Travis Willingham is an actor and VA who has loaned his voice to some incredible roles over the years. Chances are you’ve heard his voice, whether you realise it or not. If you’re a gamer of any kind, you’ve probably heard his voice, especially given the wide range of genres his game work covers.
Travis Willingham – Actor, Geek, Jock
Since his early days Travis has been a total geek and it’s what I love about him. He’s a huge fan of Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit and gets visibly excited whenever he talks about cartoons and video games. It’s amazing to still see that childish excitement in his eyes whenever he talks about these things. That’s pure joy right there. On the flip side, he’s a major fan of the Dallas Cowboys, having played American Football during his youth. At a glance, you’ll see he’s definitely built for the game, and most people would assume he’s just a jock. That’s what makes Travis Willingham so great, he’s both! Sports, video games, theatre, cartoons, he loves them all and is unashamedly proud of all of it, refusing to let stereotypes define him. So let’s take a look at his contributions to geekiness.
As a Voice Actor, it goes without saying that Travis has a pretty great list of Anime performances under his belt. Starting in his college days, he’s loaned his voice to some really cool shows. One of his best known voices would be Roy Mustang in Fullmetal Alchemist and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. He’s provided several voices for Naruto and Naruto: Shippuden (Hachidai, Seimei, Zetsu, Jugo and Fudo, to name a few). He’s also given his voice to some of the characters in Marvel Anime, which brings us nicely to Travis’ next set of impressive roles.
When it comes to the MCU, Travis Willingham has certainly done his fair share. Most notably, he voices Thor in Avengers Assemble, Lego Marvel Superheroes, Guardians of the Galaxy, Ultimate Spider-Man, and Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. He’s been responsible for some of the other voices in these shows, as well as the voices of Hulk, Grey Hulk and the Human Torch in The Super Hero Squad Show.
Interestingly, Travis also loaned his body to the MCU Thor movie, providing the motion capture material for the Frost Giants. (Tell me that’s not cool! …literally). He also followed up on a lot of his series voice roles by voicing his characters in the movies too. Chiefly, Roy Mustang in Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shamballa, Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos and Thor in Marvel’s Super Hero Adventures: Frost Fight. He was also Gorilla Grodd in JLA Adventures: Trapped In Time.
Games Are Real
As an avid gamer, it makes sense that Travis has an extensive list of video game VO under his belt. Obviously some of his Anime and Animation voices feature, such as Hulk and Grey Hulk in Marvel Super Hero Squad, as well as Thor in Lego Batman 2 and 3.
Travis also provided the voice of Azir and Talon in League of Legends and Cell in multiple Dragon Ball games. The one that took me by surprise the most when I found out was Sergei in CoD: Black Ops. I put a lot of hours in to that game and remember the day I got it. At the time I had no idea who Travis was, I was a teenager. In fact, I shared the same view that Travis did at that age, video games may as well have been real; I never paid much thought to the voices behind the characters.
Since then, I’ve heard Travis’ voice in Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor as Hirgon, Castamir in Shadow of War and in multiple World of Warcraft expansions. Rell Nightwind. Rivett Clutchpop and Grizzle Gearslip in Mists of Pandaria. Gazlowe in Warlords of Draenor. Turalyon in Legion and again in Battle for Azeroth (Turalyon, Gazlowe). He’s also done voice work in Halo 4 and Halo 5: Guardians, Injustice 2 as Jay Garrick and The Kingpin in Spider-Man. His most recent roles have been in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order as Jaro Tapal, the Mountaineer in Death Stranding and Thor in Marvel’s Avengers, due out later this year (September 2020).
Finally, it’s time to discuss Critical Role. Every Thursday Travis plays D&D with a group of fellow Voice Actors in a show named Critical Role. Their game is live streamed on the Critical Role Twitch Channel and was originally part of Geek & Sundry in its earlier days. Eventually the show had amassed such a huge following that it formed its own channel dedicated to the show and its many spin-offs and support shows. Travis plays alongside Laura Bailey, Liam O’Brien, Sam Riegel, Ashley Johnson, Taliesin Jaffe, Marisha Ray and, of course, Dungeon Master Matthew Mercer.
Matt Mercer guides the group through a series of adventures and misadventures in the world of Exandria. This is split into Tal’Dorei for Campaign 1 and Wildemount for Campaign 2. In Campaign 1, Travis is Grog Strongjaw, Goliath Barbarian. Grog has an intelligence of 6. That’s right, brains and brawn. In Campaign 2, Travis plays Fjord the Half-Orc Warlock, who is quite different from Grog. Not in the least because one likes to hit things a lot and the other doesn’t. Despite the characters’ differences, Travis plays them extremely well. The voices are perfectly suited but the body language and facial expressions really help convey the characters’ thoughts and emotions. All this helps add to the other amazing performances brought to the table (haha) by the Critical Role cast.
Travis is also a member of Jocks Machina, the big, broad super team of bro-barians consisting of himself and Joe Manganiello. They’re living proof that everyone can enjoy tabletop RPG’s, regardless of how they look. These guys don’t exactly match up to the geek stereotype but that doesn’t stop them from expressing their love for all things geeky.
If you fancy finding out a bit more about Travis, his love for sport, and why/how he got in to voice acting, check out his Between The Sheets interview with Brian W. Foster. It gives a great insight into his motivations and personality. I’d also encourage you to check out the other voice work he’s done that I haven’t already mentioned, it’s way too much to squeeze into one post.
Happy Birthday, Travis! Thank you for all the amazing voices you’ve given to the geeky community.