With ‘Game of Thrones’ ending earlier this season and its set of prequels still far away, HBO had to step up and find its new signature show. ‘Watchmen’ seems to be their bet to do so. The TV series will take us to the universe created by Alan Moore, but it will actually be a sequel to the graphic novel, so it won’t be based on any particular episode. Several characters we didn’t see on Zack Snyder’s divisive adaptation are poised to take the TV Stage. The Damon Lindelof-led project will premiere on October 20. Here we’ll tell you everything we know about it.
Plot and Comic Connections
The trailers show a war between a group of Rorschach mask-wearing vigilantes, known as the 7th Calvary, and the Tulsa Police, whose members also wears masks to protect their identities from vigilantes.
— Watchmen (@watchmen) September 3, 2019
The fact that the series will be set in Tulsa, Oklahoma, probably means the adaptation will take a somewhat small scale, at least for starters. As the show takes place after Snyder’s movie, some characters (such as The Comedian) are likely dead, but the show will show us some characters from the graphic novel that haven’t had their on-screen debuts.
HBO description of the show, so far, is quite general “Based on the Alan Moore graphic novel, Watchmen is set in an alternate history where ‘superheroes’ are treated as outlaws. And while Lindelof (The Leftovers) plans to embrace the nostalgia of the original groundbreaking graphic novel, the series will also attempt to break new ground of its own.”
But the script has seen the approval of Dave Gibbons, who is the comic artist of the original ‘Watchmen’ “I found Damon’s approach to be really refreshing and exciting and unexpected,” he told Entertainment Weekly in September 2018. “While it’s very reverential and true to the source material (by which I mean the Watchmen graphic novel that Alan and I did), it’s not retreading the same ground, it’s not a reinterpretation of it. It approaches it in a completely unexpected way.”
This means that even though the show reimagines the original graphic novel, it will follow its own route. DC Comics is finishing its own Watchmen graphic sequel, called Doomsday Clock, but it doesn’t seem it will have influence over the HBO series.
Doomsday Clock takes place in the DC Universe, with Doctor Manhattan constantly crossing from his universe to DC’s. We don’t know how important will be Manhattan’s role in the series, and, obviously, the show won’t portray DC heroes.
Still, rumor has it that Mime and Marionette, two vigilantes from Doomsday Clock are set to appear in the HBO show, but this hasn’t been confirmed by the network.
The connections between Watchmen and the original comics have been called by showrunner Damon Lindelof as a “remix”, which means is a new take that combines original and new characters, and bases on the original material plot points but dives further.
The show will take place decades after the comic (and movie) in a time of civil unrest that leads to the reappearance of masked vigilantes, such as the said Seventh Cavalry. In this reimagination, Robert Redford has been President since 1992, and many people are obsessed with heroes such as Doctor Manhattan and Minutemen.
The show seems to revolve a ton around a new character: Angela Abar, a Tulsa PD officer that fights the Seventh Cavalry. Laurie Baker (who in the original comics is Silk Spectre) is now an FBI agent that helps Angela fighting vigilantes.
Here are the trailers, so you can see everything by yourself:
HBO Original Trailer
Cast, Crew, and Production
Silk Spectre: Jean Smart (Fargo) will play Silk Spectre, the hero portrayed by Malin Akerman in the movie adaptation. She’s FBII agent Laurie Blake née Juspeczyk who helps Angela Abar fighting crime in Tulsa. She was confirmed to be Silk Spectre by showrunner Damon Lindelof earlier this year. Curiously, the surname Blake suggests a connection with Edward Blake (The Comedian) who died in the movie adaptation.
Angela Abar: Abar is the lead detective of the Tulsa PD and a mother of three. There’s some speculation her character is loosely based on Hooded Justice, a malle vigilante from the original graphic novel. She’s played by Regina King
Ozymandias: Jeremy Irons will play “the aging and imperious Lord of a British Manor,” or, in other words, an older version of Adrian Alexander Veidt/Ozymandias. The billionaire genius who masterminded a plan for world peace in the movie adaptation may have new plans for world peace, starting with Tulsa.
Louis Gossett Jr. plays Will Reeves, who is said to be Dr. Manhattan. He appears on Mars first on the trailer, and then on the Earth.
Don Johnson plays Judd Crawford, Tulsa Chief of Police; Tim Blake Nelson plays Detective Looking Glass (a very Tulsa-like name); Yahya Abdul-Mateen II plays Cal Abar, likely related to King’s character.
Tom Mison plays Mr. Phillips; Frances Fisher plays Jane Crawford; Sara Vickers plays Ms. Crookshanks; Hong Chau plays Lady Trieu, a mysterious trillionaire; Andrew Howard will play Red Scare; Jacob Ming-Trent will portray Panda, and James Wolk will be Senator Keane, who is seen wearing a Rorschach mask in the trailer; Dustin Ingram portrays Agent Petey, and Robert Redford is President Robert Redford.
The show will air on HBO from October 20. The first season will consist of eight one-hour episodes. Trent Reznor, from Nine Inch Nails, and Atticus Ross composed the score. They won the Academy Award for the score of ‘The Social Network’, and have also composed the scores of ‘Gone Girl’, and ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.’ Nicole Kassell, who collaborated with Lindelof in ‘The Leftovers’ directs the pilot. None of the original creators (Dave Gibbons and Alan Moore) is involved with the show, but at least Gibbons praised the script.
‘Watchmen’s development has been crazy. Zack Snyder’s 2009 film was released after… two decades of development. Terry Gilliam, Darren Aronofsky, and Paul Greengrass were some of the names related to the project until Snyder finally took it in 2005, taking 4 years to, at last, release it.
In 2015 HBO got in talks with Zack Snyder about an original series, but the project didn’t take off. Only in June 2017 would Lindelof be announced to lead the project. HBO ordered the pilot on September 2017 and more than a year later, on October 2018, we got a first sneak peek of the pilot and on June 2019 the Season 1 filming finally wrapped up.
‘Watchmen’ is poised to be the hit of the fall season and one of the benchmark shows of HBO. On October 20 we’ll see if Lindelof’s project is as good as it seems.