Every new episode of What If…? is a surprise. And that’s not just talking about the plot. Notable MCU actors have been missing from the animated series, including Dave Bautista, Scarlett Johansson, Brie Larson, Tom Holland, Chris Pratt, and Chris Evans.
On the other hand, there’s also been a few pleasant appearances from smaller characters, like Rachel McAdams as Doctor Strange‘s Christine Palmer, Danai Gurira as Okokye from Black Panther, and Don Cheadle as Iron Man’s James Rhodes. Disney spared no expense when it came to getting the A-listers.
All these voices, both new and old, contribute to a whole new way to view the MCU. So far we’ve had Peggy Carter become Captain America (or, Captain Carter) instead of Steve Rogers, T’Challa become Star Lord, and even zombie avengers.
In the newest episode of What If…?, another familiar face from the live-action movies is missing. Episode 6 posits the idea that Tony Stark never became Iron Man. In fact, none other than Killmonger (voiced by a returning Michael B. Jordan) saved him in Afghanistan, setting off a cataclysmic chain of events ultimately setting Wakanda up against the U.S. government. Yeah, it gets pretty bad.
Since his live-action departure from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Robert Downey Jr. has made it clear he’s no longer involved with the superhero mega-franchise in any capacity. So it only makes sense, at this point, that a brand new voice actor would play the genius tech billionaire in What If…?.
Here’s why Downey Jr. isn’t playing his well-known character.
Why Isn’t Robert Downey Jr. Playing Tony Stark in What If…?
Back in December 2020, the actor made it clear his exit from the MCU was pretty permanent. “I’ve done all I could with that character and can do other things now. Now, being middle-aged, you start looking at the back nine and realize this is all part of the journey and things end,” Downey Jr. says in an interview with Hindustan Times. “I am fortunate and eternally grateful to have wound up where I have.”
Who Voices Tony Stark in Marvel’s What If…?
Voice actor Mick Wingert actually plays Tony Stark in the new Disney+ animated series. Wingert notably voices the character Po outside of the film version of Kung Fu Panda (where the role was originally played by Jack Black).
And he’s no stranger to Marvel. Wingert has already played Tony Stark/Iron Man in multiple Marvel animated series, including Avengers Assemble, Spider-Man, and Guardians of the Galaxy. With his experience as the snarky, arrogant character, Wingert makes a believable Tony Stark (and does a solid RDJ impression), and brings just the right amount of pizzazz to an iconic MCU superhero (or in this episode, a misguided victim).
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