DC's Watchmen TV Adaptation Won't Be A Sequel Or Reboot, Showrunner Says
"This new story must be original."
In June last year it was reported that a new TV adaptation of the classic DC comic book Watchmen was being developed by HBO. There hasn't been much news about the project since, but now writer and showrunner Damon Lindelof has given fans an update on the project.
Lindelof took to Instagram to post a lengthy essay about the Watchmen TV show. In the piece he speaks about his relationship with Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon's groundbreaking comic over the years, his intentions for the adaptation, and the fact that he knows some fans won't be happy that he is making a new version of Watchmen in the first place.
Lindelof explains that he was introduced to Watchmen by his father when he was 12, and he makes it very clear how important it was to both his developing tastes as a writer and his relationship with his father. He then speaks about the numerous times he was offered the job of adapting the books over the past decade, which he declined based largely on the fact that Moore has repeatedly expressed his unhappiness about adaptations of his work.
The note reveals that although Lindelof did ultimately accept the job of leading the new TV version, he is not planning a direct adaptation. "Those issues are sacred ground and will not be retread nor recreated nor reproduced nor rebooted," he said. "They will however be remixed. We are not making a 'sequel' either. This story will be set in the world its creators painstakingly built… but in the tradition of the work that inspired it, this new story must be original.
It has to vibrate with the seismic unpredictability of its own tectonic plates," he continued. "It must ask new questions and explore the world through a fresh lens. Most importantly, it must be contemporary. The Old Testament was specific to the Eighties of Reagan and Thatcher and Gorbachev. Ours needs to resonate with the frequency of Trump and May and Putin and the horse that he rides around on, shirtless. And speaking of Horsemen, The End of the World is off the table… which means the heroes and villains–-as if the two are distinguishable–-are playing for different stakes entirely."
Lindelof also stated that the show will have a diverse team of writers behind it. "In [our writers'] room, Hetero White Men like myself are in the minority," he said. "And as Watchmen is (incorrectly) assumed to be solely our domain, understanding its potential through the perspectives of women, people of color, and the LGBTQ community has been as eye-opening as it has been exhilarating. We've committed to doing the same in front of and behind the camera. And every single person involved with this show absolutely adores Watchmen."
Lindelof's acclaimed drama The Leftovers was also screened on HBO, and concluded its third and final season last year. His other writing credits include the movies Prometheus and Star Trek Into Darkness, and he was the co-creator and joint-showrunner of Lost.
Watchmen was first published by DC in 1986 as a 12-part limited series. It was written by Moore and illustrated by Gibbons and is widely considered to be one of the greatest comic books ever released. It helped usher in a new, more mature approach to mainstream superhero comics, and in 2005, it was featured on Time's list of the 100 greatest novels of the 20th century.
A film version was in the works for many years before Zack Snyder's version hit screens in 2009, and 12 Monkeys director Terry Gilliam was attached at one stage. Snyder's movie was a modest success, making $185 million at the worldwide box office.