Watchmen: Damon Lindelof explains new details in his HBO adaptation
It’s been made clear that the upcoming adaptation of the Alan Moore/Dave Gibbons iconic Watchmen series won’t be a retelling of the comic, but rather continue the story it started back in 1985. Yesterday, /Film ran down the details that Lindelof gave regarding how similar to the source material the story will be, and how the version of 2019 he’s created will be radically different than the one we all live in.
Some of this world-building includes Robert Redford serving as president, succeeding Richard Nixon, who was serving his fifth term when the original Watchmen takes place. There’s also no internet, and by extension, no smartphones.
“Even though it’s set in 2019, the Redford administration saw the writing on the wall and stepped in to make sure we could not troll each other,” Lindelof explained.
While the events of the comic book are definitely canon in the show and will factor in as Lindelof promises the show will “re-explore the past,” perhaps the most significant change will come from keeping the same relevant political overtones the comic had.
When Watchmen hit comic stores in the mid-80s, America was at the height of the Cold War, which permeated every panel of the 12-issue miniseries. Now, with the cold war behind us, Lindelof wants to keep the relevance to today’s climate and has shifted the series focus to be about race. Specifically, the plague of white supremacy that drives much of the events in the series.
“In a traditional superhero movie, the bad guys are fighting aliens,” Lindelof began. “When they beat the aliens, the aliens go back to their planet and everybody wins. There’s no defeating white supremacy. It felt like a pretty formidable foe.”
The series is made up of an ensemble cast that includes Jeremy Irons (Justice League) as an older Ozymandias, Regina King (The Leftovers), Don Johnson (Django Unchained), Louis Gossett Jr. (Hap and Leonard), Tim Blake Nelson (Colossal), Adelaide Clemens (Rectify), Andrew Howard (Bates Motel), Frances Fisher (Masters of Sex), Jacob Ming-Trent (White Famous), Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (The Handmaid’s Tale), Sara Vickers (The Crown), Tom Mison (Sleepy Hollow), Jean Smart (Fargo) as a mysterious FBI agent, and James Wolk (Zoo, Tell Me a Story).
Lindelof serves as creator, writer, showrunner, and executive producer on the Watchmen series, with Tom Spezialy, Stephen Williams, and Joseph Iberti also executive producing. Nicole Kassell will executive produce and direct the pilot. The series comes from Lindelof’s White Rabbit in association with Warner Bros. Television and is based on the DC Comics characters.
The series will premiere this fall on HBO.