It’s been a surprisingly long time since we last saw Kat Dennings’ Darcy Lewis. She made a great impression as one of the key human roles in Kenneth Branagh’s Thor, and then returned two years later for the sequel, Alan Taylor’s Thor: The Dark World, but with Taika Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok mostly being set away from Earth, she didn’t wind up with a role to play in that story. As a result, it’s bizarrely been nearly a decade since we last saw the character. That streak has fortunately now been broken by WandaVision, which features Darcy in an important supporting role – but it is interesting to note that the performance took a bit of an extra effort from the actor, who evidently had to do some research to recapture the snarky scientist’s specific voice.
I had the great pleasure of doing a virtual interview with Kat Dennings earlier this week to talk about her role on WandaVision, and in addition to touching on subjects like getting blipped and Jane Foster’s upcoming transformation into Thor, we also talked about her process getting back into character. As shown in her very first scene on the show, Darcy has not lost a single ounce of her sense of humor since we last saw her, and part of the reason that trademark attitude felt so right is because Dennings took measures to ensure that Darcy sounded like Darcy – with some purposeful alterations. She explained,
That's such a good question because when you're acting, there are only a few things you can do. You can't change your face, but you can change your voice and how you speak. So I've tried... I mean, my voice is so annoying and people are definitely quick to point that out and there's nothing I can do about it. So I definitely did watch some Darcy stuff just to remember what I was doing with my voice and my register, and try to bring it a little more down, you know, cause now she's a professional; she's a doctor!
When you think about it, this is a super cool extra mile effort made by Kat Dennings in WandaVision. You’d think that the first impulse a performer would have would be to purely replicate their past performance to ensure authenticity, but this is a case where the performer recognized that a character can change significantly over the course of a decade. When we first met Darcy Lewis, she was a political science student hunting for credits through an internship, but now she possesses a doctorate in astrophysics. That kind of life shift is bound to change the way that you converse, and Dennings made what she felt were the appropriate adjustments.
Of course, as noted, what hasn’t changed is that she is still sharp as ever. Her tone may be more professional and doctor-y, but Darcy is not one to ignore her own wit or stifle a cutting comment when there is a good one to be made. In that way she is a great representation of the larger Marvel tone: funny and entertaining, while also appreciating and never undercutting the stakes of the story.
Darcy Lewis’ voice is one that we’re exceptionally excited to hear back in the Marvel Cinematic Universe – and the comeback is only just starting. Kat Dennings may have only made her first appearance on WandaVision in the show’s fourth episode, but she is expected to be a key supporting player going forward, and we can’t wait to watch her dig deeper into the mystery. The next chapter launches on Disney+ this Friday at midnight PST/3:00am EST, and we are counting down the minutes.