Marvel Studios is bringing animation to the MCU with the premiere of What If…? on Disney+ on August 11. The latest Marvel original series will showcase the new Marvel Multiverse and one question changes everything – What if just one thing was different? Now, Jeffrey Wright (Westworld) will star as the all-knowing Watcher in What If…? and he has revealed new details about his experience with the project and the emotional impact of Chadwick Boseman’s final performance as T’Challa AKA Black Panther.
Kevin Feige’s Marvel Studios’ first animated series was expected to stand outside the MCU and explore alternate timelines featuring Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. But after the Loki final episode, when Tom Hiddleston’s Loki and Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) killed He Who Remains (Jonathon Majors) and they freed the Sacred Timeline – new rumors have suggested that What If…? may impact the main MCU timeline in the upcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
The newest series will follow Jeffrey Wright’s the Watcher as he observes the new alternate realities that have sprung into existence, including one where Agent Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) took the super soldier serum instead of Steve Rogers AKA Captain America (Chris Evans) and becomes Captain Carter or Captain Britain. There is also one where Captain America and possibly Wanda Maximoff AKA Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) as zombies being hunted by Peter Parker AKA Spider-Man (Tom Holland).
But one alternate timeline that Marvel fans are anxiously awaiting is the one where T’Challa became Star-Lord instead of Peter Quill (Chris Pratt). It will be Chadwick Boseman’s final appearance, and Jeffrey Wright recently opened up on his experience hearing his voice for the last time.
Actor Jeffrey Wright, who also appeared in the Hunger Games films told Entertainment Tonight:
“It was special for me to get to hear him voice T’Challa once again, and to be a part of that is pretty nice. I think with Black Panther, there’s a mysticism about that film and about that story that captured all of our attention, and there is now a greater mysticism about Chadwick’s life that overlaps with the heroism of that character that he played in a really very special way. We capture a bit of that in his episode of What If, so I look forward to that being shared with fans of his and fans of Marvel.”
Jeffrey Wright worked with Chadwick Boseman on Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (2020), Boseman’s last film performance. But they originally met in a bathroom at ComicCon when Black Panther was first announced and Wright was there promoting Westworld.
He also went on to say he was most excited for fans to see the episode that stars the late Chadwick Boseman, who died of colon cancer last year after countless surgeries. And teased the Watcher’s (AKA Uatu) personal interest in Doctor Strange which could spill over into the Doctor Strange sequel when it hits theaters on March 25, 2022.
Perhaps the James Bond actor could make a cameo in the next Marvel movie to deal with the new multiverse. Now that there are rumors that some characters introduced in What If…? could appear.
Marvel fans have been waiting for more details since Marvel’s What If…? trailer dropped and brought back characters like N’Jadaka / Erik “Killmonger” Stevens (Michael B. Jordan) and Ultron (James Spader) to give the one-off villains a second chance in the Marvel Universe.
The Watcher was first teased back in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017), when Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) and Yondu (Michael Rooker) fly past a group of Watchers, including one played by Stan Lee! But now the main Watcher will be played by the Emmy-, Golden Globe-, and Tony-winning actor Jeffrey Wright, who will be jumping to the DCEU in The Batman where he played Commissioner Gordon.
If you don’t know who the Watchers are, they are the oldest beings in the Marvel universe. They can see all the Multiverse and are sworn to observe and compile knowledge without ever interfering. However, in Marvel Comics, Uatu often breaks his own rules and directly interacts with the Avengers and The Fantastic Four to help guide them.
Jeffrey Wright has called his version of The Watcher “The biggest Marvel fan there is.” He spent a lot of time developing the voice for the Watcher to represent all the fans of the Marvel Universe. He wanted his voice performance to be unique saying:
A lot of times, we hear a character like this that’s very powerful and wise and dramatic, if you look at some of the old films of Greek mythology and even Egyptian mythology and things like this or history, we find that the characters have a British accent. And I have never really figured out why that is. Why does every wise man in the history of cinema or wise woman or sage need to be British? So the first time we encounter The Watcher in the comics on the moon, I figured it was wide open where we could go with the voice and how can we craft together an idea and music to his voice that’s resonant today. So I just went for it and put it down.
As for if Uatu will intervene in What If…? Jeffrey Wright says, “We’ll see. We’ll see.”
Marvel’s Phase 4 is shaping to take the Marvel Cinematic Universe into uncharted territory. And there are new animated series in the works that haven’t been announced that could explore even crazier Marvel Comics ideas.
The Black Panther sequel Wakanda Forever is still production and will hit theaters on July 8, 2022. The cast has been moving on with the man who first brought the titular character to life. Recent behind-the-scenes photos revealed a tribute to T’Challa in the fictional African Nation that was home to Marvel’s first black superhero. The text translates to “REST IN POWER, KING T’CHALLA, OUR HERO, TWAS AN HONOR, WAKANDA FOREVER.”
Actor Chadwick Boseman will be missed, but the majority of the cast will return including Okoye (Danai Gurira), Everett Ross (Martin Freeman), Shuri (Letitia Wright), Ramonda (Angela Bassett), and M’Baku (Winston Duke). Director Ryan Coogler has assured the black community that Chadwick Boseman’s legacy will live on. He has even been confirmed to be appearing in other episodes of What If…?
Let us know in the comments if you are going to have tissues standing by when you watch Chadwick Boseman’s final appearance as T’Challa in What If…?