*Major spoilers for Watchmen—the comic book and the HBO series premiere—to follow*
If you caught the series premiere of HBO’s Watchmen, you definitely had a few questions. While we tried our best to answer the major ones, there’s still a lot of gaps to fill in. The series picks up 34 years after the events of the comics by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, leaving decades of stories between 2019 and that time Adrian Veidt (Jeremy Irons…maybe) dropped a living squid monster on New York City, averting near-certain nuclear war. Luckily, series creator Damon Lindelof still remembers a few of the old LOST tricks, and a companion site has been set up that offers fascinating lore, Easter Eggs, and supplemental material that fills in the gap between 1985 and 2019.
Perhaps the biggest bombshell? As revealed by Special Agent Dale Petey of the “Anti-Vigilante Task Force”, Laurie Blake—played by Jean Smart in the HBO series—not only adopted the surname of her violent, estranged father Edward Blake, but eventually started using the vigilante moniker “The Comedienne” in honor of his alter-ego, “The Comedian”. After the events of Watchmen, The Comedienne and Dan Dreiberg in his Nite Owl costume were arrested in 1995 for violating the superhero-outlawing Keene Act. Their arrest “re-ignited cultural fascination with masked vigilantes”, leading The New Frontiersman newspaper to publish Rorschach’s journal in its entirety.
Prior to this, the contents of Rorschach’s journal had largely been dismissed as a hoax. The New Frontiersman’s hyper-conservative editor, Hector Godfrey, had been doling out the journal in ten installments, concluding with the accusation that Veidt was behind the “Dimensional Incursion Event”. Veidt, rich and powerful as hell, simply laughed off the claims, quite literally calling it “fake news”. Here’s the Veidt quote from the memorandum:
“What do you call something like that? ‘Blotting out reality,’ perhaps?” He added: “I knew Rorschach. I worked with Rorschach. And while we had our differences, he had my sympathy, because he was a damaged human being, and he had my admiration, too, as no one in our fraternity was more dedicated to making our world safer than Walter was. If we are to remember him at all as we move into the future, let us remember him for those qualities, not this fabrication baring his name. It is, quite literally, fake news.”
In 2012, Veidt went missing. In 2018, the president of The New Frontiersman’s parent company, freaking Roger Ailes, sued the missing Veidt and Veidt Industries for a “systematic campaign of harassment, intimidation, and sabotage” against his employees for publishing articles suggesting Ailes himself had Veidt killed. In 2019, the worldwide search ended after the FBI officially declared the figure “presumed deceased”. (Personal condolences from President Robert Redford were issued through White House Press Secretary, Ezra Klein.)
But the influence of Veidt’s never-solved Dimensional Incursion Event remains in 2019. A tech-scare followed after the squid-monster’s appearance, with companies fearing technology that might emit “D.I.E.-grade radiation” and possibly “damage the (hypothetical) dimensional membrane”. This is the reason HBO’s Watchmen features characters primarily using beepers in place of smartphones or tablets.
For even more fascinating glimpses into the world of Watchmen, head over to the Peteypedia, which we’re hearing will be updated with new stuff weekly. And for more coverage of the series, check out the teaser video for the rest of season 1 as well as our 35-minute interview with Lindelof.