While Game of Thrones is arguably the most talked about TV show of the year, HBO is hoping that it might have another contender for that title – and as soon as this autumn – with its new adaptation of Watchmen. Now, we’ve got our first look at what’s in store with the first teaser trailer.
Created by Damon Lindelof, the series is a modern-day reimagining of Alan Moore’s groundbreaking graphic novel about masked vigilantes. Set in an alternate history where superheroes are treated as outlaws, the original novel needs no introduction to comic book fans, with its alternate, subversive and violent take on superheroes legendary within the genre. Indeed, this is not the first time the text has been brought to the screen, with Zack Snyder directing a film in 2009.
Lindelof has previously told fans that he has “no desire to adapt the twelve issues Mr. Moore and Mr. Gibbons created 30 years ago”.
“Those issues are sacred ground and will not be retread nor recreated nor reproduced nor rebooted,” he added. “Because the bass lines in those familiar tracks are just too good and we’d be fools not to sample them. Those original 12 issues are our Old Testament. When the New Testament came along it did not erase what came before it.”
The story “will be set in the world its creators painstakingly built”, he explained, promising to “ask new questions and explore the world through a fresh lens”. That lens, it turns out, is a very contemporary one, as the trailer introduces us not to Rorschach but to a cult-like following inspired by the masked vigilante of the comic – a following that, judging by a glimpse of the older Ozymandias, may have taken issue with the actions of the younger Ozymandias. Is that a result of Rorschach’s journal being shared around in the years following the events of the graphic novel?
What we do know for sure, apart from the Leftovers-like vibe of the teaser, is that Lindelof’s series has a super-star-studded cast, including Regina King, Jeremy Irons, Don Johnson, Jean Smart, Tim Blake Nelson, Louis Gossett Jr., Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Hong Chau, Andrew Howard, Tom Mison, Frances Fisher, Jacob Ming-Trent, Sara Vickers, Dylan Schombing, and James Wolk.
The series will premiere this autumn, which is when you can expect it to air in the UK on Sky Atlantic. Here’s the video:
HBO orders full Watchmen series from Damon Lindelof
19th August 2018
HBO has officially ordered a full series for Damon Lindelof’s Watchmen.
Adapted by the Lost and The Leftovers writer, the show is based on the DC graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. Set in an alternate history where superheroes are treated as outlaws, the novel needs no introduction to comic book fans, with its alternate, subversive and violent take on superheroes legendary within the genre.
Indeed, this is not the first time the text has been brought to the screen, with Zack Snyder directing a film in 2009. That movie, however, was met with mixed reception. The notion of a new version of the story, then, is one that fans have treated with caution.
HBO’s take on the project was first ordered to pilot back in September last year and has been subject to wary speculation about how the book would be transformed for TV, and which characters would make the jump. In May, Lindelof wrote a letter to fans to explain his intentions.
“We have no desire to adapt the twelve issues Mr. Moore and Mr. Gibbons created 30 years ago,” he wrote. “Those issues are sacred ground and will not be retread nor recreated nor reproduced nor rebooted.”
However, they will be “remixed”, he added.
“Because the bass lines in those familiar tracks are just too good and we’d be fools not to sample them. Those original 12 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.”
“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,” he 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 80s 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.”
He also promised that there will “new faces” and characters.
“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,” he teased.
Three months on and HBO has officially green-lit a full series based on that principle. The original book followed a group of veteran crime fighters investigating the murder of one of their group, with former costumed heroes such as Nite Owl, Silk Spectre and Rorschach uncovering a dark conspiracy.
HBO’s official description of Watchmen simply says it “embraces the nostalgia of the original groundbreaking graphic novel while attempting to break new ground of its own”.
What we do know is the project has a impressive cast list, with Regina King leading an ensemble that includes Jeremy Irons, Don Johnson, Tim Blake Nelson, Louis Gossett Jr., Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Adelaide Clemens, Andrew Howard, Tom Mison, Frances Fisher, Jacob Ming-Trent, Sara Vickers, Dylan Schombing, Lily Rose Smith and Adelynn Spoon.
Lindelof is writer of the series and Executive Producer, alongside Nicole Kassell, director of the pilot, Tom Spezialy, Stephen Williams, director of the series, and Joseph Iberti. The show is produced for HBO by White Rabbit in association with Warner Bros. Television.
Watchmen will air on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV in the UK in 2019. Here’s the teaser video HBO released announcing the project is officially a go.
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