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The Watcher

What If...?
by yo go re

Time. Space. Reality. It's more than a linear path. It's a prism of endless possibility, where a single choice can branch out into infinite realities, creating alternate worlds from the ones you know. I am the Watcher. I am your guide through these vast new realities. Follow me, and ponder the question, "what if?"

That's the opening narration for every episode of Disney+'s What If...? series, and it serves as a fine introduction to this figure, as well. The Watcher is the Build-A-Figure for the first series of What If...? Marvel Legends (and also Sylvie). Buy six of the seven figures - Zombie Cap had too many new and unreusable molds to also have a BAF piece) and you can assemble the big guy.

This is the first time The Watcher has been a Marvel Legend. The Marvel Select version was a suitable stand-in, but surely there was someone out there who was unhappy that he wasn't a "real" Legend. Of course, anyone with that level of specificity will probably also be unhappy that this is based on the MCU and not on the comics, but at some point you're just looking for excuses to be disappointed.

Watchers are nigh-omnipotent, so they can vary in size quite a bit, from "observing the entirety of a universe in a single glance" big to "it's important to me that I can intimidate human beings with my height" big. This figure is a bit more than 8¾" tall to the top of his head (though his angular collar comes up a little higher than that). It's not the biggest Marvel figure ever, but average-sized people only come up to about nipple-high on him.

This Watcher does not wear a blue and white toga like Uatu does - just asymmetrical blue robes. Wait, it just occurred to me: does this Watcher ever identify himself? I mean, Watchers observe tons of different alternate realities; between the two ongoing What If...? comic series that ran between 1977 and 1998, there were 163 issues, (almost) all of which featured a unique universe, and all of those were watched by the same Uatu. So wouldn't that make him sort of a multiversal singularity? 616 Uatu could look into the MCU any time he wanted - why would this Watcher need to be an alternate version of him? Eh, whatever. His robe has a single billowing sleeve, leaving the left arm bare, and a square of golden armor on his chest with a hexagonal symbol in the center. Maybe it's supposed to be a hypercube?

The Watcher was voiced by Jeffrey Wright, who you might know from Westworld or as Felix Leiter, "a Brother from Langley" in the Daniel Craig Bond films. In honor of that, What If...? gave him darker skin than the rest of the lily-white Watchers (though Hasbro seems to have mistaken "there was warm lighting in several scenes" with "he has a spray tan," because his skin is orange instead of brown). The animators gave him suitably black facial features - a broad nose, thick lips, etc. - and the toy follows suit. The sculpt isn't especially cartoonish, so all the details are captured well and will make him look good even in a comic or live-action toy collection.

His articulation is as you expect from Marvel Legends: a barbell-jointed head, swivel/​hinge shoulders, swivel bicep on the left, double-hinged left elbow, swivel/hinge right elbow, swivel/hinge wrists, balljointed chest, balljointed hips, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees, and swivel/​hinge ankles. The legs won't do much, because of the robe, but they do still exist. He wears little shorts to protect his modesty! There's a notch in the lower half of the torso that ensures you have the dress facing the right way when you put the figure together.

Watcher has no accessories, because he didn't really use any himself. And because he's the BAF, he doesn't get a themed backdrop like all the other figures had: Arc de Triomphe for Captain Carter, alien landscape for Star-Lord, alien city for Nebula, city street for Spider-Man, subway car for Zombie Captain America, and a mystical retreat for Dr. Strange. If Hasbro wanted to get a little more use out of some of this figure's molds in the future, they could do him in his battle armor for Series 2. But even if this is the only figure Hasbro makes of him, it looks great, and will be perfect for looming over your collection and staring at it like a creep.

Zombie Captain America
T'Challa Star-Lord | Captain Carter
Zombie Hunter Spidey | Doctor Strange Supreme | Heist Nebula

-- 12/30/21

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