The season finale of What If…? puts the multiverse in jeopardy as a version of Ultron with the body of Vision, and the power of the Infinity Stones threatens to take over every possible reality. To combat this, the Watcher breaks his oath and calls forth a band of heroes and villains from past episodes to create the Guardians of the Multiverse. Unfortunately, some of these characters were taken at inopportune times, including T’Challa, who, as Star-Lord, saves Peter Quill from Ego. But the voice of Quill, while similar to Chris Pratt’s, isn’t actually his.
Throughout the first season, many actors and actresses from previous Marvel Cinematic Universe films returned to give their voices to their characters in animated form. However, others, for a multitude of reasons, were unable to reprise their iconic characters. This also included Chris Pratt, whose voice is now synonymous with the legendary outlaw, Star-Lord. To take his place in What If…? is veteran voice actor Brian T. Delaney.
Delaney started acting in 2002 in the TV series Hack and has since been part of multiple projects, including film, television, animation and video games. His name can be found in more minor roles for films like Total Recall but has since made a name for himself in voice work, with his first gig being World of Warcraft as the Sha of Pride. Since then, video games have been his mainstay. Some of his roles include Marvel’s Spider-Man, Destiny 2 and Halo 5: Guardians, and thanks to his range of voices, it makes it even harder to decipher if he or Pratt is voicing Star-Lord in the What If…? finale.
Delaney has also done voice work on shows like Archer and Voltron: Legendary Defender. Thanks to these roles, it wasn’t hard for Delaney to nail the timing it takes to voice Peter Quill, and while his lines are brief, they manage to nail every aspect of what makes the character great. For example, after saving Peter, T’Challa tells him that the Ravagers will handle Ego. Quill quickly agrees since this reality has him as a Dairy Queen employee instead of an intergalactic adventurer. But what makes the line so quintessentially Quill is that even if he were Star-Lord, he would still avoid the responsibility at first. Delaney manages to capture that same essence in only a few seconds.
Delaney also masters Quill’s unintentional comedic lines. For example, when he sees The Watcher peering from behind T’Challa’s shoulder, Quill states, “…hang back with the giant baby man-cape dude.” While he wasn’t trying to crack a joke, it’s hard not to chuckle at a description that only Peter Quill could deliver on. Delaney knows that Quill is far from a serious character, and when strange things happen to him, he often faces it with humor. Thanks to his delivery, he shows that this trait still sticks with Quill no matter the reality.
Brian T. Delaney has been in the voice acting profession for a long time. As a result, he has mastered the ins and outs of the craft and can deliver memorable performances whether the role is big or small. That same effect can be seen with his turn as Quill as he takes all of the small vocal patterns and inflections of the character and brings them to life in a new way.
To see Peter Quill in action, Season 1 of What If…? is streaming now on Disney+.
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