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Villain Overview

I'm not particularly fond of failure.
~ Arthur Watts
James Ironwood never recognized my genius. After everything I gave him, he still disgraced me. I simply wish to return the favor.
~ Arthur Watts on his motivation.
You never appreciated my genius, James! You just stood atop it and called yourself a giant!
~ Arthur Watts to James Ironwood.

Doctor Arthur Watts was a major antagonist in the American animated web series RWBY. He was a disgraced Atlesian scientist who faked his own death in the "Paladin Incident" and became an associate of Salem and part of her inner circle. He served as one of the two main antagonists (alongside Tyrian Callows) of Volume 7, as well as the archenemy of James Ironwood.

During the city of Atlas' final moments before its collapse, Watts stormed Central Command with Cinder Fall and Neopolitan, taking it over and causing citywide chaos. However, to ensure he wouldn't inform Salem that she had not only used the Relic of Knowledge's last question, but had again tried to kill Ruby, he is locked inside the Central Command which Cinder sets ablaze, leaving him to burn alive.

He was voiced by Christopher R. Sabat, who also voiced Vegeta and King Piccolo in Dragon Ball Z.


Watts is a man with short black and gray hair. He also has a mustache and green eyes. He wears a gray overcoat with yellow linings, a yellow dress shirt and a black necktie. His pants are the same color as his overcoat. His yellow-buttoned undercoat and fingerless gloves match his cordovan shoes, under which he wears yellow socks. While in Atlas he wears a blue and purple overcoat with a white furry collar.



Not much is known about Watts' past or how he joined Salem's faction, except that he was a scientist in Atlas working on the same research team as Pietro Polendina. At some point, he was acquainted with Jacques Schnee as well. At a later point he was disgraced and faked his death, eventually ending up in Salem's servitude.

Volume 4

In "The Next Step", Watts attends a meeting at Salem's Domain with fellow associates Tyrian, Cinder and Hazel. Watts belittles Cinder for her "failure" at Beacon and loss to Ruby Rose. However, Salem arrives and chastises him for his needless "malignance". Watts is assigned to take over Cinder's duties while she recovers and meet with the group's informant in Mistral; to which he complies.

In "No Safe Haven", Watts is seen drinking tea and meeting with Salem's informant, who's revealed to be the headmaster of Haven Academy, Leonardo Lionheart.

Volume 5

In "Welcome to Haven", Watts eavesdrops on Lionheart's conversation with Qrow Branwen and Team RNJR. He then contacts Lionheart after they leave and tells him he needs to work on his improvisational skills.

In "Dread in the Air", Watts escorts Lionheart to a secret room to speak with Salem via Seer, and the latter informs her that Qrow arrived at Haven with Team RNJR and told them the Spring Maiden is with Raven Branwen's tribe. Salem praises her servant for retrieving this information and instructs Cinder and her team to meet with Watts and convince Raven to cooperate with them. She also instructs Watts to make a new scorpion tail for Tyrian, who lost it during his confrontation with Qrow and Team RNJR. Impressed, Watts tells Lionheart that it seems Qrow was right when he said that the children weren't pushovers.

In "Rest and Resolutions", Watts arrives at the Branwen Tribe campground with Cinder, Emerald and Mercury.

In "A Perfect Storm", Watts meets with Raven and offers her a chance of "forgiveness" from Salem if she has Vernal open the chamber to the Relic of Knowledge. He also states that her time to decide is short as the White Fang plans to attack Haven soon. However, to his annoyance, Raven demands the death of Qrow in exchange for having Vernal open the chamber for them, and Cinder eagerly agrees. Watts angrily tells Cinder he knows she's doing this to get revenge on Ruby, and warns her that if their plan falls to pieces over her grudge with a child, he won't be the one taking the blame.

Volume 6

In "So That's How it is", Watts attends a meeting called by Salem, who chooses to leave Cinder behind after her failure at Haven Academy. Hazel then informs her the Ozpin has reincarnated, causing her to send Watts and the others away before unleashing her rage.

Volume 7

In "A New Approach", Watts is seen walking through the streets of Mantle, he and Tyrian have a brief argument about how one hideout makes them susceptible to discovery and that they need to stay mobile. He reassures Tyrian by telling him the security in Mantle is outdated and that he wrote the code, allowing him to hack the security cameras, and allowing he and Tyrian to walk freely.

In "Pomp and Circumstance", Watts arrives at the Schnee Manor. There, he proposes to Jacques that he has a plan to help him win the election as well as help his company.

In "A Night Off", Watts and Tyrian sabotaged Robyn Hill's victory party. Working from the shadows, Watts hacked into the building, cutting the power, and altering the security camera footage to make it as if Penny was massacring Robyn's supporters and not Tyrian. He even placed more votes to Jacques' name. Shortly after Tyrian made his escape, Watts resumed power to the building, and uploaded the fixed footage of Penny.

In "Cordially Invited", Watts is seen standing on top of a building overlooking Mantle as he shuts down the city's power. As the rain turns into snow, Watts discards his umbrella into the city streets as he disappears.

In "As Above, So Below", Watts and Tyrian watch the people of Mantle run amok and loot the dust stores.

In "Out in the Open", Watts and Tyrian watch Ironwood and Robyn Hill expose them for the recent murders and for the rigged election. On his scroll, Watts looks at the schematics for the Amity Colosseum, and is dumbfounded how Ironwood had gotten that knowledge past him. Infuriated, Tyrian yells out that the Grimm should have destroyed their enemies, not made them friends. Watts decides to go to Amity Colosseum to sabotage it. While sending Tyrian to create more chaos in the Grimm attack. In Amity Colosseum, Watts talks to himself about how unfinished Ironwood's project is, only to find out that it was a trap set by the general himself. Using his hacking rings, Watts transforms the arena. Evading Ironwood's gunshots, Watts makes his way to one of the levitating platforms, and draws his revolver.

In "Gravity", during their battle, Watts uses his rings to manipulate the colosseum's terrain to attack and evade Ironwood. Ironwood gives chase to the disgraced Atlesian scientist and eventually catches up to him. The two engage in hand to hand combat, Watts uses the wall to jump over Ironwood and to resume the chase. Watts uses the hard light shields to make a bridge allowing him to cross to the next platform. He uses his rings to create a lava wall, thinking he either killed or simply evaded Ironwood, Watts smirks with satisfaction. Only to be shot in the shoulder by the general himself.

Watts retaliates by shooting general Ironwood in the leg with ice dust, and jumps up to the platform above them. Ironwood frees himself and launches himself up to where Watts is. Ironwood charges at Watts, the two proceed to fall back to the main platform. Watts angrily claims Ironwood never appreciated his work, and that he chose Pietro over him. Ironwood gains the upper hand in their fight and pins Watts to one of the metal beams. However, the tables quickly turn as Watts man handles Ironwood and traps his left arm into a hard light shield.

Ironwood begins to pull his arm out, in a mocking tone, Watts tells him that he shouldn't do that, not unless he wants to add more metal to his body. Proving Watts wrong, Ironwood frees himself and charges at Watts. He is grabbed by the collar of his shirt and is dragged towards the edge of the floating platform. Ironwood angrily claims he is willing to sacrifice everything to stop Salem, to which Watts retorts he hopes he does. After their battle, it is unknown if Watts survived.

In "The Enemy of Trust", Watts is revealed to have survived his encounter with Ironwood and is seen sitting in what is presumed to be a prison cell. Looking defeated he gazes up at the sky turning violet and his hopes seem to rekindle.

Volume 8

In "Refuge", while listening to Robyn reprimand Jacques for all the horrible misdeeds he and Watts took part in, Watts calmly, but sarcastically tells Qrow, Robyn, and Jacques that they’re all stuck in this together. Shortly after, two Atlesian military guards arrive at Watts' cell. Watts makes another sarcastic remark towards the two. He is then knocked unconscious and dragged out of his cell.

In "Strings", Watts is reluctantly helping Ironwood, attempting to hack into Penny's mainframe, calling her "Polendina's magical science project". When Ruby, Weiss, Blake, Nora, Penny, and May sneak into military compound. Watts notices that someone is using Pietro Polendina's access codes. Later, when the Ace-Ops have found Penny, the five engage in combat. The four operatives struggle to keep up with Penny's new Maiden powers. Watts then suggests instead of arresting Penny, they take one of her swords. The Ace-Ops are successful in retrieving one of the many swords from Penny.

In "Fault", Watts is thrown back into his cell by Harriet and Marrow. The Atlesian scientist angrily glares at his captors, then brushes himself off.

In "Amity", Arthur Watts manages to hack Penny while she is pushing Amity Arena into broadcast position by replacing a chip in one of Penny's swords with a chip of his own that has a red cursive uppercase "W" on it (his emblem). This causes her to push Amity out of broadcasting range and later fall from orbit.

In "Midnight", Arthur Watts informs Salem and Tyrian (via scroll) that he has managed to hack Penny Polendina (who has the Winter Maiden powers) while in captivity.

In "Dark", Arthur Watts is busted out of his hard light dust prison by Cinder Fall, who then takes his hand, helps him get up, and flies away with him.

In "Ultimatum", Watts and Cinder from afar watch as Monstra's remain dissipate into smoke. Watts asks his colleague is anyone survived to which Cinder coldly gives him a simple no. He reassures himself that Salem will return, but in the meantime must devise a plan of action. Cinder tells him the plan hasn't changed, planning on finding Penny Polendina, ripping the Maiden powers from her, and Watts is going to bring her to Cinder. Watts tells his associate he had planted a virus in her not that he could telepathically tell her what to do. He then explains once she's located the vault, she'll destroy herself, and their problem with Penny will have been dealt with. This enrages Cinder, using her Grimm arm to grapple Watts by his shirt collar. Watts tells Cinder he doesn't work for her, but the Fall Maiden quickly retorts Salem isn't with them. She then dangles him over the edge of a building, going into detail about how he's going to kill him and steal the Maiden powers for herself. Unexpectedly, Watts bursts into a fit of laughter, agreeing with what Cinder told him. He then berates the Maiden, listing all of her failures due to her grudge against Ruby, and her obsession with ultimate power. He angrily tells she needs to be smart and worthy for such power, and that all's she's ever been in a migraine. Cinder throws Watts back onto the roof, she walks over to the edge, and beings to cry.

Later, Watts, and Cinder watch General Ironwood's ultimatum for Penny and her friends to help him or watch Mantle become a smoldering ruin. A message from Neo pops up onto Cinder's scroll, Watts asks Cinder who's contacted them.

In "Risk", Watts and Cinder rendezvous with Neo, listening in on Ironwood's plan for Ruby to bring Penny to the vault.

In "Worthy", Watts is about to explain to Neo her grudge against Ruby is not important at the moment, only for him to be cut off by Cinder. Cinder apologizes to the vengeful mute and asks for the Lamp. With reluctant silence, Neo gives the Maiden the Lamp and asks it the final question. Watts, Cinder, and Neo become fully aware of Team RWBY's plan to save the Kingdom of Atlas, and of Emerald's betrayal. The three manage to sneak into the Atlas Military compound and being slaughtering the faculty in the control room. After the three mass murder the unarmed workers, Watts stays behind to hack into the Kingdom's systems. Before Cinder and Neo go to find Ruby, she tells him he deserves this.

In "The Final Word", While Qrow and Robyn deal with the Ace-Ops, Watts is able to hack into the bomb, triggering it to detonate. However, Vine sacrifices himself to save the lives of his colleagues and to prevent the city from becoming a crater. Later, after Salem reconstitutes herself and reunites with Cinder in the vault. After Cinder lies to Salem, she asks the Maiden what did she create to replace Team RWBY's creation. Cinder tells Salem she created more fires around Atlas. Watts' makes an effort to break the glass with a chair, but his efforts are in vain, sealing his fate.

Other Media

RWBY: Amity Arena

Watts appears as a Legendary unit in RWBY: Amity Arena. He is a ground melee unit that can hack into enemy structures, including turrets, and disable them for a brief period of time.


Watts. Do you find such malignance necessary?
~ Salem commenting on Watts' personality.

Watts is formal and speaks in a refined accent. However, he is also arrogant and condescending, even to his allies. However, he is humble enough to admit to not taking credit for something he didn't achieve by himself, as when Salem initially thought he found out where the Spring Maiden is, he reveals it was by Qrow when he spoke to Leonardo.

Watts states that he has a low opinion of failure, which apparently extends to Cinder Fall after she was defeated by Ruby Rose. He criticizes and belittles Cinder and enjoys provoking her, especially since she cannot talk back. He also looks down upon her underlings, Emerald Sustrai and Mercury Black. Salem chastises him for his needless "malignance". However, he avoids speaking out of line in Salem's presence.

Arthur also has a tendency to become overly excited about new topics of study. Case in point, when he and Lionheart were reporting to Salem about the location of the Spring Maiden, Arthur showed immense interest in the Seer Grimm.

However, beneath his refined and proper image lies a streak of callousness and cruelty, as he masterminded the events of both the Fall of Beacon and the attack on Mantle and Atlas, showing no sense of concern for being involved with the deaths of innocents. As more of his backstory is revealed, it is implied that his heinous actions and motivations are not relatively out of loyalty to Salem but rather out of petty jealousy of Pietro Poldenina for the latter's success as well as resentment towards James Ironwood for looking down on him, making his actions disproportionate to his motivations compared to his peers, such as Tyrian who is completely loyal to Salem, and Hazel who suffered a personal loss under Ozpin.

Powers and Abilities

Watts possesses a genius intellect and expertise in technology and computer systems, and is responsible for creating Mantle's entire security network back when he was still an Atlesian scientist. He was able to develop a virus that allowed Cinder to hack into the CCT tower and rig the Vytal Festival tournament, as well as Roman to hijack Atlas' Atlesian Knight-200s that were stationed in Vale. He also created a new stinger for Tyrian Callows after his old one had been cut off by Ruby Rose.

He uses special rings on his fingers that can let him hack into systems around him, so long as he has the code of the cyber security he wants to infiltrate, allowing him to be mobile and making it difficult to track him down. The rings can also generate hard-light Dust shields to defend him and makeshift platforms to walk across long gaps.

Watts also has some decent skill in combat and uses a 20-shot double-barrel revolver as his weapon of choice.


My thoughts exactly. Even without her new power, it should have been effortless.
~ Watts, to everyone, during the meeting.
What about her? Seems to me that this is Cinder's problem, not ours.
~ Doctor Watts on Cinder's concern for Ruby Rose.
Why thank you, Professor. Salem always did say you were... quite hospitable.
~ Watts, to Professor Lionheart.
Oh, Leo. We have got to work on your improvisational skills.
~ Watts, to Professor Lionheart.
I'm still just so fascinated by this creature. Cinder dear, are we coming through? Can you see us clearly? Well, as clearly as you can.
~ Watts being curious about the seer.
Technically, I was also a doctor, but I must say, the rest was spot on.
~ Watts to Raven.
As much as I'd love to take credit, ma'am, I can't say that either of us are to thank for this development. I guess you could say, a little birdie told us.
~ Watts to Salem.
Alright ladies, let's pause for a moment. We have one objective - retrieving the Relic of Knowledge. Now Qrow Branwen may be on our list of individuals we would very much like dead, but he's not going to go down without a fight, and he's not going to fight quietly. Our advantage here is just as you said - we walk straight into Haven, no resistance, no one the wiser. A battle with your brother throws that all out the window.
~ Watts, to Cinder and Raven about the Relic of Knowledge and Qrow Branwen.
Wait. Don't think I don't see what you're after. If this falls to pieces over a grudge with a child, I will not be taking the blame.
~ Watts, to Cinder.
For the last time, a singular hideout makes us susceptible to discovery. (Tyrian: What if we're seen, what if we're recognized?) We stay mobile.
~ Watts arguing with Tyrian.
(Tyrian: A city with a thousand eyes.) While cyber security has been stepped up in Atlas, none of the code was updated in Mantle.
~ Watts reassuring Tyrian.
(Tyrian: Well that certainly sounds useful.) It should be, I helped write that code, after all.
~ Watts to Tyrian.
A spitting image of you, this lad, Jacques. Creepily so, I might add. He's definitely inherited your... affect.
~ Watts, to Jacques Schnee about Whitley Schnee.
What if I said you can have your cake... and eat it, too?
~ Watts, to Jacques.
Fine work, Tyrian. I think we are done for tonight.
~ Watts, to Tyrian after they framed Penny Polendina for murdering the innocent bystanders in Mantle at the pre-victory party.
All I need is your login credentials for the Atlas network. You promise to make Ironwood's life a waking nightmare, and I will guarantee you victory at the polls by giving the voters down in Mantle a little… "digital push", if you will.
~ Watts, to Jacques.
The Colosseum remodeling was a communications tower? How did James get this past me?
~ Watts, questioning about James and his secret project.
Our tin soldier's heart has cost him his mind. We need to keep their attention on Mantle for as long as possible.
~ Watts, to Tyrian.
Hmm... This will certainly do the trick. Although I wouldn't exactly call it finished.
~ Watts, about the communications tower.
It wasn't finished... it was bait.
~ Watts, finding out that he fell into James' trap.
You know, James, this place has always been a technological marvel. Truly. Even before you went and, uh, did all this. The different types of Dust, the biome system, and of course, everything that goes into controlling them.
~ Watts, to James before their battle.
At the risk of sound cliche, James…... I won't be going down without a fight.
~ Watts, to James.
You chose that fat imbecile over me!
~ Watts, to Ironwood about choosing Pietro over him.
I suppose in this instance, my brains and your brawn are evenly matched.
~ Watts, to Ironwood.
That was a little too close for my liking, James. Rebuilding those rings is going to be such a pain.
~ Watts, to Ironwood after he traps his arm in the hard light shield.
I wouldn't do that if I were you. I mean, unless you're hoping to add more metal to that body of yours.
~ Watts to Ironwood.
Oh, I hope you do, James. I hope you do.
~ Watts, to Ironwood after his defeat.
You do realize you already caught me?
~ Watts, to Atlesian guards in his cell.
Given what we’re after, I’ve got all the motivation I need. Sadly it doesn’t make taking down Pietro’s magical science project any less cumbersome.
~ Watts, to Ironwood.
(Ironwood: I need all available squads to converge on-) Wait. I have a message for your operatives.
~ Watts modifying his goals.
Well, you know what they say. If you can't beat them, then make them join you.
~ Watts, to Ironwood and Harriet Bree with Penny's stolen sword.
And that's good news for us. Penny’s blades operate on the same principle as Amity in the launch terminal. In order for her to control them all, they need to communicate with one another.
~ Watts, about to implant a virus into Penny's system.
Exactly what you asked. It’s possible Penny’s systems are merely rebooting. As for the tower, well, perhaps Pietro isn’t the genius you thought-
~ Watts, before Ironwood throws his Scroll at him.
Cinder. What are you-
~ Watts, before Cinder breaks him out of prison.
I said I had Penny under control, not that I could telekinetically force her to do whatever I want. (Cinder: What?) I implanted a virus in her, you dimwit. She's on a set path now. At least, she should be. As much as I hate to admit it, there seems to be some part of her capable of resisting. Regardless, it's only the matter of time before her mechanical body succumbs to the virus. She'll open the Vault, then she'll destroy herself and our little Penny problem will be do-
~ Watts, to Cinder about Penny.
Oh, of course you are! Because that's just what you do, isn't it? And how has that worked out for you? You stormed into Fria's room, thinking you could take on Ironwood's top fighter and war machine, but you couldn't. And that machine became the Winter Maiden! Oh, and let's not forget your deal with Raven Branwen: "Get all your enemies in one place so you'd have a shot at revenge." If only someone could have warned you against such a miserable idea… Oh wait, I did! But you pushed ahead and you lost it when all you had to do was your job! You think you're entitled to everything just because you've suffered, but suffering. Isn't. Enough. You can't just be strong, you have to be smart! You can't just be deserving, you have to be worthy! But all you have EVER been is a BLOODY MIGRAINE!!''
~ Watts, berating Cinder for her entitled hubris.


  • Watts alludes to Dr. Watson from Sherlock Holmes, and has been described by CRWBY as "If Dr. Watson worked for Moriarty instead of Sherlock Holmes".
  • A "watt" is a unit of power used to express the rate of energy transfer which is generally correlated to electricity in modernized society. As a result, it invokes the colors associated with electricity especially shades of yellow, blue, and white seen in lightning.
  • He is the only character thus far with a customized Scroll, as opposed to the standard version other characters use.
  • Watts' emblem is a W symbol that appears on his customized personal Scroll and as a hologram in "Welcome To Haven" when Watts speaks to Leonardo Lionheart.
  • In the Japanese dubbed version, Watts is voiced by Tooru Ookawa.
  • Although unconfirmed, it is possible based on the fact that he is often given important assignments and the fact that he speaks as if he is the superior to the other members of Salem's Faction, it is likely that he is her second-in-command.

External links


           RWBY.png Villains

Salem's Faction
SalemArthur WattsTyrian CallowsCinder FallHazel RainartMercury BlackLeonardo Lionheart

Cinder's Faction
Cinder FallRoman Torchwick (Manga)Mercury BlackEmerald SustraiNeopolitan

White Fang
Adam TaurusSienna KhanWhite Fang LieutenantCorsac and Fennec AlbainIlia AmitolaYumaTrifaPerryDeeryWhite Fang Associate

Xiong Family
Hei Xiong Sr.Junior XiongMalachite SistersJunior's HenchmenDJ

Branwen Tribe
Raven BranwenVernalShay D. Mann

Schnee Dust Company
Jacques SchneeSecretaryArma Gigas

Kingdom of Atlas
James IronwoodAce Operatives (Clover EbiHarriet BreeVine ZekiElm EderneMarrow Amin) • Caroline Cordovin

Happy Huntresses
Robyn HillFiona ThymeJoanna GreenleafMay Marigold

Merlot Industries
Dr. MerlotAndroidsMutant BeowolvesMutant CreepsMutant Death Stalker

The Crown
Jax AsturiasGillian AsturiasRosa SchweinArgento PocoronCarmine EscladosBertilak CeladonUmber GorgoneionGreen

The Spiders
Little Miss Malachite

Creatures of Grimm
ApathyArma GigasBeetleBeowolvesBeringelsBerserkerBlind WormsBoarbatusksCapivarasCenitaurCentinelsChillCreepsDeath StalkersDrakesDromedonsGeistsGoliathsGriffonsHorse GrimmThe HoundImpsJackalopesKing TaijituLancersLeviathanManticoresMegoliathsMonstraNevermoreNuckelaveeRavagersRazorwingsSabyrsSea FeilongSeersShadow HandsSphinxesSpider GrimmSulfur FishTempestsTentacle GrimmTeryxesUrsaiWyvernZiraphs

God of DarknessTeam CRDL (Cardin Winchester) • Marcus BlackTockMadameMadame's DaughtersSystem No. XXJimmy VanilleCarmel Vanille

RWBY Chibi
Cinder FallEmerald SustraiMercury BlackRoman TorchwickNeopolitanTrouble ClefFloyd the GeistMike and MartyCardin Winchester