Ayo Edebiri Will Replace Jenny Slate as Missy on Big Mouth

Missy from Big Mouth.
Missy from Big Mouth.
Image: Netflix

Putting its money where its big mouth is, Netflix has followed through on recasting Jenny Slate in Big Mouth.

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A couple of months ago, as much of the animation industry reckoned with its regular tendency to cast non-Black actors to voice Black characters, Jenny Slate, who previously voiced the Black character Missy on Netflix’s Big Mouth, publicly stepped away from the role. Now, as revealed by Variety, actress, writer, and comedian Ayo Edebiri will be taking it on.

“I was definitely a very uncomfortable child, so I think the show speaks to that and a lot of those feelings, which still resonate with me as an adult,” Edibiri said in an interview with Variety. “I’m back home in my childhood bedroom right now and on my bookshelf in between A Series of Unfortunate Events is Bill Clinton’s autobiography and Nelson Mandela’s autobiography and a translation of The Iliad in Latin. I was a true dork. So I don’t think I have to go too far to connect with Missy.”

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The show, helmed by Andrew Goldberg and Nick Kroll, will be handling the transition to the new voice in a novel way. While Slate will voice Missy throughout most of the as-of-yet-unreleased fourth season, Edebiri will take on the role in the season’s final episode, in what is “a really cool and organic place,” said Goldberg.

Edibiri, who has written for NBC’s Sunnyside, originally joined Big Mouth as a writer, before auditioning for Missy alongside a wide number of other actors who were interested in the role after Slate publicly resigned from it.

“It’s about Missy’s continued evolution as a person — that she has all of these different parts of who she is. There’s the sidelines Missy and the more sexually adventurous Missy, mirror Missy, and then also this Missy that she’s been discovering [in Season 4] through hanging out with her cousins and really taking a look at her Black identity,” Nick Kroll told Variety, about the moment when Edibiri takes over.

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According to Edibiri and the show’s creators, the transition will allow the show to tell more nuanced and interesting stories about Missy and her identity, which is one obvious advantage of having people actually involved in that identity working on the show. These stories, Edibiri said, would include “stories you may traditionally not see as fun” set within the show’s humorous context.

“There are lessons to be learned [from the show] and its growing pains — like on the show,” Edibiri said. “To me, it’s nothing but exciting. As a show and as a room and as a moment, it feels like it’s happening, and hopefully it’s here to stay.”

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Big Mouth is currently latein production on its fourth season, which does not yet have a premiere date.


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io9 Weekend Editor. Videogame writer at other places. Queer nerd girl.

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DISCUSSION

will be handling the transition to the new voice in a novel way.

I’m gonna guess a voice change due to puberty. Place your bets, folks!

The situation around this I think is kind of borked. I think it’s better if any person can voice any role. Voice acting has that unique advantage over traditional acting. The real problem is studios haven’t taken full advantage of it. It would be easy to have minorities voice more white roles. This should have been standard from the start, but... you know... racism. And there’s the weird situation of over dubbing any foreign animations, games, etc. I mean, Persepolis is full of Iranian characters, because it’s set in Iran. How many Iranian voice actors are available in each language that they want to translate it to?

I think actors voicing other races isn’t inherently a bad thing. The industry just needs to re-balance things so that minorities have equal opportunities like it should have always been. Because as it is right now, most of the roles available are white characters which can severely harm minority actors’ chances of getting any work at all. That’s probably another issue that will have to be worked on, and rightly so.