HBO’s ‘Watchmen’ To Be Potentially Set In Modern Day

With The Leftovers having officially called it a wrap with positive critical acclaim, Damon Lindelof isn’t straying away from HBO.

Lindelof is currently set to develop a television series for the network based on the iconic Watchmen. Previous sources had stated that the network has not only ordered a pilot but also back-up scripts for more episodes. In other words, it’s all but confirmed that this project will be getting picked up as a prestige cable drama.

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According to sources with knowledge on the project, Lindelof’s vision for the series is apparently unrelated to the Watchmen series discussed by Zack Snyder (who directed the 2009 superhero epic) and HBO in 2015.  It’s been unreported how far the conversations regarding the show got, or what the actual plan for the series was when Snyder was involved in it. Although with Snyder involved it was unlikely that the series would have re-adapted the Alan Moore/Dave Gibbons graphic novel. This means that it is likely that the Lindelof take on Watchmen will be “starting from scratch” and has zero connection to prior discussions.

This just leads to one big question now: what will this new series be based on then? Is it a different envisioning of the graphic novel than what Zack Snyder gave us. Zack Snyder’s Watchmen certainly has it’s fans and defenders, and it’s so far been the most visually pleasing and accurate of his films but it did have it’s weak points which stem from being constrained by the expected runtime for film. A potential TV series could rectify what Snyder unfortunately got wrong with the property by spending more time exploring the Minuteman era and elaborating on the Under The Hood pages by Hollis Mason that occur between every chapter of the graphic novel. The material is certainly there for Lindelof to do that if he so chooses.

Recent quotes from Lindelof though suggest that his adaptation of Watchmen will be something brand new which does not put a modern day setting out of the picture and not a potential prequel based on the Before Watchmen series of comics that DC Comics launched in 2012. That comic was written in the mid ’80s, [but it’s] more timely now,” he told a crowd at Vulture Fest (via The Hollywood Reporter ). “These are dangerous times…and we need dangerous shows.”

As for a release date, it’s been rumored that the series is to begin production on a pilot in March of this year but that could be subject to change as Lindelof did recently make a post on Instagram indicating that the script for the pilot is still in development. The post is featured below:

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There is a slim possibility that the pilot could still start filming in March but that would suggest that the series will be running on an extremely tight deadline. HBO has not commented on the production or the rumors surrounding the potentially rushed development of the series but we will know in the coming months ahead.

In 2012, DC Comics released a series of Watchmen prequels, appropriately titled Before Watchmen, from an assortment of creators like J. Michael Straczynski and Len Wein.  The series was largely met with a mix reception from fans and audiences alike. Either way there is plenty of material surrounding the Watchmen series of characters for Lindelof to use to develop however many episodes he is aiming for. Though it’s not a necessity for Lindelof and his team to delve into the prequels as a source for inspiration if they’re looking to expand and flesh out the acclaimed graphic novel. There is plenty of plotlines, themes, and ideas that exist within the twelve chapters of the original graphic novel to fuel a whole season based on Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ creation. This news comes on the heels of DC Comics launching the critically and financially successful 12-issue stand-alone Watchmen story titled Doomsday Clock in November of last year.

The one thing that this series is facing and isn’t much of a surprise is that Watchmen creator Alan Moore will be dissatisfied with whatever becomes of the production. Moore, who has often been quite vocal in his disapproval for all spin-offs and sequels based on his bibliography, and that’s unlikely to change anytime soon.

Lindelof added in an interview that they’re “trying to find a way to do it in a way that honors Alan Moore.” They are not under the illusion though that the controversial British comic book writer’s opinion on the finished production will be positive. As for the rest of the DC fanbase and fans of Watchmen in particular who have been getting a happy helping of their favorite story will be happy at the chance to see the Watchmen get a second chance with a less stylized approach compared to the film. It’s an appealing idea. There were also rumors of DC’s animated division starting to work on an R-rated animated adaptation of the story but that project is less likely to happen now with the series being in active development.

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