Even though we’ve known for months what the look, feel, and, albeit a bit vaguely, the plot of HBO’s Watchmen would be, it’s been tough to really understand how this show fits into the timeline — if at all — established in the 12-issues Watchmen graphic novel series first created by Alan Moore. Now, series creator Damon Lindelof (The Leftovers, Lost) is clarifying where his show sits in that timeline and what audiences can expect in terms of story continuity in the wake of Moore’s Watchmen series.
Speaking with Entertainment Weekly in an extensive interview about the Watchmen series, Lindelof wanted to be clear about how exactly we should categorize this show:
Look, [the new series] certainly fits into the “sequel” box, and definitely doesn’t fit into the “reboot” box. We treat the original 12 issues as canon. They all happened. We haven’t done any revisionist history, but we can maneuver in between the cracks and crevices and find new stories there.
Given the fact that the trailers for Watchmen have already teased the return of original characters including Laurie Blake (who will be played by Jean Smart in the HBO series) and Adrian Veidt (who will now be played by Jeremy Irons), Lindelof’s comments about this series acting as a sequel make sense. It should also come as a relief to fans (myself included) that this is not a reboot. In this way, it hints at Lindelof’s respect for both Moore’s creation and, to a degree, director Zack Snyder‘s 2009 adaptation of the graphic novel. Now, whether or not there will be specific references to the events to the 12-issue Watchmen series outside of including characters from said series who will potentially reference past events remains unclear. Lindelof is also keeping it vague on how much specific past events in Watchmen influences the present in this world outside of the present-day obviously rising out of the past.
When it comes to the plot, Lindelof made it clear that even though this series acknowledges and preserves the events of past Watchmen issues in its timeline, he is here to tell a new story with new characters. As he explained to EW: “We wanted to make sure our first episode felt like the beginning of a new story rather than a continuation of an old story. That’s what I think a sequel is — the continuation of an old story.” Viewers will see this play out through the vast array of new characters played by Regina King, Tim Blake Nelson, Don Johnson, and more, all created for HBO’s Watchmen.
Watchmen debuts on October 20th. If you’re curious to take a closer look, check out our breakdown of a recently-released, in-depth featurette on the series. Check out the official trailer below:
Here’s the official Watchmen synopsis:
Set in an alternate history where masked vigilantes are treated as outlaws, Watchmen, from executive producer Damon Lindelof (Emmy-winner for “Lost”; HBO’s “The Leftovers”) embraces the nostalgia of the original groundbreaking graphic novel of the same name, while attempting to break new ground of its own. Nicole Kassell directs the pilot from a script written by Lindelof.