I Am Groot Director Describes Jeffrey Wright’s ‘Magic Touch’ as the Watcher

Season 2 of I Am Groot, Marvel Studios’ series of animated shorts about Baby Groot, includes an appearance from the Watcher, last seen in What If…? According to I Am Groot director Kirsten Lepore, the Watcher’s voice actor Jeffrey Wright is an irreplaceable part of what makes the mysterious Celestial character work.

In an interview with Marvel, Lepore talked about creating “Groot and the Great Prophecy,” the fifth and final episode of the new season. “I was ecstatic to be able to work with Jeffrey Wright,” she said. “He was incredible to record. And he brought such magic and such life to [The Watcher].”

Lepore explained that she had loaned her own voice as proof of concept for the episode before official recording began, and that “it wasn’t quite working.” Even after a Marvel editor “who does a good Watcher voice” recorded the Watcher’s lines in preparation, the creative team was uncertain about whether they were on the right track. Lepore recalled that “none of us were quite sure if it was going to work until Jeffrey got in the room and recorded. Then instantly, we were like, you just need the guy, you need the real guy. He just has a total magic touch that he put on it, and it was beautiful to see it come to life with his voice.”

Groot tests the patience of the Watcher

In “Groot and the Great Prophecy,” Groot wanders through an Indiana Jones-style booby-trapped temple while the Watcher speaks of a destiny he must fulfill. However, the little tree is interested only in entertainment and relaxation, causing the Watcher to panic over the consequences of ignoring the prophecy.

Wright first voiced the Watcher, a character from Marvel Comics also known as Uatu, throughout Season 1 of What If…? Exploring alternate outcomes from events in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, What If…? is an animated series which uses voice talent from actors reprising their MCU roles and also introduces characters new to the multiverse, including the Watcher. A second season of the show has been announced and is expected to drop this December.

I Am Groot Seasons 1 and 2 are streaming now on Disney+, as well as Season 1 of What If…?