Marvel Star Jeffrey Wright Teases Twilight Zone-Esque Narrator In MCU's What If...? Show

By Richard Nebens Updated:
Rod Serling, Watcher, What If...?

While Marvel Studios is set to bring seven new live-action entries into the MCU, continuing the trend of the first 13 years, the franchise is about to take a bold step into the world of animation with this summer's What If...?. The series is set to take a deep look back at the Infinity Saga, exploring what would have happened with details of past movies changed to something different.

Recently, the first episode was confirmed to be one teased for most of the last couple of years, in which Peggy Carter takes the Super Soldier Serum instead of Steve Rogers in Captain America: The First Avenger. Additionally, fans were thrilled to learn that both Spider-Man movies are set to be included in some fashion, bringing the Sony-owned web-slinger's alternate stories into play with his Avengers teammates.

The most recent release concerning this show focuses on the series' central figure and describes what fans should expect from him.


Marvel What If

In the Summer 2021 issue of Disney’s D23 Magazine obtained by The Direct, the cast and crew of Marvel Studios' What If...? spoke about the challenges of bringing Jeffrey Wright's Watcher to life on Disney+.

Producer Brad Winderbaum described the Watcher as "a godlike, omnipotent figure who is larger than life" before looking at the challenges of tackling the character. Winderbaum teased that Wright's figure is "mysterious" and "kind of dangerous," leaving fans with a need to know more through the show's ten episodes:

"He's a godlike, omnipotent figure who is larger than life. 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."

Jeffrey Wright described his character as something like Marvel's take on Rod Serling from The Twilight Zone, looking back to the Watcher in the comics as "an observer - and then some." While he begins as an observer in early episodes, Wright revealed that the Watcher "gradually becomes more compelled by what he watches" in front of him:

“In the comics, he's an observer—and then some. Here, in the first season, he starts off as an observer, but he gradually becomes more compelled by what he watches."

Wright himself is already looking forward to the future of What If...?, commenting on how "there are infinite possibilities with this series within the MCU." He described the open possibilities as "broad, broad canvasses [Marvel and President Kevin Feige are] painting on," and the actor is "open to all of it:"

"There are infinite possibilities with this series within the MCU. 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."


While The Twilight Zone hasn't been brought up much in relation to Marvel's What If...?, the two shows appear to have more in common than fans may have initially expected.

The trippy '60s show took a similar approach to what Marvel is doing six decades later, looking at isolated scenarios that would be different from real life with minor details adjusted for each story. While it's unclear if the MCU will take the same route in terms of individual stories (especially with the Guardians of the Multiverse tease) this wacky adventure seems to have an interesting impact on the franchise's first animated adventure.

Jeffrey Wright's Watcher is set to play the starring role as movies and stories from the Infinity Saga are reworked, somewhat embodying Serling's Twilight Zone guide in the form of a Marvel Comics personality. With a high chance that this MCU entry could continue after its initial season, it's clear that Wright is open to exploring anything that may come his way.

What If...? will likely release on Disney+ sometime in August 2021.

- In This Article: What If...? (Season 2)
Release Date
December 22, 2023
Jeffrey Wright
- About The Author: Richard Nebens
Richard Nebens joined The Direct in March 2020, now serving as the site's Senior Writer and also working as an assistant editor and content creator. He started his journalism career as a hobby in 2019 and is passionate about sharing news and stories from the entertainment industry, especially comic book movies, comedy, and sci-fi. Richard looks to expand his knowledge about movies and TV every day, and he is eager to stay locked into the latest releases and breaking news at every opportunity.