Netflix's wild coming-of-age comedy Big Mouth became a major hit for the streamer when it debuted back in 2017 for it's relatable representations of what it's like for pre-teens and young teens to go through puberty. The voice performances for the (sometimes very) adult animated show have been a big part of its success, but it was in late June that actress Jenny Slate, who had voiced the character of Missy Foreman-Greenwald for the entire run, decided to step down so that a black actress could voice the biracial character. Now that actor / comedian / writer / producer Ayo Edebiri has been cast to take over, we know what the producers have planned for the switch.
Even though Jenny Slate did a great job of voicing the nerdy biracial girl as she began her (sometimes kinda weird) sexual awakening, it was good to see her and the producers take responsibility for not having a black or biracial actress take on the part. But, according to Variety, when the decision was made for her to step aside, Slate had already recorded all of her part for the upcoming Season 4.
Big Mouth co-creator Andrew Goldberg said they didn't believe there would be time for Ayo Edebiri to re-record all of the dialogue, and noted that they didn't want her saddled with starting "her journey with this part by matching what Jenny did already," because it wouldn't be a good way "for her to make it her own." It was originally thought that Edebiri would begin her time as Missy with Season 5 (Big Mouth got a three season renewal last summer), but co-creator Jennifer Flackett was able to find "a really organic and cool place" in Season 4's penultimate episode which would make the voice change feel organic for the character, new actress, and the audience who's been watching Missy grow for several seasons.
As co-creator Nick Kroll said of the moment, which will lead to Edebiri voicing Missy in the Season 4 finale and in the following seasons:
It’s about Missy’s continued evolution as a person — that she has all of these different parts of who she is. There’s the sidelines Missy and the more sexually adventurous Missy, mirror Missy, and then also this Missy that she’s been discovering [in Season 4] through hanging out with her cousins and really taking a look at her Black identity.
Ayo Edebiri might be a new name to you, but she's been working her way through Hollywood for a few years now, was a writer on the Kal Penn-starring sitcom Sunnyside last season, and will be seen on Season 2 of Dickinson for Apple TV+, in a role that was created for her after she joined the series as a writer. Edebiri had also already joined the writer's room for Big Mouth Season 5, when the opportunity came for a black actress to begin voicing Missy, so she threw her hat in the ring. Even though Edebiri did still have to go through several auditions to nab the role, it sounds like it's a great fit:
I was definitely a very uncomfortable child, so I think the show speaks to that and a lot of those feelings, which still resonate with me as an adult...I was a true dork. So I don’t think I have to go too far to connect with Missy. The transition is a nice farewell to Jenny in that moment, too, in a way.
We don't know exactly when Big Mouth Season 4 will hit Netflix, but it's still expected later in 2020. For more on what to watch in the coming weeks, check out our guide to fall TV!