Robert Downey Jr. speaks Iron Man in What If … not? Here’s who plays Tony Stark and why Marvel Studios made a good replacement pick.
Warning: SPOILER for Marvels What if …? Episode 6.
Tony Stark appears again in Marvels What if …? Episode 6, but Robert Downey Jr. doesn’t speak the MCU’s former Iron Man. What if…? Episode 6 returns to Phase 1 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but in this alternate reality, Stark was never abducted by the Ten Rings in Afghanistan and thus the Avengers were never founded, all thanks to Eric Killmonger’s intervention.
Although Tony Stark was the first superhero fans to meet at the MCU, What if…? killed him three times in spite of his Endgame Fate still looms in the memories of most MCU fans. This episode provided confirmation that his path would always have resulted in attempting to use his abilities as a protective instinct, but his creation of the Gundam Army is very different from his haunted fears that lead to the Iron Legion and Ultron. There is more of a sense of vengeance behind his motivation to become a “hero” this time around, and Killmonger takes advantage of this to fight Wakanda and kill Stark if he gets in the way.
In Marvels What if …? Episodes 3 and 6, veteran voice actor Mick Wingert replaces Robert Downey Jr. than the voice of Tony Stark. Wingert is a qualified replacement having played Iron Man numerous times in Marvel animated films and TV series such as Avengers Assemble, Spider-Man, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, and Marvel Rising: Heart of Iron. Since Robert Downey Jr.’s appearance as Tony Stark popularized the Armored Avenger around the world, Marvel has endeavored to make Iron Man’s animated counterpart sound like Downey. And after a smaller role in What if…? Episode 3, Wingert skillfully replicated Downey’s voice and cadence than Tony Stark in episode 6 to a far more remarkable extent.
Marvel Studios reportedly invited all of the MCU’s main cast members to return What if…? However, Downey was one of several high profile names who didn’t repeat their iconic roles, along with Chris Evans as Captain America, Brie Larson as Captain Marvel, and Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer. Marvel cited scheduling conflicts as the reason, but in Downey’s case, it’s also possible that his lucrative deal with Marvel Studios ended afterwards Avengers: Endgame, the actor was happy with his job as Iron Man and he was ready to leave the character behind after a decade at the center of the MCU.
It’s also possible, of course, that Tony Stark’s role in What if…? is also too small to be worth the cost and time to get Robert Downey Jr. back for the project. It is not clear if there will be any further future episodes of What if…? will focus on Iron Man, but since Mick Wingert is a capable replacement who sounds like Tony Stark fans know, it was a worthwhile replacement for Marvel.
Iron Man was also one of the most researched characters in the MCU, and fans now know every important detail about Tony Stark. Therefore, it is possible that Iron Man will continue to be a minor character in What if…? and the animated series will explore different characters and alternate timelines that only require background appearances from Tony Stark. In this case, it would make sense for Mick Wingert to continue playing Iron Man Marvels What if …? instead of Robert Downey Jr.
Next: The MCU’s New Captain America Timeline Plot Hole Explained
Marvels What if …? streams on Disney + on Wednesdays.
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