Marvel: Who is The Watcher and what does he do?

The Watcher (voiced by Jeffrey Wright) in Marvel Studios' WHAT IF...? exclusively on Disney+. © Marvel Studios 2020. All Rights Reserved.
The Watcher (voiced by Jeffrey Wright) in Marvel Studios' WHAT IF...? exclusively on Disney+. © Marvel Studios 2020. All Rights Reserved. /

Marvel’s What If…? debuted the Watcher to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in a speaking role, but who is he and who are the Watchers?

Marvel’s What If…? is the first time we’ve really seen The Watcher in action. Some of the Watchers did appear in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. This was their official first appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, yes, but there was no actual dialogue from them as they were listening to the late, great Stan Lee talking to them. This time, however, Uatu, the Watcher (voiced by Jeffrey Wright) has had more interactions with the characters and is the one telling the story to the audience.

We’ve seen and heard from him, but what exactly does he do and who is he?

Who are the Watchers?

The Watchers are among the oldest beings in existence. As time went on, they felt it was their obligation to help other cultures advance. This experiment ended up being a mistake as the race they helped ended up causing more harm than good, using the nuclear energy given to them to cause war.

Ikor, the man who proposed the experiment, felt horrible about what he did. But his son Uatu didn’t agree, saying that his father’s intentions were selfless. However, Ikor came up with a new purpose for the Watchers, decreeing that they would no longer be allowed to interfere in the affairs of humans. All they could do was watch.

For Uatu, this wasn’t the end. He would spend an untold amount of time looking into other realities. He was hoping to find at least one where things went different. So far, it’s always been the same. His father’s selfless acts results in those that they helped using the gifts to hurt and kill others.

Writer’s note: You can find all of this in Marvel Comics Original Sin No. 0.

Uatu the Watcher

The Watchers’ vow of only observing is something they take seriously. After seeing what happened, it’s not shocking that they would because they don’t want to cause more harm than good. As much as they try not to interfere, though, Uatu tends to get involved in the lives of other beings – especially on Earth.

You’d have to use all of your fingers and toes to count the amount of times Uatu has broken the Watchers’ oath. In Fantastic Four No. 48, Uatu visited Marvel’s First Family to warn them of Galactus’ arrival. In Fantastic Four 544, he gave the new Fantastic Four (Ben Grimm, Johnny Storm, Storm, and T’Challa) access to his Cyclopedia Universum. That one wasn’t interfering he claims, but it kinda seems like it to this writer.

On the other hand, there have been other times where the Watcher does exactly what he’s supposed to do. Since they’ve been around for billions of years, they know when important events are going to happen. It’s not just for important to select people; they appear for the kind that will affect the Earth or universe forever. That’s when you normally see a Watcher.

For example, during Marvel Comics’ Civil War, Uatu was present when Goliath was killed by a clone of Thor – a moment that turned the tide of the series.  He also appeared during the final battle of the Secret Invasion. Later in that series, the Wasp disappeared and Norman Osborn became the head of the world’s security. In Fantastic Four No. 550, multiple Watchers observed as one of their own fell into an abyss of nothingness. Harsh, but it’s their job.

Marvel’s What If…?

As of now, the Watcher has not interfered in Marvel’s Disney Plus series What If…?. In episode 4, he flat out told us, the audience, that he wasn’t going to interfere. He could have prevented the end of the universe but, as Uatu said, there’s no reason for him to believe that Doctor Strange would have listened.

In previews and trailers for What If…? we’ve seen Captain Carter, Demented and Demonic Doctor Strange, and Party Thor in the same place. This means that Uatu may intervene at some point. The fate of the entire multiverse may depend on it. As we’ve seen, this won’t be the first time he’s done it and it’s doubtful that it’ll be the last.

Next. Dark Ages: Marvel kills off major heroes in apocalyptic new installment. dark

What do you think? Are you a fan of the Watcher? Do you think he’ll interfere at some point? Let us know in the comments below.