The latest episode of Disney+’s What If…? features Black Widow and Nick Fury in the lead as we find the answers to the question, What If… the World Lost Its Mightiest Heroes? But what had the fans look glum was the replacement of Black Widow’s voice. Scarlett Johansson has been a big name in Hollywood for a long time. But MCU fans know and love her as the ass-kicking Black Widow. ScarJo has played the role of Black Widow for more than a decade now and even got a solo-standing movie in 2021. So we were all left asking why What If replaced Scarlet Johansson?
THE REPLACEMENT OF JOHANSSON
Due to the absence of ScarJo, Marvel Studios found a replacement for her voice in What If…? The developers chose Lake Bell to voice the iconic character of Black Widow. Bell is an American actress and screenwriter mainly known for her exemplary work in TV Shows like Boston Legal (2004), Surface (2005) and Bless This Mess (2019) and movies including What Happens In Vegas (2008), It’s Complicated (2009) and Over Her Dead Body (2008). Even though we miss ScarJo, Lake Bell did an awesome job as the voice of the SHIELD Agent.
POSSIBLE REASONS FOR THE ABSENCE OF SCARJO
The thing that really thrilled fans was the number of actors returning to reprise their role in the Disney+ series. In the last 3 episodes, we saw Chadwick Boseman for one last time as the beloved T’Challa/ Star-Lord, Michael Rooker as fan-favorite Yondu Udonta, Josh Brolin coming as the Mad Titan among others. In addition to this, the upcoming episodes will mark the return of Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Strange and Chris Hemsworth as The Party Thor. Under these circumstances, the absence of Johansson seems quite suspicious.
The ongoing rumors of her split with Disney due to her clash with Disney might explain this absence. Moreover, her lawsuit against the multi-billionaire company after the release of Black Widow would not have helped her return. But this lawsuit happened just now. ScarJo’s casting in What If…? would have happened way before this spat between her and Disney. She was contracted to appear till Black Widow, but nothing after that. So, resigning her just for voicing her character in What If…? would have proven to be quite expensive. So the show brought in Lake Bell. However, Disney+ might give us a clearer explanation than these.
Besides ScarJo, two other iconic characters didn’t return to voice their characters in the series. Robert Downey Jr. and Dave Bautista didn’t come to the studios. Although, their absence was justified by the creators. RDJ gave the oldest excuse in the book- prior commitments. The executive produce, Brad Winderbaum, said these lines in his interview with The Variety, “Part of it, I think, was literally the schedule — maybe. I mean, I don’t know. We didn’t push that hard.” Bautista, on the other hand, when asked about his absence, replied that he “was never asked”. Winderbaum went on to explain this as a simple case of miscommunication. With a huge cast, it is quite an understandable reason. Although, which category does Scarlett comes in, is still unknown.
The episode goes through a week in Nick Fury’s life. It opens with a conversation between Nick and Black Widow on their way to meet Tony Stark at Dunkin’ Donuts (as seen in Iron Man 2). It followed the same scene as in 2010’s Iron Man 2. But this time Tony dies when Natasha injects him with Lithium Oxide. Following Stark’s death, other potential candidates of the Avengers start falling one after another. First Thor, who was a mere human at that time, was killed by Hawkeye’s arrow. The next ones to be mysteriously killed off were Hawkeye and Hulk. It was Black Widow who figured out the person behind these deaths was actually Hank Pym.
After the death of his daughter in a SHIELD mission, he tried to avenge her by killing all the potential candidates of the Avengers Initiative. After Thor’s death, Loki came to Earth to wage war against the people who killed his brother. When they caught Hank Pym (after an epic fight between Pym and Fury), Loki decided to stay and rule the Earth. He overthrew the governments and became what he desired in 2012’s The Avengers. He even wielded the Casket of Ancient Winters, embracing his true side as a Frost Giant.
So now we know why What If replaced Scarlet Johansson. Did you miss her iconic portrayal of Black Widow or did you like Lake Bell as a replacement? Do let us know in the comments.