The Witness is a temporal anomaly. He exists at the confluence of all the timelines. This simply means that he is able to exist at all points in time at once. It is in this way that he is able to know everything before it happens.
In the future timeline that Bishop hails from, many rumors surrounded his past; none were ever verified. He was said to have been an X-Man; moreover, he was also said to have been the last person to see the X-Men alive. Because of this he was known simply as ‘The Witness,’ although he also went by another name, LeBeau.
The Witness raised Bishop as a child, until his grandmother had come and taken him away from the Witness' clutches. Bishop has never elaborated on his upbringing with the Witness, nor why the Witness should have taken an interest in him, but it was hinted that Bishop's grandmother was actually an elderly Storm. After leaving the Witness, both Shard and Bishop were raised by this "Grandmother" and a mysterious man named Hancock.
The Witness became the head of a huge technology corporation called Stark/Fujikawa. He had vested interests in the X.S.E. (Xavier's Security Enforcers), a mutant police force of which Bishop was a member. Stark/Fujikawa were working on a holographic replica prototype that would augment or replace X.S.E. operatives in battle. Bishop's sister, Shard, worked on the project, and had her brother personally test the prototype's effectiveness. Bishop found that the hologram was unable to adapt to new situations and branded it a failure. It would only be possible to remove this flaw by processing the brain of the X.S.E. agent that the hologram would be replicating – a process that was only in its experimental stages and could kill the agent. Shard suggested that the problem would be solved if the Witness were willing to share the Shi'ar technology he possessed, but his representative, Lycadeon, inferred that the Witness was not prepared to share any of his secrets. This was a fact that was to be proven true time and time again.
Later, Shard was killed by the soul-stealing Emplates. Bishop, desperate to save his sister, went to the Witness, asking to have her brainwaves downloaded into a holographic replica of her. However, the Witness already seemed to know what Bishop wanted. He agreed to help Bishop save his sister if Bishop would quit the X.S.E. and serve him for a year. Bishop was reluctant, but he agreed.
Having struck his bargain with the Witness, Bishop became a valued agent of Stark/Fujikawa, although what he did during that time was something he never wished to talk about. Hecate, the head of X.S.E., had asked him to discover all he could about LeBeau, yet despite this he discovered very little. At the end of the year, LeBeau's only clue was to tell Bishop: "I am LeBeau and more than LeBeau. I am in jail; I am a jail. One strange man, me."
Whatever happened in that one year Bishop worked for Stark/Fujikawa, it only served to heighten his suspicion of the Witness. How could he know of things before they happened? Was he good or was he evil? And if he really was an X-Men, was he the legendary traitor too? He would later ask the Witness who it was that betrayed the X-Men, but it was a question the Witness would only meet with silence.
Later, Bishop followed his nemesis, Trevor Fitzroy, into the present era, where he met up with the legends that had shaped his childhood – the X-Men themselves. Being quickly added to the roster of members, he soon met the X-Man named Gambit. Gambit possessed the same Cajun accent, shady character and surname as the Witness, and for a long time after their first meeting Bishop believed that Gambit would become the X-Men's traitor, and ultimately the Witness himself. After it was discovered that Charles Xavier was actually the traitor, Bishop came to doubt this theory, although he still harbored deep-rooted suspicions of his teammate.
When Remy was six years old, he'd accidentally chanced upon the Witness. Afterwards, the Witness became something of a mentor to the young Gambit. Therefore, it seemed that Gambit and the Witness were not the same person. However, During Gambit’s quest for the time-hopping jewel, the Momentary Princess, it was implied that in the future Gambit would indeed become the aged mutant, and that he would in fact send the Momentary Princess through the barriers of Time itself.
It would not, however, be long before the paths of Bishop and the Witness would cross again. Bishop was to be transported into another future timeline by his enemy, Trevor Fitzroy, who'd set himself up as the despotic ruler of a land whose culture and technology had regressed to that of the medieval times. Fitzroy was now calling himself the Chronomancer and was wreaking havoc throughout his kingdom. A time-tossed Bishop was rescued by a rag-tag band of mutants – Link, Scorch, Jinx and the giant Nom. These young mutants turned out to have been brought up by the Witness himself, and brought Bishop to him. Once more the Witness would only speak to Bishop in riddles, but he did reveal that he too was a time-traveler. He then encouraged his wards to join Bishop and form a new team to fight Fitzroy. This team was christened the X-Faces.
Meanwhile, having found out Bishop's arrival in this new timeline, Fitzroy sent his troops to destroy the mutant camp he was staying in. The Witness told Bishop to go to a place called Dunduine. Then, while holding back one of Fitzroy's soldiers and allowing his pupil Link time to escape, he apparently died in a self-induced kinetic explosion. However, when Bishop and the X-Faces arrived in Dunduine, it was only to discover that the Witness was still alive and being sheltered by the powerful Clan Hellfire. Clan Hellfire seemed to have a history with the Witness since their leader, Sammara Shaw, knew of the shady deals that he had done in the past. Whatever the connection, it was enough to have Fitzroy and his army attack Clan Hellfire, apparently to get to the Witness himself. It is unknown why exactly Fitzroy wished to have the Witness destroyed – possibly because he couldn't afford to have another all-powerful time-traveler on his turf.
After Dunduine was saved from the Chronomancer's rule, Bishop and his team left to find Fitzroy himself. The Witness, however, opted to stay with Clan Hellfire. Before bidding his wards goodbye, he spoke to Bishop personally, reminding him of the time they first met and how Bishop was right not to have trusted him, even though he had his reasons to mislead those he cared about. Bishop was conciliatory, conceding that the Witness always had a reason for doing what he did. In their parting words, Bishop called the Witness 'Gambit' – it was a name the old man did not deny owning, and he responded by calling Bishop 'mon ami.'
Later, Bishop destroyed Fitzroy and returned to the present timeline. Soon after this, both he and Gambit were caught up in another adventure. Bishop was infected by a symbiote called Le Bete Noir. Unbeknownst to them, this creature was the living embodiment of evil, the direct opposite of the Phoenix Force. It had been reborn and was using Bishop as a host to feed off. The evil mutant Stryfe was planning to use Le Bete Noir for his own purposes and destroy the world. Gambit took Bishop to see the Witness and discover some answers about his condition. Remy led Bishop to an old crypt in a New Orleans cemetery, where there they found the Witness's lair. Bishop was surprised to find his assumptions about the two being the same man were actually false.
As it turned out, Stryfe sacrificed himself to save Bishop and destroy Le Bete Noir. After this, the Witness disappeared from his crypt and has not been seen since. One can only assume that because the world was saved from Le Bete Noir, his purpose in the 616 timeline had ended, and he has now moved to another timeline in need of his guidance.
Where the Witness is now is a mystery, but it seems likely that at some point he resurfaced in the Askani timeline. Here there existed a group of mutants known as the Order of Witnesses. They were apparently founded in the late 21st century by a mutant seeking redemption for the sins of his past. While this strange coterie mostly watched world events from the sidelines, they had been known to manipulate such events in the past. Their true agenda remained a closely guarded secret. However, they were later exterminated by the forces of Apocalypse, and any trace of the Witness' legacy in this timeline was destroyed forever.
Some time later, the Witness was seen in New Orleans, unknown if he was still powered. For reasons yet unclear, he was killed by the Marauder Scalphunter, as the Marauders seemingly killed every teleporters, telepaths, psychics, precogs and people with knowledge of the future in order to ensure their control over the incoming Messiah Child.
Trans-Temporal Awareness: The Witness is aware of and apparently exists in all points in time.
- 14 Appearances of The Witness (Earth-1191)
- Minor Appearances of The Witness (Earth-1191)
- Media The Witness (Earth-1191) was Mentioned in
- 4 Images featuring The Witness (Earth-1191)
- 1 Quotations by or about The Witness (Earth-1191)
- Character Gallery: The Witness (Earth-1191)
- Bishop the Last X-Man #2, 3, 6, 7
- Gambit & Bishop: Sons of the Atom #2-6
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