The vast multiverse of Marvel’s What If…? gave us the first glimpse at Peter Parker/Spider-Man in Episode 5, titled “What If…Zombies!?”
If Spidey sounded a tiny bit different than usual, that’s because Tom Holland—who’s played the web-slinger since 2016—didn’t do the voice-acting this time around.
The reason likely comes down to Holland’s schedule and contract with Sony.
It wasn’t going to be much longer without Spider-Man in at least one of the multiverses that Uatu The Watcher was looking down on, right? Marvel Cinematic Universe fans got their first look at how Spidey would handle himself in an alternate situation in Episode 5 of What If…?, titled, “What If…Zombies!?”
In the episode—which was largely modeled after a Dawn of the Dead type Zombie story—Peter Parker was one of the universe’s final remaining heroes, joining forces with others (including The Wasp, Bruce Banner, Bucky Barnes, and a few other trusted friends) to try to find a cure to a zombie outbreak initiated from a virus that Hank Pym brought back with him from the Quantum realm.
It’s a super fun Spider-Man arc within the larger story, and feels very in character with the Peter Parker that MCU fans have come to know. But if he sounds ever so slightly off, well, that’s because—like Captain America and Black Widow—he’s voiced by someone different from the actor in the films.
Is Tom Holland voicing Peter Parker/Spider-Man in What If…?
If you pay attention to the opening credits of Episode 5 of What If…?, you’ll notice Tom Holland is not among the numerous notable and returning names from Marvel Cinematic Universe past.
A handful of the stars who didn’t return forWhat If… are those who are likely at the end of their contracts/time with Marvel, like Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, and Chris Evans. While Holland should certainly still have a future as Spider-Man—No Way Home is out later this year, at the very least—it’s likely that the Sony involvement of his contract made side-projects (like voice work for What If…?) difficult to work out.
Holland clarified earlier this year that No Way Home is the last solo Spider-Man film under his current contract, and it’s believed that he should be able to also appear in supporting MCU roles as well. But knowing that Spider-Man was nearly removed from the MCU after the Marvel-Sony agreement fell apart back in 2019, it’s not surprising that it was easier to just go in another direction for the voice work required for What If…?
Peter Parker/Spider-Man is voiced by Hudson Thames in Marvel’s What If…?
Spider-Man is voiced by a 27-year-old actor named Hudson Thames in What If…?. Thames has had small roles in hit shows like Mad Men, Criminal Minds, and I Think You Should Leave, and last year played a young Elton John in a pair of episodes of the show American Soul, which follows Don Cornelius and the early days of the series Soul Train. He’s set to also appear in the upcoming CBS comedy Ghosts.
Thames has also had small parts in the teen drama The Secret Life of the American Teenager (which starred Shailene Woodley), and Malibu Country alongside Reba McEntire.
If Spider-Man/Peter Parker appears in another What If…? episode—and it seems likely he will, as all of these episodes seem to be building toward…something—he will almost certainly be voiced once again by Thames, and not Holland. So get used to this Spidey, at least for the next couple weeks, folks!
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