Big Mouth‘s co-creators have discussed the popular Netflix animation’s future, as well as going into detail about the decision to recast Missy.
Jenny Slate made the announcement that she would no longer be voicing the biracial character back in June last year, stating that “Black characters on an animated show should be played by Black people.” Two months later, it was confirmed that Ayo Edebiri would be taking over the role.
Speaking on a panel as part of the USC Comedy Festival on Saturday (April 10), Big Mouth co-creators Mark Levin, Andrew Goldberg, and Jennifer Flackett, alongside co-executive producer Kelly Galuska, explained how the recasting came about.
“It’s very complex, actually, because over the course of several seasons, Missy, as a mixed-race character, has been growing,” Levin said, “and [a lot of that] has been driven by the Black writers on our staff.”
He added that Slate had “always had questions and some hesitancy” about the role, and by the time production had wrapped on season four, around the time of George Floyd’s killing, “we all agreed that it was the appropriate time to make the change.”
Edebiri took over the role from Slate in the penultimate episode of season 4, which depicted Missy “awakening to her Black identity” in a hall of mirrors. “It was a combination of events that led to a moment we were already exploring, but with the decision to change the casting, we discovered, this is the perfect moment to do that handoff,” Levin added.
Despite auditioning “a ton of actors” to play Missy, the show’s creators went with Edebiri, who was already a writer on the show. “I think she identified with Missy growing up, and there’s something about Missy that you can’t fake,” Goldberg said.
Levin also revealed that the forthcoming season will “explore a little bit more about kids advocating and becoming political.” Flackett, however, stated that “topical humour is really, really hard,” and that they want the show’s world to remain “somewhat timeless”.
In a four-star review of Big Mouth season 4, NME wrote: “Fewer fart jokes and dystopian explosions, more anxiety mosquitos and a fairer study of the entire group we’ve grown to love over these four seasons: this is the recipe to keep Big Mouth one of the best shows on TV.”