The Watcher, our guide through the multiverse in What If…?, from the very first episode has made it clear that he was strictly an observer and could not get involved in the events of those from the universes he watches. In the premiere The Watcher is hardly in the episode, but as What If…? continues he becomes more prominent in the background.
The Illuminerdi had the opportunity to sit down with the Production Designer of What If…?, Paul Lasaine who talked a bit about The Watcher’s journey in the first four episodes.
“Now he’s interacting. So, the idea with The Watcher is he is a watcher only. And he starts off in the first episode barely there…But he’s very much this kind of ethereal character that’s not really there. You don’t really quite know what he is. You barely even see him, you see his eyes and maybe a rim light around the side of his face. And you’ll notice if you watch him each episode he’s getting a little bit more and more physical.
And he’s not just watching anymore in episode four. He’s actually interacting with Strange for one moment, that moment at the very end. So, he’s going to continue developing, you’ll see what happens obviously in the upcoming episodes.”
DOCTOR STRANGE DESTROYING HIS UNIVERSE COULD MARK A TURNING POINT FOR THE WATCHER
The fourth episode of What If…? marked a huge moment for the series as a whole, with Dr. Strange decimating his universe and The Watcher proving himself to no longer be strictly an observer. The episode featured two huge changes in regards to The Watcher and how he interacts with the worlds he observes, but Dr. Strange also revealed an unexpected piece of information about him as well.
During the episode as Dr. Strange is absorbing mystical beings and stealing their power, The Watcher considers warning Strange he is on the wrong path before ultimately deciding against it. But what makes this moment notable is Strange acknowledges him seeming to hear The Watcher in some capacity. And by the end of the episode as the universe had all but disappeared and the final corner was closing in on him as Christine was nearly gone, Strange spotted The Watcher and begged him for help. Although he refused and seemed genuinely saddened by the destruction of a universe due to Strange’s actions.
This episode not only marked the first time a character acknowledged The Watcher, but actually interacted with him as well. And when Strange was begging him for help Strange revealed that he had read about him while doing research in the Lost Library of Cagliostro. This sets a precedent for at least one universe knowing about The Watcher’s existence which means others could as well. And should this Doctor Strange make another appearance he is the only one, that we know of so far, to know about The Watcher which could lead to some interesting possibilities.
Episode four will undoubtedly have an impact on The Watcher moving forward. Watching an entire universe disappear and knowing he could have stopped it had he only intervened is a lot to carry. As JFK once said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” And that is exactly what happened with the corrupted Doctor Strange’s universe, The Watcher stood by as the sorcerer’s darkness consumed the universe while trying to save his lost love.
Although it is unknown if he has seen something like this happen before it is something he could have easily changed, even with a small intervention. It wouldn’t be surprising if The Watcher felt the need to try and stop cataclysmic events in the future with Strange being a cautionary tale.
With five episodes left The Watcher will likely no longer stay in the background continuing to evolve as What If…? progresses. In the trailer there have been multiple shots of characters who are presumably from separate universes brought together. This seems to point to the Guardians of the Multiverse potentially coming to fruition. It would make sense for The Watcher to bring these heroes together to be sure nothing like episode 4 would happen again.
Should another cataclysmic event be on the horizon perhaps with the multiversal tentacle creature from episodes one and four, which could potentially be Shuma-Gorath or an Ultron who looks to have all the Infinity stones of his universe. The Watcher may feel the need to stop either another universe from being wiped out or the multiverse as a whole.
Episode four of What If…? marks an integral turning point for The Watcher and will surely have an important impact on his character moving forward. Production Designer Paul Lasaine teased The Watcher’s continued development, although how exactly he will develop is still a mystery. It wouldn’t be a surprise if this was the moment that sparked the idea that will grow into the Guardians of the Multiverse with The Watcher deciding the multiverse needs protectors from those who seek to destroy it be it maliciously or in error.
How do you think The Watcher will continue to develop throughout What If…? Why do you think the Guardians of the Multiverse could come together? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or on our social media and check back with The Illuminerdi for more MCU and What If…?