The world of Marvel is expanding across the more than a decade history of the franchise. The latest releases on Disney+ have certainly grown the Marvel Cinematic Universe into a truly multiversal scale. While WandaVision and Loki accomplished Marvel’s goal of pushing its Phase 4 releases into more cosmic stories, What If…? showed fans what’s truly possible in the Marvel multiverse. The series gave fans a breathtaking look at their favorite heroes in some speculative situations, but some original actors didn’t show up to reprise their roles.
Branching realities and endless possibilities in ‘What if…?’
What If…? played out some classic alternate ways that Marvel Cinematic Universe events could’ve played out, but the stories throughout the series’ first season aren’t just isolated speculation. Following Loki’s footsteps, the show explained that each speculative set of circumstances shown across the series is just one reality in a multiverse of infinite possibilities.
The show was tied together by Uatu the Watcher, a powerful being sworn only to observe the multiverse and never interfere. As he watched variations on fans’ familiar heroes throughout the season, he became more emotionally involved in their struggles. When a serious threat to the whole multiverse gradually rears its head, Uatu must decide if his oath is worth the safety of an infinite number of infinite universes.
An ensemble cast with some noticeable absences
With so many storylines in What If…?, each packed with heroes, the show has a seriously star-studded cast list. While many of Marvel’s greatest heroes were voiced by their original actors in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but that wasn’t the case for everybody, according to The Mary Sue.
There were a few more minor roles in a few episodes where actors subbed in for the live-action actors. The Warriors Three being different voices, viewers may have hardly been noticed. Still, more noticeable absences like Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts or Letitia Wright as Shuri sounded a little different from their film counterparts.
There were, however, some stars that didn’t voice their roles despite being majorly featured in the series. Zoe Saldana didn’t return as Gamora, and James Spader didn’t return as Ultron– something that was quite noticeable in the concluding arc of the series. Tom Holland also didn’t appear as Spider-Man, and Brie Larson didn’t reprise her role as Captain Marvel.
Some of the heaviest hitters of the Marvel Cinematic Universe were also absent, such as Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, and Scarlett Johansson. As the Marvel Cinematic Universe is trying to move to a new generation of heroes, not seeing these stars were understandable, but it still stung a bit for many fans.
The MCU future for the missing stars in ‘What if…?’
For most of the missing stars from What If…?‘s ensemble, it seems things didn’t work out for filming. In Drax star Dave Bautista’s case, this was due to a very publicly embarrassing miscommunication. For other stars, scheduling conflicts or contract disputes got in the way, as Men’s Health reports were the case with Tom Holland not returning to be your friendly zombie-fighting Spider-Man.
For some stars, fans may need to face that this may be the end of the road. Tony Stark appeared multiple times in What If…?, and there were plenty of opportunities for Robert Downey Jr to record a few lines. For many of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s original stars, it seems like they’re trying to step out of the limelight and retire the characters that they’ve played for nearly 15 years.
Fans may not see Downey Jr as Tony Stark again or Johansson as Black Widow, but those characters’ stories are forever. However, in a Marvel multiverse of infinite possibilities, who knows what’s on the horizon for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
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