It took a while, but HBO has officially ordered Damon Lindelof’s Watchmen. I actually thought it had already been ordered to series, but it seems not even Damon’s name is enough to greenlight a whole series, and it took a pilot to impress HBO execs.
Since there’s been a dearth of good TV in 2018, with only HBO’s Sharp Objects truly impressing me, is like music to my ears and all my Christmases rolled into one.
— House Box Office (@HBO) August 17, 2018
Here’s HBO’s official logline:
“Set in an alternate history where “superheroes” are treated as outlaws, Watchmen embraces the nostalgia of the original groundbreaking graphic novel while attempting to break new ground of its own.”
Back before production began on the pilot episode, Lindelof announced he would not be making a straight adaptation, but that his show would be set years after Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon’s 1986 graphic novel, stating:
“We have no desire to ‘adapt’ the twelve issues Mr. Moore and Mr. Gibbons created thirty years ago. Those issues are sacred ground and they will not be retread nor recreated nor reproduced nor rebooted. They will, however, be remixed.”
Lindelof went on to emphasize the project isn’t a sequel, but it will be set within the original world built by Moore and Gibbons. “This new story must be original. It must ask new questions and explore the world through a fresh lens. Most importantly, it must be contemporary.” He also stated that Watchmen would be a dangerous show for these dangerous times.
Taking another author’s universe and running wild with it is when Lindelof is at his best. ABC Exec Loyd Braun famously wanted Lost to be Castaway meets reality show Survivor and Lindelof and Carlton Cuse took Jeffrey Lieber’s original, awful pilot script and turned it into the greatest pilot ever made.
Only season one of The Leftovers followed the events of Tom Perotta’s novel (and deviated massively) while seasons two and three were wholly Lindelofian. After Ozymandius faked an alien invasion in the finalé of the comic, Lindelof’s new iteartion of the United States will be running wild with crazy, beautiful ideas and the deepest, most flawed characters. What I’m trying to prove is that Watchmen will be in great hands on Damon’s watch.
HBO also released a detailed cast list, including previously announced cast members like Regina King (The Leftovers), Jeremy Irons (Die Hard With A Vengeance), Tim Blake Nelson (O Brother, Where Art Thou?) Louis Gossett Jr. (Jaws 3D) and Don Johnson (Miami Vice),Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Adelynn Spoon, Lily Rose Smith, Jacob Ming-Trent, Dylan Schombing, Adelaide Clemens, Andrew Howard, Frances Fisher, Tom Mison and Sara Vickers.
Lindelof reunites with The Leftovers executive producer Tom Spezialy, as well as former Leftovers director Nicole Kassell, who directed the pilot and execs. Stephen Williams (Lost) will also direct and produce, while veteran Joseph Iberti (Mr Robot) will exec.
Lindelof won an Emmy for Lost in 2005 and has been nominated 10 times. His last series, The Leftovers, was my number one show of 2017, even though it was overlooked for an Emmy.
Watchmen has been slated for a 2019 release date.