At this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, we learned that over two dozen Marvel Cinematic Universe actors were going to be lending their voices to the upcoming animated Disney+ series What If?, which explores alternate realities within the MCU. One name that was absent from that long list of performers was Robert Downey Jr., leaving us to assume that the MCU’s highest-paid actor truly was finished playing Tony Stark after his swan song in Avengers: Endgame.
But according to fellow MCU member Jeff Goldblum, that’s not the case. In a new interview, Goldblum revealed that Downey is indeed returning to the MCU once more as part of the What If voice cast. Get the details below.
Buzzfeed convinced Goldblum to sit cross-legged on the ground and play with puppies while answering questions in a video interview, and since that sounds irresistible I’ll go ahead and just embed that here:
The relevant section for our purposes comes at the end of the video, when he was asked whether his MCU character The Grandmaster would be returning in Taika Waititi’s upcoming movie Thor: Love and Thunder. Goldblum explained that they’re in early talks about that possibility, but then went on to spill the beans about Downey’s appearance in What If?:
“I played the part again a couple of days ago. I went to the Disney studios and I recorded the Grandmaster’s voice for an episode of a show that’s gonna be on Disney+ that’s called What If? It’s an animated version of all the characters we know and love from Marvel and this episode included the Grandmaster and Iron Man, so Robert Downey will do a voice for that, and Korg, Taika Waititi had already recorded his voice for that. So yeah, for a couple hours I enjoyed doing that.”
Since Downey’s name wasn’t in the initial cast list at Comic-Con, it seems like this may have been something Marvel wanted to keep a secret. Or perhaps they just hadn’t worked a deal out with the actor to reprise the role yet. But the story’s out: you haven’t seen the last of Tony Stark in the MCU.
Now the question becomes: will this version of Tony be same one we recognize from the films? We’ve seen snippets of footage from What If which showed a non-enhanced Steve Rogers inside a flying robot that looks similar to the bulkier version of an early Iron Man suit, so perhaps a time-shifted Tony will be responsible for putting Steve inside that suit. That’s a guess on my part, but since this show deals with alternate realities, it can explore just about anything the writers can think of.
Downey joins a large group of returning actors for What If, including Michael B. Jordan, Sebastian Stan, Josh Brolin, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Hemsworth, Hayley Atwell, Chadwick Boseman, Karen Gillan, Jeremy Renner, Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Neal McDonough, Dominic Cooper, Sean Gunn, Natalie Portman, David Dastmalchian, Stanley Tucci, Taika Waititi, Toby Jones, Djimon Hounsou, Jeff Goldblum, Michael Rooker, and Chris Sullivan.
What If hits Disney+ in the summer of 2021.
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