The official cast list for Marvel Studios animated series What If finally got revealed. It includes a long list of iconic MCU actors that are returning to the franchise to lend their voice to this new venture. Yet, there are some notable absences. Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Brie Larson, and Scarlett Johansson are noticeably absent from the list. We’ve known that Tony Stark will get a new voice actor through the first trailer, but there never was a statement regarding why they didn’t join the production. Yet, there’s another absent actor in the list, whose character we know makes a return to the series, Tom Holland. Toy leaks confirmed a version known as Zombie Hunter Spidey. Yet, a leak hinted that it isn’t Peter Parker in the iconic role.
There was a toy leak that first confirmed Spidey’s appearance in the series. Yet, it wasn’t Parker, but rather mentioned that Steve Rogers took over the role at some point. There’s a chance he took on the mantle after something happened to Peter during the zombie outbreak. He’s also wielding the iconic cape of Doctor Strange, which means the survivors of the outbreak are using all the weapons they have at their disposal. Yet, we know there’s a Zombie Captain America in the series, which opens up a lot of questions about how this zombie outbreak affects the multiverse.
It might connect to the issue regarding Sony’s rights to that specific version of the character. If you look closely, the costume provided in the animated series is different from the films, as the redesign is closer to the ones we see in Disney’s theme park. It’s the one used in the Worldwide Engineering Brigade attraction. So, it seems likely they had to fall back on this version of the character due to the rights. The animated rights to the character returned to Disney and were the reason why Spectacular Spider-Man got canceled back in the day.
So, they might’ve taken this unorthodox direction to include him in the series without requiring Sony’s input. Of course, it could also be a similar case to the absence of other actors. There’s a chance he simply couldn’t return to the role, but they still included a version of Peter Parker that becomes a zombie hunter. The leak teasing Captain America taking on the role could be from another storyline if it turns out true. The Zombie version of Steve Rogers would put a dent in this leak but with a series exploring the multiverse, anything is possible.
Source: Polygon, Comic Book