For the past few months, Damon Lindelof, the creator of Lost and The Leftovers as well as the co-writer for Prometheus and Star Trek Into Darkness, has been hard at work on a pilot for HBO on one of the most celebrated and famous graphic novels ever: Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon’s Watchmen.
There are scant details on what the pilot will entail, but the news has been met with some trepidation by fans of the story who don’t want to see another adaptation of the graphic novel (Zack Snyder adapted Watchmen to film in 2009) and also don’t want Warner Bros. and DC to go further against the wishes of Alan Moore, who has refused to acknowledge any adaptations of his works after a bitter falling out with DC.
In a lengthy letter Lindelof posted on his Instagram page, he explained to fans why he felt the need to adapt Watchmen into a television series, particularly now as he revealed the story would be updated to have a more contemporary feeling and play off of the presence of Prime Minister May and Presidents Trump and Putin just in the same way the original story played off Presidents Nixon and Gorbachev.
“We have no desire to ‘adapt’ the twelve issues Mr. Moore and Mr. Gibbons created thirty years ago,” Lindelof wrote. “Those issues are sacred ground and will not be retread nor recreated nor reproduced nor rebooted. They will however be remixed. Because the bass lines in those familiar tracks are just too good and we’d be fools not to sample them. Those original twelve issues are our Old Testament. When the New Testament came along it did not erase what came before it. Creation. The Garden of Eden. Abraham and Isaac. The Flood. It all happened. And so it will be with Watchmen. The Comedian died. Dan and Laurie fell in love. Ozymandias saved the world and Dr. Manhattan left it just after blowing Rorschach to pieces in the bitter cold of Antarctica.”
“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,” Lindelof continued. “It has to vibrate with the seismic unpredictability of its own tectonic plates. 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 revealed that the series, if HBO picks it up after the pilot, will introduce new and original characters who did not appear in the original story. “Some of the characters will be unknown. New faces. New masks to cover them. We also intend to revisit the past century of Costumed Adventuring through a surprising yet familiar set of eyes…and it is here we will be taking our greatest risks.”
So it seems that Watchmen will be updated to better reflect the modern societal and political landscape rather than be a ‘period piece’ as the original story and 2009 is now. There is also the potential for Lindelof to introduce elements and characters seen in the various Before Watchmen prequels or even DC’s current Doomsday Clock, such as Mime and Marionette.
You can read Lindelof’s full statement over at his Instagram page. What do you think of his ideas? Would you like to see Watchmen adapted in a new context or rather they don’t adapt at all? Let us know below…