As official canon, Disney Plus series Marvel’s What If…? was always going to feature a massive array of talent from both the past and present Marvel Cinematic Universe roster, with some of the guest stars making their first appearances in the franchise for years.
However, several notable heavy hitters are absent, despite their characters playing major roles in various episodes. Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, Chris Evans’ Captain America, Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow, Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel and Tom Holland’s Spider-Man are all being replaced by new actors in the recording booth for unknown reasons, while Dave Bautista claims he wasn’t invited back as Drax.
Downey Jr., Evans and Johansson were no longer under contract with Marvel Studios when What If…? entered production, which is most likely the reason why they’re not involved. However, in a new interview executive producer Brad Winderbaum was asked if Sony may have been behind Tom Holland’s lack of availability, and he answered in the affirmative.
“You know, I’m not treated to all the ins and outs of the relationship with Sony. But, I think it may have had something to do with it, yeah.”
It’s a shame that the iconic web-slinger isn’t being voiced by Holland in Marvel’s What If…?, but it would have no doubt been a contractual nightmare to get him involved. After all, the unique character-sharing arrangement between Sony and Marvel saw the actor sign a six-picture deal for three solo Spider-Man movies and a trio of MCU crossovers, which expires after the release of December’s No Way Home.
Sony also still retain the animated rights to Spidey if the project in question runs for more than 45 minutes in length, so perhaps they were reluctant to lend him to Kevin Feige’s outfit given that the studio is launching their own shared mythology with the Into the Spider-Verse series.