Robin Williams Almost Portrayed the Very First Live-Action Marvel Character

Robin Williams Almost Portrayed the Very First Live-Action Marvel Character
Image credit: Warner Bros, Universal Pictures

Why did Robin Williams agree to the role in the infamous movie, but then turned it down?

Robin Williams is one of the few actors who never starred in a superhero movie. Well, you might be surprised, but he was actually set to voice the main character of the very first Marvel movie.

Before the Avengers assembled on-screen, before Spider-Man swung from skyscrapers, the first attempt at bringing a Marvel character to the big screen was with Howard the Duck.

It's not the most well-known Marvel character, but with the 80s vibes, a sarcastic, anthropomorphic duck seemed like a solid choice.

Robin Williams, with his unmatched energy and voice acting talents, was initially brought on to voice Howard. He even started to work on the project but eventually refused to take part. What happened?

Williams' stint as Howard was, sadly, short-lived. He was on board for a mere three days. Chip Zien, the actor who eventually voiced the character, revealed in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, what made Williams step away.

Robin Williams Almost Portrayed the Very First Live-Action Marvel Character - image 1

The process was the culprit. The filmmakers wanted Robin to sync his voice to Howard's animatronic beak movements, which were pre-recorded.

Now, if you know anything about the late Williams, you'd know the man was a force of nature when it came to improvisation. Asking him to match his voice to the beak was like asking a bird not to fly.

Williams felt so constrained that, after giving it a shot for a couple of days, he decided it wasn’t for him. The creative freedom just wasn't there, and Robin was all about going with the flow and adding his unique touch.

Even though Robin didn't end up voicing Howard, the film still has its own niche spot in history as the first live-action Marvel attempt. And while it wasn't the smashing success that today's Marvel blockbusters are, it laid the groundwork for what was to come.

As for Robin, he went on to do other fantastic voice roles (Genie from Aladdin is the best example). And though we can only dream about the magic he would have infused into Howard, we should say that Chip Zien managed to deliver a solid performance as a talking duck.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter