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HBO's Watchmen: What We Know So Far

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Michael Wynands
Who watches the Watchmen? Very soon, the answer will be us! Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’ll be counting down What We Know So Far about HBO’s Watchmen. For this list, we’ll be looking at the facts and information released to date about HBO ’s forthcoming Watchmen series.
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Who watches the Watchmen? Very soon, the answer will be us! Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’ll be counting down What We Know So Far about HBO’s Watchmen.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the facts and information released to date about HBO ’s forthcoming Watchmen series.

#10: It’s a Brand New Story


A property with as much name recognition as Watchmen could easily spawn multiple live action adaptations. How many times have Batman and Spider-Man’s respective origins been retold on the big screen? While there are those out there who would surely like to see Alan Moore’s landmark graphic novel meticulously adapted in a serialized format, that’s not the route that HBO has decided take. According to the showrunner in an open letter posted to Instagram, they’re “not making a ‘sequel’”, but rather an “original” story set in the world created by Moore and Dave Gibbons. How this approach will go over with diehard fans, only time will tell, but the showrunner has prepared himself for the worst.

#9: It’s Created by Damon Lindelof


Speaking of the showrunner in question, HBO’s Watchmen series is being helmed by a screenwriter and producer whose resume speaks for itself. Damon Lindelof co-created and produced the hit ABC series “LOST” alongside J.J. Abrams and Jeffrey Lieber. He also co-created the critically acclaimed HBO series, “The Leftovers”. So yeah… he knows how to make television that is both engaging and complex. What many people don’t know, however, is that he’s even dipped his toe in the world of comics, having previously written for Marvel, penning Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk, as well as a story for the 2013 Time Warp one-shot published by DC’s Vertigo imprint.

#8: It’s Coming In 2019


Alan Moore may not like it, but his hugely popular and incredibly influential graphic novel has taken on a life of its own. There have been efforts to adapt the story for the big screen since the original 12 issue limited series was first published between 1986 and ‘87. In 2009, it finally became a reality with Zack Snyder’s divisive film. That same year, a tie-in prequel video game was released. In 2012, DC revisited the world with the “Before Watchmen” prequel series. In 2018, they followed up the story with a sequel, “Doomsday Clock”. This next chapter in the history of Watchmen will debut in 2019, but the exact air date has yet to be announced.

#7: HBO Initially Had Zack Snyder in Mind for the Series


Though Zack Snyder’s take on Watchmen may not have been for everyone, there are many people out there who absolutely loved what he did with the film. Watchmen had been called “impossible to adapt” by filmmakers who came before him, but his unique visual style and apparent reverence for the comics rang true with many fans and critics. Clearly, the folks over at HBO were impressed by his efforts, as back in 2015, multiple outlets reported that HBO had sat down with the director to discuss a Watchmen TV series. By 2017, Damon Lindelof had taken over and Snyder was no longer in the picture, but it’s interesting to imagine what his take on the series would have looked like.

#6: Nicole Kassell is Directing the Pilot


Like with most high profile series, Watchmen will probably see its various episodes directed by a collection of directors rather than a single one. For the pilot, however, it’s been announced that executive producer Nicole Kassell is sitting in the director’s chair, which certainly makes for a strong start. Her directorial resume includes series such as “Cold Case,” “The Killing,” “Suits,” “The Americans,” and “Castle Rock.” This won’t be her first work for HBO either, as she’s also directed episodes for HBO series including “Vinyl”, “Westworld” and two episodes of Damon Lindelof’s “The Leftovers”. Suffice it to say… this pilot is in good hands.

#5: The Cast


As decades worth of television has proven, a tv series can have a great premise, unique aesthetic, rock-solid writing, and proven creative team… but a show is only as good as its cast. So without further ado, let’s take a look at the talent that Lindelof and company have lined up to inhabit the world of Watchmen. First up is Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, who, having recently appeared in “Aquaman” and “The Get Down”, brings both dramatic talents and familiarity with superheroic action. Actress Adelaide Clemens boasts a similarly strong and diverse resume. Add such recognizable names as Regina King, Don Johnson, Tim Blake Nelson, Louis Gossett Jr., and Jeremy Irons, and you’ve got a cast that inspires confidence.

#4: The Music


Watchmen, even in comic book form, is a moody and atmospheric property, and so any adaptation needs the right music to help bring that feeling to life. For the 2009 “Watchmen” film, Zack Snyder tapped frequent collaborator and Marilyn Manson guitarist Tyler Bates. For his 2019 series, Damon Lindelof has gone in a different but not dissimilar direction, bringing onboard creative pair Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross - the former being the founder of Nine Inch Nails. The two first collaborated for 2010’s “The Social Network.” They’ve since worked on “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” “Gone Girl,” and 2018’s “Bird Box”.

#3: Jeremy Irons Is Playing Adrian Veidt/ Ozymandias


As Lindelof has explained, this series is going to explore the world of Watchmen through an entirely original story. As such, most of the familiar faces from the graphic novel and film will likely be absent or relegated to the sidelines. One of the only core characters from the original story to receive a major nod from the new series to date is Adrian Veidt, aka Ozymandias. Celebrated thespian Jeremy Irons has been cast in the role, and is noticeably older than the Ozymandias of the comics. This, along with a few other factors, has led many to believe that this series will jump forward significantly in terms of time to somewhere closer to the modern day.

#2: It’s Set in Tulsa, Oklahoma


The primary setting of the original Watchmen was New York City. Well, it would seem that yet another way in which this tv series will be a departure from the source material is in the geographical sense. Cryptic posts from the Watchmen Instagram account have all been of masked law enforcement agents from Tulsa... as in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This series remains largely shrouded in secrecy, so there’s little in terms of explanation as to why this particular setting was chosen to play a prominent role in the series, but the city is known for its crime. Also, considering the events of the original comics, NYC likely isn’t much of an option.

#1: New Heroes and Villains


With this new story comes a new cast of masked vigilantes to carry the morally complex torch of those before them. Again, very little can be said about the cast of characters with any level of certainty, but with names like Andrew Howard’s “Red Scare,” Adelaide Clemens’ “Pirate Jenny,” and Tim Blake Nelson’s “Looking Glass,” it’s safe to assume that these are heroes and villains. The brief footage debuted at the 76th Golden Globes also gave us a peek at two masked figures who certainly look like new heroes. With that being said, the sight of a Rorschach-like mask shows that there’s clearly some reverence for bygone heroes and vigilantes within this world.
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