The latest episode of What If…? on Disney+, Marvel Studios' first animated series, showed that the Watcher could do more than watch. SPOILERS follow for What If…?'s eighth episode, "What If... Ultron Won?" The episode imagines a timeline where Ultron defeated the Avengers, eradicated all life on Earth, acquired the Infinity Stones to take his conquest across the universe, and then surprised even the Watcher by becoming aware of the multiverse. Ultron attacks the Watcher, but the Watcher proves capable of standing his ground, materializing armor, and blasting Ultron with energy. Ultron ultimately gets the best of Watcher, but standing up to an Infinity Stones-empowered robot is no easy task. How powerful is the Watcher?
Old editions of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe describe the Watchers (they are a species, not a single individual) as "omnipotent." In a universe like Marvel's, which contains many beings that appear all-powerful to human eyes, omnipotence is scalable. The Watchers have shown the ability to manipulate reality, bending its rules and conjuring up whatever they may need to remain apart from the timelines they observe.
There's no official ranking of beings in the Marvel Universe. However, the consensus is that the Watchers are weaker than world shapers like the Celestials or primal forces of the cosmos like The Living Tribunal, Phoenix Force, and Eternity. However, they're stronger than beings typically tied to a particular world or planet, such as Odin, Mephisto, He Who Remains, or Dormammu.
Again, this is a rough estimate, and there are means for beings of lesser innate strength to gain power, such as through the Infinity Stones. Still, the Watcher is not someone to take on lightly. Ahead of What If…?'s premiere, the Watcher's voice actor, Jeffrey Wright, talked about the being's power, his arc from observer to participant, and how that affects the performance.
"He's a godlike, omnipotent figure who is larger than life," Wright told D23 Magazine. "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. "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."
What do you think? Let us know in the comments. What If..? will debut its first season finale on Wednesday, October 6th.