When the Emmy award nominations were announced, fans were furious that Sebastian Stan didn’t get a nod for his work in The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. In that show, he brought his A-game, giving us a layered performance that showed guilt for his actions, grief at losing Steve Rogers, and his growing respect and admiration for Sam Wilson. But Stan also played Bucky in the opening episode of What If..?, and the reception hasn’t been quite so positive.
This Bucky is 70 years younger than the one we’re most familiar with, with Stan effectively reprising the role from 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger. But some fans have noted that he’s flat, uneven, and basically not very good. Here’s a selection of what’s being said on social media:
It’s worth bearing in mind that a good actor does not necessarily make a good voice actor (and vice-versa). COVID rules may have meant that Stan recorded his lines in isolation from the other actors, so he was simply in a recording booth on his own (or potentially even remotely over the internet).
Meanwhile, Hayley Atwell, who has turned a lot of heads with her awesome Captain Carter, has quite a bit of voice-acting experience. She’s played characters in various animated movies and, more importantly, played Peggy Carter in the Avengers Assemble animated show.
Despite all this, I’m a big fan of the decision to get as many of the original MCU cast as possible to voice their animated characters. Though judging by the excellent job Josh Keaton did in mimicking a pre-super soldier serum Steve Rogers, Marvel’s taste in soundalikes is impeccable.
But the big moment everyone will be waiting for is Chadwick Boseman’s final performance as T’Challa. This episode imagines what would have happened if he’d become Star-Lord and is likely to be a tearjerker.
What If..? is off to a fantastic start. Let’s hope it maintains that momentum.