It was exciting to watch What if…?, Marvel Studios’ first animated series for a number of reasons, the most notable being that it’s inherently different from anything the MCU has done before. First and foremost, it’s a series of hypothetical stories, as the title makes clear, set in a multiverse of vast possibilities. But since the show is animated, that in theory means the show could get away with using different actors than in the movies. Sure, there are occasional redesigns in the MCU – looking at Don Cheadle and Mark Ruffalo – but it’s a lot easier to miss out on when we talk about animation.

The majority of key voices in each What if…? episode are the same as the movies, however. Major actors like Samuel L. Jackson, Josh Brolin, the late Chadwick Boseman, and even the legendary Michael Douglas have all returned to voice alternate versions of their famous Marvel characters. But that doesn’t mean everyone is back. Chris Evans, in particular, was not in the first episode, with Steve Rogers instead voiced by Josh Keaton. Episode 3 found Tony Stark and “Thunderbolt” Ross both played by voice actors rather than their more notable on-screen performers.

Perhaps most interestingly, Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow was voiced by someone other as Scarlett Johanssson. But while someone Is has significant experience in dubbing, he is a performer who is more than remarkable on the big and small screen.

Lake Bell plays Black Widow in Marvel’s What if…?

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You might not even notice when you look What if…?, but Lake Bell provides the voice of Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow for the animated series rather than Scarlett Johansson. The episode, which reimagines key moments from MCU Phase 1, leading up to the formation of The Avengers, finds Natasha in a leading role; at first it seems like she killed Tony Stark, before finally uncovering the truth that the real killer picked the Avengers candidates. Bell does a great vocal job throughout the process.

If she seems to be pretty good at it, well, it’s because she has a lot of experience in the voiceover world. She plays a hilarious, deadpan Poison Ivy in DC’s Extremely Good Harley quinn animated series (opposite the main character of Kaley Cuoco), provided her voice for 9 episodes of Netflix BoJack Cavalier, and even wrote, directed and starred in the movie In a world…, where she plays a woman who finds herself immersed in the world of movie trailer storytelling.

Bell is a well-known actress and filmmaker, even outside of her tangential voice-over roles. She has played roles in TV shows like Boston Legal, How to Succeed in America, Children’s Hospital, and Hot and humid American summer: first day of camp, among others, while playing in movies like Million dollar arm and Standing man.

Has Scarlett Johansson been replaced because of her Black Widow trial?

You’ve probably heard the recent news that Johansson is suing Disney over the release of Black Widow, claiming that releasing the film simultaneously in theaters and for a premium on Disney + cost him millions of dollars and was a breach of contract.

While it would be perfectly logical to think that the two parties are not currently working together due to the pending legal situation, that is not the case here. These things are recorded well in advance, and Johansson probably made the decision long before the trial (and Black Widowthe exit of) not to return for What if…?. As an example of when the vocal sessions took place, Frank Grillo, who returns as Brock Rumlow in the same What if…? episode where Bell plays Black Widow — said in a January interview with Collider he was working on What if…?. In August 2019 THR interview, Hayley Atwell (who plays Captain Carter in the first What if…? episode) stated that she had already worked on her episode.

In a word? It’s just a coincidence. Fun timing, of course, but not intentional.

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