The hit adult animated series Big Mouth on Netflix has recast the role of Missy with Black writer and comedian Ayo Edebiri starting in season 4, episode 9.
This season delves deeper into Missy’s racial identity, a natural progression for the character and the show.
The change comes after former voice actor Jenny Slate stepped down from the role in June, wanting the character to be voiced by someone Black.
Edebiri shared that exploring Missy’s racial identity feels very relevant. “I think similarly to Missy I had to reckon with discovering myself in that context,” she said, referring to attending predominantly white institutions growing up.
The show’s producers decided recasting mid-season made sense narratively. The switch happens in the episode “Horrority House” when Missy attends a debutante ball.
Edebiri believes examining race periodically, rather than making it a constant topic of discussion, reflects real life.
Beyond authentic casting, Edebiri stressed the importance of hiring diverse writers and actually listening to their perspectives. “Not just hiring people because they check off a box,” she said. “Like, hiring them because you value their voice and what they have to say.”
Edebiri joined the Big Mouth writers room last year and landed the voice role shortly after Slate departed.
With the show dealing heavily in the awkwardness of adolescence, Edebiri admitted both the hilarious and painful memories it conjures up.
“It’s very fun and very excruciating,” she said. Still, the opportunity to be part of a show she already loved made recasting Missy something to be celebrated rather than feared.
The more conscious portrayal of Missy’s identity marks continued evolution for Big Mouth in covering sensitive topics around growing up. And Edebiri’s talent and perspective should only add richness to Missy’s story going forward.