X-Men '97: The Watcher Cameo Explained by Marvel Animation Boss

X-Men '97 featured a major Marvel cameo with The Watcher, so what was the thinking behind it?

Marvel's X-Men '97 didn't just include the Children of the Atom, it had cameos galore from the pages of Marvel Comics. This included not only fellow X-Men characters with brief appearances, but also a lot of The Avengers too. One of the hardest to see moments however was a blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo by none other than Uatu The Watcher, the character voiced by Jeffrey Wright for Marvel Animation's other hit series, Marvel's What If...? Speaking with ComicBook's Phase Zero podcast in an exclusive new interview, Marvel Animation head Brad Winderbaum broke down that moment and what it means for the larger Marvel Cinematic Multiverse. 

"As you know, The Watcher appears at moments of great magnitude throughout the Marvel Universe. As a comic fan I love What If...? But also, in the main continuity, The Watcher moments that really stand out for me are the ones where he just is there because you know the sh-t's about to hit the fan. That was the intention there. You can feel the temperature of that episode. It's crazy how visceral it is. And when The Watcher appears in the sky, for those people that notice it, it is supposed to feel like a bit of a harbinger of doom I would say."

Marvel's What If...? is set to premiere its third season in the not-too-distant future, with X-Men '97 season two in the pipeline as well. It's unclear how much of a connection the two movies will continue to have, but given the gravity of almost every episode of X-Men '97 it's hard to imagine that Uatu won't appear again. 

The crossover potential between the two shows however will likely be a one way street. Functionally, Marvel's What If...? has been and will continue to be about remixing the feature films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. X-Men characters could almost certainly appear in it at some point, but Marvel Studios will first need to start releasing X-Men movies. Deadpool & Wolverine will be their first, but consider the multiversal madness happening in that movie, it's hard to imagine a What If...? story coming out of it.

Of note however is that Marvel's What If...? season 3 does seem to be aligning in a way with upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe feature films. The first photos from the next batch of episodes feature Anthony Mackie's Sam Wilson in his full Captain America gear, with another showing off Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) and Red Guardian (David Harbour) teaming up in an episode. Upcoming movies on the schedule of course include Captain America: New World Order and Marvel's Thunderbolts*, with these new episodes perhaps being made to tie into those films in some way. That in mind, Marvel fans can hope for X-Men in What If...? at some point.