Summary

  • Vin Diesel’s streak as the beloved character Groot in the MCU has come to an end in the series “What If…?” as the character was recast and played by Fred Tatasciore.
  • Tatasciore’s portrayal of Groot in “What If…?” may have kept costs down, as he was already employed by the series and would have been cheaper to retain than Diesel.
  • The recasting of Groot in “What If…?” season 2 is part of a trend in the series, as several other MCU actors were also recast, possibly due to scheduling conflicts or budget constraints.


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The Marvel Cinematic Universe has recast one of its most famous characters, breaking Vin Diesel’s long-running performance streak as Groot. Groot has appeared numerous times throughout the MCU timeline and quickly became a favorite with audiences. It took several performers to bring Groot to life in the MCU, but Vin Diesel’s booming voice is the most famous contribution. However, after Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, it’s unclear whether Groot or Diesel will be a part of the MCU’s future. The movie served as the final in James Gunn’s trilogy and resolved many outstanding stories – though it did leave the door open for future installments.

Vin Diesel voiced Groot in each of James Gunn’s three Guardians of the Galaxy movies, plus the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, despite the character’s drastic age changes throughout. Diesel also reprized the role for Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame, and Thor: Love and Thunder. Groot proved so popular that he even earned a solo Disney+ series of animated shorts, titled I Am Groot, in which Diesel also starred as Baby Groot. In all, Diesel has played the beloved character for 15 years. This streak was broken, however, with the second season of What If…?

What If…? is available to stream on Disney+


Vin Diesel’s Groot Streak Is Over Thanks To What If

The Disney+ series What If…? adapts the Marvel Comics series of the same name, posing hypothetical universes and narratives that explore how the MCU could have unfolded differently. Groot appeared in What If…? season 2, episode 1 “What If… Nebula Joined the Nova Corps?” In the episode, Groot and Korg are working for Howard the Duck at his casino, where Nebula is enlisted to stop Nova Prime. Despite Diesel’s impressive performance streak, the character was recast and Groot was instead played by Fred Tatasciore. Interestingly, Tatasciore voiced Drax the Destroyer in What If…? season 1, after Dave Bautista did not return to voice his character in the series.

This might explain why Diesel did not voice Groot – as Tatasciore was already employed by the series, he would have been substantially cheaper to retain than Diesel would have been. Diesel is one of the biggest names in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, and would have been an expensive acquisition – particularly considering he just repeats the same line of dialogue throughout, “I am Groot.” Diesel famously had Gunn translate Groot’s lines to lend them the appropriate inflection, which when combined with Diesel’s trademark deep voice, helped create a surprisingly compelling performance. Nevertheless, Diesel and a slew of other MCU actors were recast for What If…? season 2.

Marvel's What if...? Season 2 Poster

What If…?

What If… ? is an animated anthology series set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe which features fan-favorite characters, including Peggy Carter, T’Challa, Doctor Strange, Killmonger, Thor, and more. The new series, directed by Bryan Andrews with AC Bradley as head writer, features signature MCU action with a curious twist. The show sees Uatu the Watcher, an omnipotent being that observes the events of multiple universes from afar as they unfold, unable to interfere. However, things shift when an entity peers beyond the veil, jeopardizing the multiverse. 

Cast
Samuel L. Jackson , Stanley Tucci , Michael Douglas , Sean Gunn , Mark Ruffalo , Karen Gillan , Tom Hiddleston , Jeffrey Wright , Michael B. Jordan , Toby Jones , Sebastian Stan , Paul Rudd , David Dastmalchian , Natalie Portman , Josh Brolin , Dominic Cooper , Jeff Goldblum , Hayley Atwell , Djimon Hounsou , Chadwick Boseman , Taika Waititi , Chris Hemsworth , Neil McDonaugh , Jeremy Renner , Michael Rooker

Season List
What If…? – Season 1 , What If…? – Season 2

Writers
Ashley Bradley , Matthew Chauncey

Why So Many Marvel Actors Don’t Return For What If Season 2

What If Season 2 Avengers at Christmas

What If…? retained many famed MCU actors, though some characters were recast for What If…? season 1. Executive producer Brad Winderbaum noted that these were primarily due to scheduling conflicts between the major stars. However, season 2 featured even fewer MCU actors. Several characters were recast for What If…? season 2, arguably with several contributing factors.

Firstly, many of the original Avengers cast have completed their current contracts with Marvel Studios, and bringing them back in any fashion would mandate fresh contract negotiations – an unnecessarily complicated matter for a few lines of dialogue in an animated show. Secondly, many MCU stars boast impressive paychecks which would greatly strain a production’s budget. Finally, with the upheaval in the entertainment industry following the SAG-AFTRA strikes, the actors’ busy schedules may not have accommodated a What If…? performance. Considering the establishment of the Multiverse in the MCU and the prevalence of variants, the franchise has a handy way out of recasting characters, but replacing Groot was especially surprising.

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