In episode 4 of Marvel and Disney+ animated series What If…?, Doctor Strange starts sensing the Watcher – how this became possible?


Doctor Strange, in episode 4 of Marvel and Disney+ animated series What If…?, stars sensing the Watcher and ends up fully seeing it. But how that became possible? The current Marvel and Disney+ timeline continues with Doctor Strange being at the center. What If…?’s narratives revisit the events of Doctor Strange, particularly the moment where his accident led him to seek help from the Ancient One.

Episode 4 of Marvel and Disney+ animated series What If…? was titled “What If…Doctor Strange Lost His Heart Instead of His Hands?”. It imagines Christine Palmer being spot dead during Doctor Strange’s car accident. This sets him to take the same part in the Sacred Timeline; the difference being that the motivation behind was completely the opposite – to bring Christine back. He shifted his focus on learning sorcery and eventually became the new Sorcerer Supreme and saved Earth against Dormammu. But during the second death anniversary of Palmer, Doctor Strange decided to recommit himself to find a way of resurrecting Christine. He seems to be convinced that this is possible but he didn’t have had any plans to stop until the mission is accomplished.

Strange’s unrelenting spirit is perhaps one of his best traits. In episode 4 of Marvel and Disney+ animated series What If…? these best traits turn out to be his worst. He fails to accept the fact that it all led him down a dark way where he has become obsessed with gaining more power to bring Palmer back. Once he learned the way to acquire power from other beings, Doctor Strange started absorbing demons that end up turning him into an evil being. This version of his character, Strange Supreme, eventually starts to sense the Watcher and at the end, he becomes able to fully see and communicate with him. This showed up as the first time where it happened in an animated series as Uatu was just a silent observer who can’t and won’t interfere with humans. So, how this became possible after all? It is a question that could define how powerful Doctor Strange has become that he was able to break certain realities to learn about the Watcher’s existence and end up communicating with him.


At this point, the events of What If…? are completely different from that of the main MCU timeline. But as the concept of Multiverse shambles after the death of He Who Remains at the end of Marvel and Disney+ series Loki, the difference is no longer guaranteed. The season finale of Loki showed how multiple branches of realities and timelines are overlapping each other and this makes it easier for the events of What If…? to meet right with the main MCU timeline. This means whatever happened to Doctor Strange in this animated series could happen in the Sacred Timeline as well.

Marvel and Disney+ animated series What If…? is currently streaming on Disney+.

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