The first trailer for Marvel’s What If…? animated series debuted today, and while it teased a thrilling, universe-hopping animated series, it also revealed one major disappointment. Robert Downey Jr. will not be returning to voice Iron Man for the show, with a new actor brought in to play the iconic role of Tony Stark.
The trailer opened with an animated recreation of the opening scenes of 2008’s Iron Man, where Stark is kidnapped in the middle of the desert by terrorists. The twist is that, in this version of events, he’s rescued by Erik Killmonger. While Michael B. Jordan is reprising the Black Panther villain, it’s clear from the promo that Downey is not, with a different – and as-yet unrevealed – performer instead doing a passable impression of the star.
You would think a better plot might be to hide this fact in the marketing, but the appeal of mirroring the beginning of the MCU in this way must have been too much to pass up. It’s particularly jarring to hear someone else voice lines that we’ve already heard Downey deliver in his 2008 origins movie, but fans might get more used to this replacement Iron Man once we see the episode he features in and the story goes off in a fresh direction.
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It had been reported before that Downey wasn’t involved, but when merch started leaking that featured Stark, fans assumed the Avengers: Endgame actor was returning, after all, as it was hard to imagine someone else playing the character. With Downey having spoken about putting the MCU behind him – even unfollowing his fellow Avengers on Instagram – a recast was always going to happen sooner or later. We just weren’t expecting it to happen this soon.
The good news is there are various other major Marvel stars taking part in the show, with the trailer including the likes of Chris Hemsworth, Benedict Cumberbatch the much-missed Chadwick Boseman. Make sure to catch Marvel’s What If…? when it debuts on Disney Plus in just over a month’s time on Wednesday, August 11th.