Back in 2015, we here at Collider broke the news that HBO was considering developing a TV series adaptation of Alan Moore’s seminal graphic novel Watchmen. Filmmaker Zack Snyder, who adapted Moore’s book into the 2009 feature film, was involved in those very early discussions at the time, but things went quiet on that front and we didn’t really hear any updates. Until June of this year, that is, when word broke that Lost co-creator and showrunner Damon Lindelof was in early talks to develop the Watchmen series for HBO.
This actually made a lot of sense. While Lindelof worked on some high-profile screenplays after Lost like Prometheus, Star Trek Into Darkness, and Tomorrowland, he dove back into the TV world with HBO’s astounding, striking, and wholly unique drama series The Leftovers. That show will go down as one of the best of this Second Golden Age of television, with Lindelof and his team honing the quality in the show’s second and third seasons, bringing the series to new heights.
So given the critical acclaim, and given that The Leftovers just ended its run, it made sense that HBO would want to stay in the Damon Lindelof business. But Lindelof has now broken his silence about his potential involvement in the series, revealing that these are very, very early days (at best), and he may very well end up not making the Watchmen TV show in the end:
“All I can say at this time is, as of right now I haven’t had any meetings at HBO about Watchmen. I’ve been very vocal about my love for those 12 issues that eventually became a graphic novel, that they were completely and totally inspiring for all the storytelling that I did subsequently, and that I owe a debt to it. So is that piece of material something that’s really interesting to me? Yes, but I do feel like I have to weigh the balance of ‘Should it exist?’ before I decide to take it on, and I’m sort of in that process now. I hold the source material in such high regard it would literally be the worst feeling in the world to screw it up. So I take it very seriously, there’s a lot of responsibility. All I can say is I’m thinking about Watchmen a lot right now, nothing official.”
So yeah, it sounds like these are very early days. For what it’s worth, during my interview with Lindelof after the Leftovers finale, he did say he wants to make another TV series:
“I think that if I were to go into feature territory I’d want to make something much smaller, more scaled in the kind of indie world or the micro-budget Jason Blum world than a big superhero epic or a big sci-fi epic. I don’t really think I’m good at writing those kinds of movies, and I’ve tried. I think the scale basically demands a certain formulaic approach and every time I try to subvert formula, I end up having to embrace it instead and I just don’t think that I’m particularly good at cramming all the ideas and characters I have in my mind onto a canvas as small as a two-hour movie.
So I definitely want to do another television show, I don’t know entirely what that is yet and what I wanna say. I feel like this space that I’ve been exploring in both Lost and The Leftovers, this kind of existential spiritual belief space—at this moment in time I feel like I’ve said everything I have to say about the afterlife (laughs). I’ve looked at it through a couple of different lenses now. There’s other things that I wanna say that will probably touch on the same themes, but I think that the biggest challenge for me at this point is finding the right people to partner with on the next thing, because I really feel like the best way to unlock something new is to find a new partnership. So I’ll be dating for a while and I’ll see where the chemistry is.”
HBO will probably make Watchmen either way, but right now Lindelof is taking some very well-deserved time off after nailing that Leftovers finale—although for what it’s worth, I’m still incredibly bitter about those Emmy snubs.