in the works besides What If…? and the fact that yes, they will be connected to the MCU directly in some way (What If…? is showing off what Loki’s multiverse has created, for instance).
What If…? has nine episodes this first season and is scheduled to end in mid-October before the debut of Hawkeye in November. A second season of another nine episodes is already in the works, and Captain Carter is supposed to return there, we’ve heard. We don’t know all the What If…? stories coming up, but heavily promoted have been Chadwick Boseman’s final performance as T’Challa (as an alternate universe Star-Lord) and a Marvel Zombies episode.
I doubt that What If…? will soar to the heights of the previous MCU live action series, but it should be a fun little diversion from fans, and appears to be getting received well so far. I am curious what other non-What If…? animated projects they may attempt in the future, so stay tuned for potential news on that.