Shuri, the fan-favorite princess is voiced in What If…? by an actress with ties to both Marvel and DC.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for What If…? Season 1, Episode 6, “What If… Killmonger Rescued Tony Stark?,” streaming now on Disney+.
Marvel’s animated series What If…? has brought back many of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s live-action actors to voice their characters, including Hayley Atwell, Chadwick Boseman, Samuel L. Jackson and Benedict Cumberbatch. The sixth episode features Don Cheadle as Rhodey and Michael B. Jordan as Killmonger.
Notably absent, though, are Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark and Letitia Wright as Shuri. Instead, the Wakandan princess is voiced by actress Ozioma Akagha, who’s no stranger to the Marvel or voicing an animated superhero.
Akagha began acting professionally in 2012. She initially appeared as the lead in a number of short films, including Pacific Coast Haze, I Like You a Latte and I’m Sorry Samantha. She also took a number of one-off guest roles on TV shows like Men at Work, Nashville and 2 Broke Girls.
Akagha’s first voice acting role came in 2016, when she played the hacker Plastic in the video game Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst. Her character assists Faith, the game’s protagonist, in her quest to dismantle the corporation that governs their dystopian city. In 2017, Akagha provided voices for several members of the Manhattan Resistance Cell in Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus. And in 2020, Akagha voiced several obtainable characters in Exos Heroes, the titular character in the apocalyptic game Half-Life: Alyx and Willow in the whimsical ant-sized-human game Grounded. Akagha made her first Marvel appearance in 2018 on the Hulu show Runaways. There, she played a mostly peripheral role as Tamar, the widow of Darius Davis (DeVaughn Nixon) and mother of his child.
In 2019, Akagha began voicing the DC heroine Bumblebee in Teen Titans Go! Bumblebee, aka Karen Beecher, is one of the first Black female superheroes in the DC Universe. In the comics, she’s been a member of the Teen Titans and the Doom Patrol as well as a S.T.A.R. Labs weapons designer. The character has also appeared in DC properties like Young Justice and DC Super Hero Girls. In the first Teen Titans animated series, Bumblebee (voiced by T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh) was first introduced when she was undercover at H.I.V.E., then went on to help form Teen Titans West. Her Go! incarnation joined the team in the Season 5 episode “Forest Pirates.”
Akagha has been busy in 2021. In addition to her turn as Shuri in What If…?, she plays Harper on the OWN series Delilah and provided the voices for Julianna in the time loop-centric video game Deathloop and Flora Flamingo in the Prime Video children’s show Do, Re & Mi. She’s shown she has an impressive range, especially when voice acting. Playing Shuri will no doubt expose her to an even larger and more appreciative audience.
To hear Akagha’s take on Shuri, the newest episode of What If…? is available now on Disney+.
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Who Voices Shuri in What If?