Ayo Edebiri joins Big Mouth to replace Jenny Slate’s role as Missy.
Last month both Jenny Slate and Kristen Bell announced they were no longer going to voice mixed characters. They cited “Black characters should be played by Black people”. Since that time The Umbrella Academy’s Emmy Raver-Lampman replaced Bell on Apple TV’s Central Park and now we know who will be replacing Slate’s role on Big Mouth.
Edebiri, who is already a writer on the show, will now voice the character.
“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,” she told 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.”
Ayo Edebiri joins Big Mouth as Missy beginning in the penultimate episode of season 4 and beyond. Slate will continue to voice Missy for the upcoming season 4 because the series is already in pre-production.
Slate was going to voice the character for the entirety of the fourth season, but that plan changed. “By the time we made the decision to cast Ayo, we had finished all of Season 4 and delivered it to Netflix,” co-creator Andrew Goldberg told Variety. “But, they found a moment where Edebiri could come in earlier.
“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,” said co-creator Nick Kroll.
Edebiri added, “There are lessons to be learned [from the show] and it’s growing pains — like on the show. 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.”
Interestingly enough Edebiri was already a part of the writers’ room for the show’s upcoming fifth season before booking the role. And she has already recorded her Season 4 dialogue.
Slate voiced Missy since the show’s inception in 2017. In June of this year she announced she was stepping down from the role. “Black characters on an animated show should be played by Black people,” she said. At that time, the co-creators of the show released a statement apologizing and expressing regret for casting a white actor to voice a biracial character. They said they were looking forward to furthering the character’s growth once recast. Since this announcement came so publicly and before they had even discussed casting anyone new, the team was able to cast a wider net when looking for the new Missy than usual.
The premiere date for season 4 has yet to be announced.