James Spader And 6 Veteran Marvel Actors Who Should Return For Disney+'s What If

The Watcher on Marvel's What...If? (2021)

Marvel Studios has a lot of exciting TV projects coming down the pipeline, and Marvel’s What If…? is steadily becoming one of the most intriguing shows on the massive slate. Based on the comic book series of the same name, the anthology series explores what would happen if major moments in the Marvel Cinematic Universe had occurred differently. And with this being an animated series (the first for Marvel Studios), the show has recruited various MCU actors to reprise their famous roles. But the show could always use a few more stars.

What If…? is set to feature MCU bigwigs like Chris Hemsworth and Mark Ruffalo and even stars that have been absent for years like Neal McDonough and Stanley Tucci. Nevertheless, the Disney+ series could stand to add Marvel alums, and there are a few prime franchise veterans who have not been confirmed (or even rumored) for the show at this point. So without further ado, let’s take a look at some more potential stars for What If…?:

James Spader as Ultron in Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

James Spader - Ultron

Avengers: Age of Ultron is definitely one of the more divisive entries in the MCU, but one thing most fans and naysayers seem to agree on is James Spader’s performance as Ultron. The actor’s imposing voice and eerie presence managed to make the apocalyptic robot a truly compelling antagonist (with some of the best monologues in the MCU). Unfortunately, he met his demise at the end of the movie.

Marvel’s What If…? would be a great way for James Spader to put his vocal talents to use. There’s so much more than can be done with Ultron and, given the unpredictable nature of What If…?, the villain can be involved in some crazy tales. Stories like “What if Ultron succeeded in wiping out humanity?” or “What if Ultron hadn’t gone berserk?” are just a few of the possibilities.

Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer in Iron Man 2 (2010)

Sam Rockwell - Justin Hammer

If there’s one character MCU fans have been asking to see more of, it’s Sam Rockwell’s Justin Hammer. The witty villain tried to go toe to toe with Tony Stark back in Iron Man 2 and even managed to get his hands on a suit of armor. Unfortunately for him, Hammer’s team-up with Ivan Vanko failed and he ended up arrested. The last time we saw him he was doing hard time in Seagate Penitentiary.

Sam Rockwell is such a delightful and talented performer, and one can only imagine how much fun he could have with any alternate MCU situation. One storyline could feature a timeline in which Hammer somehow takes control of Stark Industries, and another could show him managing to create his own suit of armor and attempting to be a “hero.” Rockwell is a nice feather in Marvel’s cap, and adding him to What If…? would only lead to comedic gold.

Jaime Alexander as Lady Sif in Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Jaimie Alexander - Lady Sif

It’s been far too long since we’ve seen Jaimie Alexander’s Sif in the MCU. Ironically, the character’s last appearance was TV, through ian episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Eventually banished from Asgard by Odin (Loki in disguise), she later became a casualty of the Snap and was resurrected by Bruce Banner five years later. Right now, she’s rumored to appear in Loki and Thor: Love and Thunder. So could we please add What If…? to that list?

Even though Sif has popped up in some unexpected places, we’ve mostly only seen her as the strict and disciplined warrior. It would be nice to see the other sides of her personality, which we got glimpses of on S.H.I.E.L.D. Why not do a What If...? episode that explores what would happen if Sif decided to live among humans on Earth? You could plug her into almost any Asgard-centric story, but a more personal story would be perfect for the character and Alexander.

Anthony Hopkins as Odin in Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Anthony Hopkins - Odin

Sir Anthony Hopkins has been with the MCU since he first graced our screens as the High Father in 2011’s Thor. The character hasn’t had much of a presence outside of that franchise, yet most fans enjoy seeing the celebrated actor in the role. When we last saw Odin in Thor: Ragnarok, he spoke to his sons, Thor and Loki, one last time before passing on, though he later appeared to Thor in a vision, advising him on his powers and Ragnarok.

There’s been no indication as to whether Anthony Hopkins will reprise Odin in Love and Thunder, but What If…? could provide him with an opportunity to return to the role. Despite Odin’s few appearances in the MCU, he’s still one of the most powerful and influential beings to ever exist in it, making any alternate reality with him intriguing. And one potential story could even involve this next character.

Cate Blanchett as Hela in Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Cate Blanchett - Hela

Most would agree that Cate Blanchett’s Hela is one of the best villains the MCU has ever offered. While she could have honestly used a bit more screen time, Blanchett made the most of her scenes, making Odin’s first-born both imposing and hilarious. But despite giving the God of Thunder a hard time in Thor: Ragnarok, she seemingly met her end during the final battle.

Cate Blanchett has some excellent voice acting credits under her belt and, with her talent in the booth, she’d be perfect for Marvel’s new show. To be quite honest, Hela is just too great a villain to never be utilized again. Like her Asgardian counterparts, there’s a lot that can be done with her on What If…?. An episode that explores what would have happened if she and Odin had conquered the Nine Realms would be particularly intriguing. Let’s hope Blanchett gets to play this role again at some point.

Michael Pena as Luis in Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

Luis - Michael Pena

I mean how can you do a show about hypothetical MCU situations without Luis? Michael Peña made fans laugh out loud when he debuted as Ant-Man’s best friend in the hero’s first solo film. An ex-con like his buddy Scott Lang, the comedic character has proved his heroism on multiple occasions. And when we last saw him, he was on the path to becoming a successful entrepreneur as a member of the X-Con team.

Michael Peña would be a perfect addition to What If…? and, with Ant-Man alums like Paul Rudd and David Dastmalchian already attached to the show, there’s a firm chance Peña could be attached already. Fans have long wanted to see Luis suit up as Ant-Man or Giant Man, something that likely won’t happen in live-action, so the Disney+ show could certainly give us that story and more.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Pietro Maximoff/Quicksilver in Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Quicksilver

It’s sometimes still hard to believe it’s been nearly six years since Aaron Taylor-Johnson suited up as Quicksilver in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Pietro and Wanda Maximoff were let loose on the Avengers by HYDRA, before throwing in with Ultron. Ultimately, the two left the robot after realizing his genocidal plan and joined Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Taylor-Johnson played Pietro well, adding a bit of wit to the character, which made it all the more disappointing for fans when he ultimately sacrificed himself.

When Aaron Taylor-Johnson was last asked about a return, he said there hadn’t been a “conversation” at that time. Quicksilver still has a lot of potential, and What If…? would be a great opportunity to bring the deceased hero back into the fold. The show could tackle the obvious like, “What if Quicksilver survived the Battle of Sokovia?”. But we could also see what would have happened if Pietro and Wanda escaped HYDRA and became defenders of Sokovia. Taylor-Johnson’s Quicksilver deserves another shot in the MCU and, if all else fails, What If…? is a nice place for him.

With so many great MCU characters having been introduced across the films, there are plenty of others who would also be fair game for What If…?. So what unconfirmed stars do you think should return for the show? Let us know in the comments.

Marvel’s What If...? lands on Disney+ this summer.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.