Seth Green Interview: Marvel's What If...? | Screen Rant

Marvel's What If...? is built around the interesting premise of what various alternate universes might look like had major moments in the MCU gone a different way, such as Peggy Carter getting the super-soldier serum instead of Steve Rogers, or T'Challa accidentally getting kidnapped by Yondu's Ravagers instead of Peter Quill.

To add to that feeling of the events of What If...? being just a step away from the main timeline in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, multiple Marvel actors returned to voice their roles in the animated series. The focus has been on the live-action actors who returned, but one significant name has been a part of Marvel's projects for a while and quietly returned, too: Seth Green, who has voiced Howard the Duck in animated series like Guardians of the Galaxy and Ultimate Spider-Man, and even a brief appearance in James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2.

Screen Rant spoke to Green about voicing Howard, how pop culture has changed in the past 20 years, how good Tom Holland is as Spider-Man, and more.

You've been voicing Howard the Duck for years now. It has to be fun now voicing a character who was in his own way ahead of his time when his movie came out [in 1986].

Seth Green: I love it! I love it. Howard the Duck has always felt like the weirdest, most punk rock, misfit character in the MCU and Marvel for as long as I've known about him. I saw the original movie in theaters – if you can believe, I was old enough to do that – and I was as a kid, so it was very interesting and entertaining to me, and I appreciated all of the special effects and technical innovations more than I was poo-pooing them for anything else. I was like, how cool. So getting to play this character, especially as the narrative or mythology, the characters have evolved over the years since the movie... It's really fun. I love it.

It was interesting because I went back and watched the movie not long ago as I grew up with it, too. I loved it as a kid, and when you're a kid, you don't really notice–

Seth Green: How dirty and pervy it is? [laughing]

Yes! But you don't necessarily notice special effects not holding up as a kid. What struck me is that it was so weird and ahead of its time, but now we're kind of in the age where we do have all of these weird genre shows and movies.

Seth Green: That's the conversation I have with friends of mine all the time is, you know, when we were growing up, all of this, fantasy, sci-fi, horror, they were all such subcultures that they would never be held up against mainstream literature, let alone mainstream entertainment. And since I've been alive, all of this stuff has become the most mass of pop culture, evidenced by Endgame being the highest-grossing film of all time, so it gets harder to fight for what is believably subculture when all of the most seemingly depraved of subcultures have come to mass pop.

Right. Look at The Boys.

Seth Green: But it's still not for everybody, though. So I think that's where the line is, right?

You might say you were part of that first wave of introducing these genres into the wider mainstream world – Buffy in a lot of ways helped that along. Do you ever look back and think, "Oh yeah, we really kind of were one of the first big cultural phenomena, making nerdy genre, supernatural stuff really cool?" 

Seth Green: You know, it's interesting. I didn't think about it in terms of participating in the growing pop of it, but I definitely was aware, around 2007, that Hollywood was becoming very interested in things that were sort of niche, private loves for me, and I recognized in that moment that I could be a successful translator, 'cause I had a leg in both worlds. I knew from my childhood how Hollywood works, and I knew as a kid and a fan how all of this genre stuff works, so I became a good translator between the two.

And now we're at a point where we see it with Marvel, arguably the biggest entertainment brand and studio in the world right now. Even they, with the Disney+ series, with WandaVision, with Loki, with What If...?, they've gotten to get a lot more experimental and weird. Is that something that you've talked about with them? Pushing for a Howard the Duck series or something where you think this is the time to do it, to let's try something truly weird?

Seth Green: You know, the upside of Marvel leadership is that they are incredibly well-informed and also know the brands and character so well that they're fully capable of making all those choices and decisions in a timely fashion. So I sit back and don't ask anyone anything, I just enjoy the luxury of this life. I mean, when I was younger, I'd get bullied for loving all this stuff and now I got people asking me questions about it. It's pretty cool, from where I sit. It's pretty cool.

Exactly. I was always a big Spider-Man fan and the kid with my nose in a book, and now half the stuff I read as a kid is being made into movies and TV shows. 

Seth Green: Celebrate that! Especially because it's being well-made. And Spider-Man's my favorite. I'll never not carry a torch for Spider-Man.

When you're a kid growing up with comics, he's just the one that you gravitate to. He's the easiest one to grow up with.

Seth Green: They nailed it with the Spider-Verse, but especially Tom Holland's portrayal and this characterization of Spider-Man since Civil War, it's so good, and they really have given this character the benefit of being a kid and growing up and not – well, I don't need to get into anybody else's missteps along the way. Culture shifts to the point where we can have this kind of movie, where we can have something like Into the Spider-Verse exist and win an Oscar. That was not the way it was 20 years ago, 30 years ago. And as a result, those are the movies that we had in that time.

Right. There are a lot of movies that were ahead of their time. Outside of Blade, people didn't seem ready for the super dark superheroes yet. And the CGI and special effects weren't necessarily there yet. 

Seth Green: We're in a golden age for all of this stuff to be well-realized. Things like the Daredevil show on Netflix proved that you can have a very sincere interpretation of this character that's not even unintentionally foolish. It's a nice place to be.

If there were any superhero or nerdy geek property that hasn't actually been made at, what would that be? What would you love to be a part of, whether developing or on screen or voicing something?

Seth Green: Well, I love Howard the Duck and I hope I get to play him forever. And also there's this fun character, Gwenpool, who was first birthed of the internet, and I've always found that entire idea really fascinating. Her book, which is a limited, surprisingly, has an incredibly satisfying resolution. I love that character. I don't know if it's a live-action thing. I think it's animated.

Jeffrey the Land Shark could become the next marketing opportunity like Baby Groot.

Seth Green: Instant marketing for me. I'd wear that backpack everywhere.

Next: Jeffrey Wright Interview: Marvel's What If...?

 



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