Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers for Episode 8 of What If...?
Another week down, one more week to go in Season 1 of What If…? and everything is coming to a climax. Marvel’s animated multiversal saga has ditched its anthology format and switched to a throughline in which Ultron succeeds in annihilating the universe. And from the end of Episode 8, it looks like Ultron’s next task is to annihilate the multiverse, all in the name of “peace.”
Though we didn’t expect an Avengers: Age of Ultron revival in which everything goes wrong, it looks like Ultron is a key player in What If…? Between Episode 8, which has already aired, and Episode 9, in which we expect to see Ultron and a group of alternate Avengers working to defeat him, the voice behind the droid has a lot of work to do. So who voices Ultron in What If…?
James Spader is not the voice of Ultron in ‘What If…?’
While the '80s star and face of The Blacklist, James Spader, voiced Ultron in Avengers: Age of Ultron, giving the Artificial Intelligence-being a bit of quirkiness, he doesn’t return for What If…?
Whether it’s because he was too busy filming The Blacklist or because Marvel just didn’t ask him (might be too expensive to come back for a few episodes), he does not reprise his role as the evil droid.
Ross Marquand takes over as the voice of Ultron in ‘What If…?’
Although James doesn’t reprise his role as Ultron, we’re not too disappointed. Veteran Marvel actor Ross Marquand takes over as Ultron. While many of us might not know Ross by name, we have heard his voice in Marvel projects before. When Hugo Weaving doesn’t return as Red Skull in Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame, Ross takes over.
So, Ross plays two roles in the What If…? series! He starts in Episode 1 as the voice of the Red Skull and then takes over as Ultron in Episode 8, in which he’s very heavily featured. We’re also expecting Ross to continue as the voice of Ultron in Season 1’s final episode, Episode 9.
Could Ross Marquand play more voices in the greater MCU?
Well, as we know, What If…? is said to be canon now that Loki has introduced us to the multiverse. So even if Ultron is defeated in the next episode of What If…?, it’s still possible for him to appear in a different universe in the future.
And there’s no better place for another Ultron appearance than in the upcoming film, Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness. So Ross could come back to the MCU as Ultron … or even as Red Skull. Who knows?
He also voices Ultron in the 2019 video game, Avengers: Damage Control, so he was the right person to play Ultron in What If…? On the other hand, we can’t say we don’t miss what James brought to the role.
Regardless, Ross is an expert voice actor. He’s been featured in Robot Chicken, Invincible, and Family Guy. Plus, he’s Aaron in The Walking Dead. Ross is a jack of all trades, and we’re happy to see him play a bigger role in the MCU.
Episode 8 of What If…? is now available to stream on Disney Plus, and Episode 9 will be released on Wednesday, Oct. 6.