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After Dave Bautista Brouhaha, Marvel Exec Explains Why What If? Couldn't Bring All The MCU Stars Back

When Marvel's What If...? was announced for Disney+, it was touted to have many of its animated heroes being voiced by the same actors who portrayed them in the MCU. While that is certainly true, the animated anthology is definitely missing a few key names from stars who didn't lend their voices, with Guardians of the Galaxy star Dave Bautista claiming he was never even asked to provide Drax's voice at all. Following his comments, executive producer Brad Winderbaum has spoken out about the vision for What If...? and its casting processm, while also teasing a wave of new animated projects is on the way.

Brad Winderbaum revealed in a recent interview that while bringing in dozens of actual MCU actors to reprise their roles for What If...? was a great big bonus for the series, it wasn't always the plan. Winderbaum told Variety a bit about the idea to approach big-name talent and how it was very casual, since the animated series didn't have the funding that live-action fare gets.

This isn’t a giant budgeted series. We figured, we’ll go out to talent, and we’ll see who we can get. If we get a few, it’s great. And I was, of course, worried that we wouldn’t get anyone.

What If...? did get a solid group of MCU stars, with the late Chadwick Boseman as arguably the most prominent inclusion. Boseman provided the voice for T'Challa as Star-Lord, and due to his unfortunate passing, the voice role is officially his final performance in the MCU. Other franchise vets joining the multiversal fun include Hayley Atwell, Samuel L. Jackson, and Jeremy Renner, who all portray their respective Marvel characters, albeit in changed ways.

Even though the Disney+ animated series wooed a solid number of big names, it's fair to say What If...? is missing out on some of the biggest marquee actors, such as Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Chris Evans, and more. Which means Iron Man, Black Widow, Doctor Strange and more will be voiced by soundalike actors, something that was originally conceived to be the goal for all the characters in the show. Thankfully, that didn't happen, but Brad Winderbaum addressed why there are indeed some casting changes within What If...?, seemingly implying they didn't make too big of an effort when it appeared obvious nothing would happen.

Part of it, I think, was literally the schedule — maybe. I mean, I don’t know. We didn’t push that hard.

MCU actors tend to be just as busy outside of their superhero adventures, given the attention such roles bring to their careers. Given that, it's understandable that the What If...? team didn't wish to push the issue with some of the brand's biggest stars, and didn't waste a lot of time and effort trying to get Benedict Cumberbatch to voice two lines for a post-credits scene, for instance. Perhaps they should have pushed hard all around, though, because apparently stars like Dave Bautista weren't even aware of it.

In regards to what happened with Bautista specifically, Brad Winderbaum isn't entirely sure what happened. Here's how he responded to the Drax claim made in Bautista's tweet.

I saw that, too. It’s my understanding that everybody was asked in some way, shape or form, either through their agents or directly. I don’t know really what happened behind the scenes there, but certainly, we would have loved for him to be in the show. So there’s probably some miscommunication somewhere.

We may never know the real story behind Drax's What If...? appearance being performed by another actor. It seems he was interested to take part, so hopefully it's a good sign that the door is open for him to appear in the future. Sometimes wires get crossed, and mistakes are made, which happens in any industry. Perhaps Marvel can make good on it with a standalone Drax animated sitcom, should that be one of the ideas for any animated series being planned for the future.

Marvel's What If...? airs new episodes on Disney+ every Wednesday. Those that have seen the first episode can check out some of the cool changes made to the MCU in the premiere.

Mick Joest

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.