Binge Watcher

How What If's ending sets up a major Marvel Phase 4 cameo

Watch out, Kang.

The season 1 finale of Marvel’s What If…? saw The Watcher (Jeffrey Wright) break his solemn oath not to intervene in the multiverse.

Desperate to stop Infinite Ultron’s multiversal campaign of destruction, The Watcher is forced in What If…? Episode 9 to pull heroes out of their respective universes and bring them together to take on the powerful AI villain.

It’s a decision that — as much as he resisted it — pays off for The Watcher, with the heroes beating Ultron and most returning to their timelines. The Watcher, meanwhile, resumes his post as the multiverse’s appointed observer, though he’s more protective of his “home” than he was at the series’ start.

All of this begs one central question.

When will we see The Watcher again?

The Watcher and Doctor Strange Supreme say goodbye to each other in What If...? Episode 9Marvel Studios

One obvious answer is What If…? Season 2, which is already in the works and will undoubtedly feature the character as its narrator. However, there’s no concrete release date set for What If…? Season 2, and there’s still a chance we’ll see The Watcher again before the animated Disney+ series’ sophomore season drops.

To put it simply: this writer believes The Watcher will appear in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

The film, which may be the most-anticipated title in Marvel’s Phase Four, is set to explore the multiverse more deeply than any Marvel film before it. Considering The Watcher’s role within the multiverse, that alone suggests The Watcher could appear in Multiverse of Madness.

The Watcher, as seen in What If...? Episode 9.Marvel Studios

Having The Watcher appear in Multiverse of Madness would also create an elegant parallel between it and What If…? Season 1, which saw a dark version of Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) become the first of the show’s heroes to notice and interact with The Watcher. The two characters developed a surprisingly strong bond in the show’s Season 1 finale, which would make an appearance from the Watcher in Multiverse of Madness more interesting.

Additionally, giving The Watcher a brief, live-action cameo in Multiverse of Madness would allow Marvel to lay breadcrumbs for the character to have a more prominent presence in the MCU in the future. After all, The Watcher doesn’t just call the multiverse his “home” at the end of What If…? Episode 9 — he also promises that he will “protect it to the end.”

Kang’s Greatest Enemy

Jonathan Majors as He Who Remains, a Kang the Conqueror variant, in Loki Episode 6.Marvel Studios

The Watcher’s final promise in the What If…? Season 1 makes it explicitly clear that he’s going to continue watching over the multiverse both in the show’s second season and outside of it. The series’ Season 1 finale establishes that the character will break his oath when dangerous new threats to the multiverse emerge, which means that The Watcher will presumably play some role in whatever Marvel’s Kang the Conqueror storyline ends up being.

The Loki Season 1 finale established that Kang is a threat not only to one reality within the MCU but to all of them. That makes Kang a danger that would catch the attention of The Watcher and motivate him to step into the foreground again.

The comics have already seen The Watcher break his oath at various points to stop Kang from disrupting the multiverse. There’s no reason to believe the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s version of The Watcher won’t end up doing the same thing at some point soon.

Marvel Studios

The Inverse Analysis — What If…? Season 1 was a practical, enjoyably lighthearted way for Marvel to bring The Watcher into the MCU. However, one mystery remaining how the studio does or does not plan to use the character outside of his animated Disney+ series.

It is always possible that The Watcher will only appear in What If…?, but we have a hard time believing that’s what Marvel has planned for the character. He’s too powerful and exciting a figure to limit his presence to one series. Given the character’s role in the multiverse, it wouldn't make much sense for him to remain absent from non-What If…? films and shows.

And when it comes to which upcoming MCU titles The Watcher could appear in, none make more sense than Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The film’s multiversal story makes it the perfect vehicle to feature The Watcher’s live-action debut in the MCU — one that could be followed by the character’s confrontation with none other than Kang the Conqueror.

What If…? is streaming now on Disney+.