Marvel Studios may introduce one of its strongest characters to the Marvel Cinematic Universe — or multiverse — in the upcoming Disney+ series What If…? That character is Uatu the Watcher, who, as his name implies, is an observer who watches as the Marvel Universe’s stories unfold. Uatu is sworn not to become involved in those tales, but he’s broken his vow on occasion and proved a powerful ally. Jeffrey Wright voices the character in what will be Marvel Studios’ first animated series. In a recent issue of D23 Magazine (via The Direct), Wright talked about Uatu’s considerable power and the effort it takes to humanize him for audiences.
“He’s a godlike, omnipotent figure who is larger than life,” Wright says. “The challenge with a character like that is: How do you make him human? How do you make him relatable? He is mysterious, but he’s also kind of dangerous. You want to know more, and you’re hanging on his every word as he invites you into all these stories.”
Wright also hints that, as in the comics, Uatu could get drawn into the conflicts he observes. “In the comics, he’s an observer—and then some,” Wright says. “Here, in the first season, he starts off as an observer, but he gradually becomes more compelled by what he watches.”
It’s noteworthy that Wright says the “first season,” as if more could be in the works. He stops short of confirming anything, but he implies a multiverse of potential in the series, and he’s ready for all of it.
“There are infinite possibilities with this series within the MCU,” Wright says. “I’m open to all of it. One thing I think we’re realizing with Marvel and Kevin Feige’s leadership is that these are broad, broad canvasses they’re painting on. I don’t even try to anticipate, so I’m just open to all of it – as The Watcher would be.”
A.C. Bradley developed What If…? for Disney+. He suggests that watching the show’s first 10-episodes will be like watching a Marvel Studios film. It’s a film where T’Challa is Star-Lord, Peggy Carter is Captain America, and the Tesseract powers Iron Man’s armor.
“Kevin said that we will be exploring every movie in a new way, but not every episode is about one movie if that makes sense,” Bradley told Discussing Film in 2019. “On the reel [shown at D23 Expo], there is this image of a Star-Lord T’Challa because we wanted to see what if the worlds of Black Panther and the Guardians of the Galaxy collided? That was taking two universes, two to three movies, kind of twisting them in new ways.”
Are you excited about What If…? Let us know in the comments. What If…? debuts on Disney+ in August.