For the most part, Marvel's What If...? series wrangled cast members from live-action Marvel Studios films to lend their voices to animated versions of their heroes and villains. There were some exceptions, though. Actors like Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans. Scarlett Johansson, Tom Holland, and Brie Larson are among those who see multiverse versions of their heroes appear in the animated Disney+ series with a new actor voicing the part. According to What If...? executive producer Brad Winderbaum, "a couple of things," went into selecting new voices for the animated series.
"One early decision was we were not going to let the show be defined by the actors we thought we could get," Winderbaum told ComicBook.com. "Part of the fun of What If...? is being able to tell stories in any corner of the universe you want to and that means that you need that infinite canvas, you need that infinite potential. Also, I was afraid we wouldn't get any actors to come back. The fact that we got as many as we did, 85% of the actors came back or something like that. It's incredible and it's a real honor and privilege to work with all of them." Among the returning actors is the late Chadwick Boseman, who recorded four episodes of What If...? for his T'Challa character.
As impressive as the list of returning actors from Marvel movies is, Winderbaum and the creative team still faced the difficult task of finding new voices for several well-known characters. "In the cases where we couldn't get the original voice actors back, and many of which were very iconic roles, very identifiable voices, we prioritized the performance over the soundalike," Winderbaum said. "So you might be able to achieve a perfect Tony Stark voice, but if the depth of the character wasn't there and the acting, the performance didn't have dimensionality to it, it wouldn't matter. You'd be taken out. That would take you out."
The loophole here is the fact that these are multiverse stories. The voice being different can be justified just as much as T'Challa being Star-Lord can in these new stories. It's just a question now of whether or not the audience will accept it. "The good news is that all these stories exist in a parallel universe, so there's a cerebral justification for slight differences," Winderbaum said. "But once you accept the different voice, hopefully the performances have a gravity to them, so that you're following these characters as individuals in their own right in this new context."
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