In Hollywood, there are a few roles that hold a special weight in the hands of fans across the world. These include Bruce Wayne, James Bond, and, of course, Peter Parker, who has most recently been portrayed by Tom Holland.
When an actor is asked to portray any of these characters, they know that there is something special behind it, and they will be etched in the stones of history forever.
That is what happened when Hudson Thames realized he was cast to voice Peter Parker in the Zombie episode of What If..?.
Being able to play Peter Parker in any respect is something that has a huge impact on an actor's career. But for someone like Hudson, who built his career as a musician before diving into acting, this is something that opened his eyes to how special this wall-crawling nerd is to audiences everywhere.
Spider-Man Actor Walks Through Process of What If...?
In an exclusive interview with The Direct, Spider-Man voice actor for What If...? Hudson Thames talked about how the process of becoming Peter Parker was a “super, super, super on the low situation:”
“It was honestly a pretty standard procedure in terms of arriving at the role. I got called for this audition, and I wasn't told anything about it. It wasn't for Spider-Man. It was for something that doesn't exist. It's funny, they walked me through at Disney, all the underground secret tunnels or whatever. I was a super, super, super on the low situation. I went and read a bunch of dialogue. Got a call a week later and said we are going to this thing. I signed a bunch of papers saying I wasn't going to talk about it. And then we did the dang thing.”
Thames went on to speak on how he “didn't get the impact of what it is until you see the finished product” despite knowing he is playing one of the biggest names in the MCU:
“It's actually funny. With the voiceover situation, you don't really get the impact of what it is until you see the finished product. And maybe that's just me. So I voiced the role to a lot of temp illustrations, and it wasn't really finished. I did definitely feel like there was a ton of heart in it. I felt the dialogue was written really incredibly. And I already was really excited about it. But, I didn't really get the full impact until I got a ton of messages at midnight when it came out saying 'Dude you gotta watch this!'”
Once Thames realized the weight of his role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and his place in the Peter Parker pantheon, he knew it was something “really special:”
“It was really special. It was really cool to talk about Uncle Ben for the first time which I knew was a really big thing for people. And yeah, it was really cool. Really special.”
Who Am I? I'm Spider-Man!
The What If..? process is unique in the sense that it combines the ambiguity of a secret Marvel project along with the parceled aspects of voice acting. Being able to land this role without really knowing what he was auditioning for is something that Thames never thought was in the realm of possibility. But here he is, another iconic rendition of Peter Parker alongside the likes of Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, and Tom Holland.
For someone like Thames who is primarily a musician, this opens up his name and fan base to the biggest cinematic universe ever made. To be a part of the MCU is already a huge milestone for any young actor's career. But to portray one of the most recognizable comic book heroes of all time is a completely different ballgame, especially in 2021.
With Tom Holland's Spider-Man: No Way Home just around the corner, Thames enters the Peter Parker club at a time when everyone on the internet is constantly debating who their favorite version of Peter Parker is.
Thames has played the role in one episode of a show that dives into alternative and semi-canonical universes. It is also animated. So it is unclear if Hudson will enter the race for top Peter Parker. But that does not mean his impact is any less than those who came before him.
Being the star of this episode that features 24 MCU characters and also being the first to mention Uncle Ben in the MCU are two elite-level Spider-Man trophies to put on the shelf at the Thames household.
For good measure, Thames even gave The Direct a taste of what his version of Peter Parker would sound like giving one of the most iconic lines in Spider-Man history: