Damon Lindelof took to Instagram today to give an update on his long-percolating Watchmen project for HBO. And boy howdy, it’s something. The writer made a five-slide post of a letter written in a voice like that of Doctor Manhattan to try and get across his idea for his new series, as a way (it seems like) to try and head-off rabid fans who are primed to be wary of it (especially after the full-on mess that was Zack Snyder‘s 2009 movie). Essentially, Lindelof explains that he is not looking to adapt Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons‘ seminal graphic novel as one might expect. “Those issues are sacred ground and will not be retread nor recreated nor reproduced nor rebooted,” he wrote.
Instead, “They will however be remixed. Because the bass lines in those familiar tracks are just too good and we’d be fools not to sample them. Those original twelve issues are our Old Testament. When the New Testament came along it did not erase what came before it. Creation. The Garden of Eden. Abraham and Isaac. The Flood. It all happened. And so it will be with ‘Watchmen.’ The Comedian died. Dan and Laurie fell in love. Ozymandias saved the world and Dr. Manhattan left it just after blowing Rorschach to pieces in the bitter cold of Antarctica.”
Sigh, yeah. The whole thing is like that. Except worse. Here’s the post:
To be clear, Lindelof’s ideas sound really interesting (they usually do!) But this post is pretty insufferable … it goes on to say:
“This story will be set in the world its creators painstakingly built…but in the tradition of the work that inspired it, this new story must be original,” he said. “It has to vibrate with the seismic unpredictability of its own tectonic plates. It must ask new questions and explore the world through a fresh lens. Most importantly, it must be contemporary. The Old Testament was specific to the Eighties of Reagan and Thatcher and Gorbachev. Ours needs to resonate with the frequency of Trump and May and Putin and the horse that he rides around on, shirtless. And speaking of Horsemen, The End of the World is off the table…which means the heroes and villains–as if the two are distinguishable–are playing for different stakes entirely […] Some of the characters will be unknown. New faces. New masks to cover them. We also intend to revisit the past century of Costumed Adventuring through a surprising yet familiar set of eyes…and it is here we will be taking our greatest risks.”
There’s no sense yet of which of the original characters might, or in what form, appear in Lindelof’s adaptation, which was picked up to pilot last September but hasn’t had any news about it released since. It’s my guess that Lindelof has put this statement out as a precursor to casting being released, which may (evidently) send some fans into a tailspin. Still, you can’t please everyone, and Lindelof has plenty of experience with that through Lost and The Leftovers. He should feel confident enough to just put this forth and let the work speak for itself without all of these disclaimers and hesitant appeasement of fans who don’t know (and don’t need to know) anything about the thing until it’s actually something we can watch. Until then, it’s all speculation. And in that meantime, it’s worth giving it a chance.