What If…? actor Jeffrey Wright on his Watcher influences, including The Twilight Zone and Fantastic Four

Marvel's What If...?
(Image credit: Disney/Marvel)

The Watcher acts as storyteller and narrator for the upcoming What If…? Marvel series on Disney Plus. In each episode, he’s set to guide us through a series of alternate universes and unique takes on familiar MCU characters – but he must never interfere.

So when he talks, you really should listen, especially when he’s voiced by Westworld’s Jeffrey Wright.

Wright spoke to GamesRadar+ about the challenge of finding the voice of a character that so rarely speaks, including going back to the character’s first comic book appearance and drawing from other pop culture inspirations.

"[Marvel] described him as being the caretaker of the series. But I just went back and dug into the comics to find out who he was and discovered him in 1963 – Fantastic Four [#13]," Wright says of his initial preparation for the role.

"I went back in and discovered him there where he’s described as the most dramatic being in all the known universes or something to that effect. That was a great beginning – to see his physical scale but also the scale of his powers. That gave me a lot of information in terms of what kind of voice he might have. What voice would he have that would echo throughout the multiverse? Then I just tried to play that as best I could," Wright reveals.

But it’s not just the pages and panels of Marvel’s history that spoke to Wright. Two very different frames of reference also helped create his version of The Watcher.

"[Twilight Zone host] Rod Serling very much came to mind. Some cross between Rod Serling and a guy in his basement on his couch just watching everything that is streamed, watching it all... He is the biggest Marvel fan in all the known universes… For that reason, I think audiences can see these worlds through his eyes and connect with him as a kindred spirit," Wright explains.

What If…? writer AC Bradley has also told us about two things that were off-limits in the upcoming series – including a Star Wars crossover. Twilight Zone, eat your heart out.

What If…? starts streaming on Disney Plus from August 11. For more on the MCU's future, check out our guide to Marvel Phase 4.

Bradley Russell

I'm the Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.