WHAT IF…? Who is Uatu? The Watcher Explained

Uatu comes from a very ancient race, commonly known as the Watchers. Under the promise of never interfering in the events on Earth, Uatu is a recurring character in Marvel's stories.
WHAT IF... Who is Uatu The Watcher Explained
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In the Marvel Universe, a race is dedicated to watching humanity’s – and other races’ – every move without interfering, only to monitor the existence of life in the universe.

They are the Watchers, cosmic guards who hold all the knowledge of history. And among the most famous of them is the Watcher of Earth: Uatu.

In the comics, Uatu watches from afar as the publisher’s most meaningful events unfold. He was present in several landmark events in Earth’s history, from the arrival of Galactus to the Superhuman Civil War.

What if…?, the new animated series from Marvel Studios exclusive to Disney+, shows a glimpse into different realities of the multiverse.

Each story is told from Uatu, The Watcher‘s point of view, the mysterious cosmic entity with a particular interest in the alternate histories of the MCU’s main heroes.

In the movies, he may be a key piece to understanding Doctor Strange’s insanity from Doctor Strange 2: Into the Multiverse of Madness and how Jane Foster assumes the mantle of Goddess of Thunder in Thor: Love and Thunder.

Check out the fundamental facts to help you better understand Uatu!

Who is the Uatu, The Watcher?

WHAT IF... Who is Uatu The Watcher Explained - Who is the Uatu, The Watcher?

Uatu comes from a very ancient race, commonly known as the Watchers. They came from a very advanced society, and for a time, believed that their goal was to roam the universe, helping less advanced societies find evolution through technology.

Everything changed when Ikor, one of the race representatives, ended up giving technology to a planet called Prosilicus, which was used to create nuclear weapons and mass destructing devices.

This caused the Watchers to adopt a vow to keep an eye on civilizations, but without interfering. Uatu was then assigned to watch over Earth.

His first encounter with humans occurred in 1602 when a future version of Captain America was sent into the past, creating several ruptures in space-time. Acting against the vow of his race, he interfered, restoring reality.

Many years later, he appears in a Fantastic Four adventure on the moon. From then on, he had several secondary appearances, always seen on the set as a silent observer during significant events that would completely change the history of humankind.

Uatu, The Watcher First Appearance

WHAT IF... Who is Uatu The Watcher Explained - Uatu, The Watcher First Appearance

Created by the most incredible comic book duo of all-time – Stan Lee and Jack Kirby – the enigmatic Uatu first appeared in April 1963, in Fantastic Four #13, in a story involving the team facing the evil Red Ghost.

As time went by, the character had a consistent presence in the team’s magazines. Eventually, Uatu starred in his own title – The What If…? comic book series, where several events are recreated differently.

Each issue explored a different story, always investigating how the situation would develop if a small change were made to the main Marvel stories.

For example, some of the more famous titles are: What would happen if the Avengers had never existed? What would happen if Jane Foster had found the hammer? What would happen if the Hulk had Bruce Banner’s intelligence?

Base on the Moon

WHAT IF... Who is Uatu The Watcher Explained

When he was assigned as a Watcher on Earth, Uatu had to find a base to establish himself from where he could observe all events from a distance. So he settled in the Blue Area of the Moon, a part of the satellite where the air is breathable.

The Kree created the base when the alien race came to Earth to experiment on humans – who would later become the Inhumans. This area was also where Attilan – the moon base of the Inhumans – was set up, although they and Uatu barely met.

How Many Times Has Uatu Interfered on Earth?

WHAT IF... Who is Uatu The Watcher Explained - How Many Times Has Uatu Interfered on Earth?

When Tiamut scanned Uatu in Eternals #5, he found that Uatu broke the rules 337 times to help the Earthlings. This is because Uatu believed in Otmu‘s philosophy, which said that the simple act of observing is already an interference in itself.

So, since doing nothing or doing something would have consequences, Uatu always chose to do the right thing. From this belief, he began to help humanity occasionally, even if this pitted him directly against other Watchers.

His most popular interference happened when Galactus decided to invade Earth. He not only tried to hide the planet but actively worked with the Fantastic Four to prevent the end of his sector.

In other situations, where the planet would not be in danger of destruction, he just watched – as in Civil War and Avengers vs. X-Men.

Uatu’s Trial

WHAT IF... Who is Uatu The Watcher Explained - Uatu's Trial

After years of a risky lifestyle, Uatu was judged by his own people. The last straw was when he physically opposed Captain Mar-vell, defending the interests of the Lunatic Legion, a faction of Kree who lived on his side of the moon.

He pleaded innocence, explaining the contradiction of the prevailing system that Otmu’s philosophy exposed. Moreover, the actions and emotions he saw among the Earthlings eventually influenced him.

In the end, he rethinks his attitudes and is released, vowing never again to interfere in mediocre matters, a promise which he obviously did not keep.

Who killed the Uatu, The Watcher?

WHAT IF... Who is Uatu The Watcher Explained - Who killed the Uatu, The Watcher?

In the Original Sin saga, the Watchman met his ultimate end.

The heroes of Earth were called to the Blue Area of the Moon, where Uatu lived, and found him dead, with a giant gunshot wound in his head and his two eyes gouged out. An investigation began to determine the guilty party.

Uatu’s eyes were used by the villainous Orb to reveal several secrets on Earth – secrets that had only been observed by the Watcher. It was later discovered that Uatu’s killer was the original Nick Fury, following an attack by several villains on the Watcher’s base on the Moon.

After being revealed as the assassin at the saga’s end, Nick Fury told his motives: a group of villains had attacked Uatu and removed one of his eyes. To find out who the culprit was, he needed to pluck out the Watcher’s other eye – even to prevent one of his secrets from leaking out.

However, the Watchmen were not kind to the spy. To punish him for Uatu’s death and fill the gap left by the Watcher on Earth, they turned Nick Fury into the new Watcher. Taking on the name Unseen, he took Uatu’s place, watching major events on Earth.

This arc was the trigger for Jane Foster‘s transformation into Thor. After discovering the dirt on the universe, Fury told a dark secret in Odinson’s ear that made him feel unworthy to carry the Mjolnir, leaving the way clear for Mighty Thor to emerge.

The heroine will make her debut in Thor: Love and Thunder, but the Watcher’s influence should change in the movies.

Uatu’s Powers and Abilities

WHAT IF... Who is Uatu The Watcher Explained - Uatu's Powers and Abilities

Like other Watchers, Uatu has several superhuman abilities at his disposal, starting with telepathy, which can be combined to expand other powers mentally.

Uatu can also turn invisible, generate illusions, and alter his size. He also needs immortality to watch all the events of existence, but his body was not invulnerable and could be killed by unnatural causes.

Not to mention the ability to control time and space. Uatu can teleport, travel through time, create force fields, fly, and manipulate energy. On top of all this, their cosmic senses are super keen to let nothing slip by in the universe.

Uatu in The Game World

WHAT IF... Who is Uatu The Watcher Explained - Uatu in The Game World.

In the games, the Watcher appears as in the comics – as an active observer, watching Earth from a distance. Because of this, he was always portrayed as a non-playable character since it made no sense to make him in any other way.

He appeared in several games. Spider-Man for PlayStation was the first. Later, he appeared in the animations of Marvel Ultimate Alliance, the extinct Marvel Heroes, and as an NPC in Super Hero Suad Online and Avengers: Battle for Earth.

Uatu in TV and Cinema

WHAT IF... Who is Uatu The Watcher Explained - Uatu in TV and Cinema

Uatu has appeared in several animated series on television, notably the 90s series Fantastic Four, X-Men, The Incredible Hulk, and Silver Surfer. In addition, he was in Super Hero Squad Show and Avengers Assemble.

In theaters, we saw the Watcher in a few scenes from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – although we’re not sure if one of them was Uatu.

However, Uatu is present in the first animated series of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, What If…?, dubbed by Jeffrey Wright.

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PopCorn Princess

PopCorn Princess

Hey there, I'm Princess. I’m an annual comic con attendee, Star Wars-loving, and collector freak. My mission is simple: To bring cool geeky news and content and share my passion with the rest of the world. (... I secretly wish to save the world as a superheroine...)