HBO's Watchmen: Everything We Know About The Dark Superhero Show
Watchmen is one of the most acclaimed comic books of all time. The 1986 limited series was written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons, and set a new standard for mature superhero storytelling. After many years of attempted movie adaptations, Zack Snyder's film version was released in 2009 to mixed reviews and moderate box office.
So there was some surprise when in 2017 it was rumored that a Watchmen TV show was in the works at HBO. Snyder's movie had been released less than a decade earlier, and while there were a few big changes, it was a reasonably faithful adaptation. What more could be added in a TV show? But as showrunner Damon Lindelof subsequently explained, his Watchmen show is not an adaptation--but something he has termed a "remix," using the existing comic narratives to create something new.
Watchmen is set to premiere on HBO in October. Although Lindelof and his team have been tight-lipped about what to expect, we are starting to learn more about his hugely anticipated show. So here's everything we know about Watchmen to date--and we'll continue to update this as more information is released.
Watchmen has a hugely impressive cast list, which includes Regina King, Jeremy Irons, Don Johnson, Tim Blake Nelson, Louis Gossett Jr., and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II. Many of the roles are currently under-wraps, but we do know that King will play the show's lead, a superhero character called Angela Abar, while Irons will play the villainous Adrian Veidt (aka Ozymandias). Other characters familiar to fans of the comic books are Mime and Marionette, who appeared in the 2017 Watchmen comic book sequel Doomsday Clock, and will be played by Tom Mison and Sara Vickers.
Behind the scenes
The showrunner is Damon Lindelof, who is best known for co-creating Lost with J.J. Abrams. Lindelof's other credits include the highly acclaimed series The Leftovers and the scripts for movies such as Star Trek Into Darkness and Prometheus. The first episode of Watchmen is directed by Nicole Kassell, who previously worked on shows such as The Americans, The Killing, and Vinyl.
It's not an adaptation
The new Watchmen show is notable for not being an adaptation of the comic book, but a continuation of its story and themes. In 2017, Lindelof described the show as a "remix" in a lengthy Instagram post about his decision to take on the project. "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."
During the Watchmen panel at the TCA press tour last month, Lindelof gave a few more clues as to what to expect: "We re-explore the past, but it's canon," he explained. "One of the rules we had as storytellers and writers was that everything that happened in those 12 issues could not be messed with."
So what's the story?
The creators have been careful to keep many plot details under wraps. However, based on the trailer and Lindelof's TCA panel, we know that the central conflict is between the police and a white supremacist group known as "The Seventh Calvary" that has appropriated the words of the comic's iconic antihero Rorschach, using them to rise up against the government. Both groups wear masks to conceal their identities. Oh, and there's no internet or smartphones, and Robert Redford has been the President of the USA since 1992.
There's a trailer
The exciting and stylish first trailer for Watchmen was released during SDCC--check it out here.
It should have a great score
The score for Watchmen has been composed by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross of the band Nine Inch Nails. Reznor and Ross have worked on the soundtracks for a variety of movies and shows over the past few years, including Bird Box, The Social Network, Death Note, and the acclaimed documentary Vietnam.