In the weeks and months leading up to the August 11, 2021 debut of Marvel Studios’ latest series, What If…?, it became apparent that MANY Marvel Cinematic Universe stars would be returning to the animated series to voice their MCU characters as key Marvel moments are reimagined.
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Among the returning cast members are Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Strange), Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Mark Ruffalo (Bruce Banner/the Hulk), Josh Brolin (Thanos), Hayley Atwell (Peggy Carter/Captain Carter), Paul Rudd (Scott Lang/Ant-Man), Natalie Portman (Jane Foster), Michael Douglas (Dr. Hank Pym), Michael B. Jordan (Erik “Killmonger” Stevens), Jeremy Renner (Clint Barton/Hawkeye), Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier), and late actor Chadwick Boseman (T’Challa/Black Panther).
Notably missing are Scarlett Johansson (Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow), Robert Downey, Jr. (Tony Stark/Iron Man), and Tom Holland (Peter Parker/Spider-Man).
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Although the release of Johansson’s character’s origin story film, Black Widow (2021), wasn’t until after most voice work for What If…? was done, it is unsurprising that she didn’t return.
The issues that led to Johansson’s recent lawsuit against The Walt Disney Company regarding the release of Black Widow could have begun behind closed doors long before the delayed movie hit Disney+ and theaters.
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Furthermore, Downey, Jr. has made very clear that his time as an Avenger is over. The Sherlock Holmes actor has shared that he’s done “all I could” with Iron Man, and has even unfollowed all of his Avengers franchise costars on social media in a bid to distance himself from the MCU.
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Tom Holland’s absence from What If…?, however, remains something of a mystery, though it is likely connected to his Sony Pictures contract. The fan-favorite actor is set to return in the highly anticipated Spider-Man: No Way Home this December 17.
Now, though, following this week’s episode of What If…?, we finally know who replaced Holland in the animated series. Hudson Thames (Mad Men, The Secret Life of the American Teenager) took on the role, becoming a key part of MCU history when he named Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben for the first time.
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The What If…? installment featuring Thames’s Spider-Man is summarized as:
The episode centered on a version of the Marvel Universe where Thanos’s quest for the Infinity Gauntlet was interrupted by the most unexpected of candidates: zombie versions of Marvel’s heroes and villains, ported in from another universe in as sudden and unexpected a way as the heroes of the main MCU timeline were when they traveled through time and the multiverse to steal Infinity Stones from other timelines during Avengers: Endgame. Peter, who hailed from their timeline, helped “our” version of the heroes stand against the undead apocalypse.
More on What If…?
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The official description of Marvel’s What If…? reads:
What If…? flips the script on the MCU, reimagining famous events from the films in unexpected ways. Coming to Disney+ in Summer 2021, Marvel Studios’ first animated series focuses on different heroes from the MCU, featuring a voice cast that includes a host of stars who reprise their roles. The series is directed by Bryan Andrews; Ashley Bradley is head writer.
What do you think about someone other than Tom Holland playing Spider-Man?