Damon Lindelof talks about upcoming ‘Watchmen’ series for HBO in open letter to fans
Damon Lindelof, co-creator of two great television series (Lost and The Leftovers) has the daunting task of tuning Alan Moore’s beloved comic series Watchmen for a new HBO series. News broke about this last year, and today Lindelof posted an open letter to fans on Instagram that, across five pages, details his hopes, fears and plans for the project. (He also apologizes a lot.) He framed the whole letter against his relationship with his father, who gave him the comics in the ’80s and who died when Lindelof was 29.
As for details, Lindelof says they do not want to adapt Watchmen, but instead “remix” it:
Those issues are sacred ground and they will not be retread nor recreated nor reproduced nor rebooted. 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.
This sounds a little like what Noah Hawley has done with Fargo (which turned out to be pretty great). Lindelof says it will not be a sequel but a new story, with new characters that will “vibrate with the seismic unpredictability of its own tectonic plates” and that they “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.” It’s also set in present day:
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. Speaking of Horsemen, The End of The World is off the table (THE LEFTOVERS! NOW STREAMING ON HBO GO!) which means the heroes and villains — as if the two are distinguishable — are playing for different stakes entirely. The tone will be fresh and nasty and electric and absurd. Many describe Watchmen as “dark,” but I’ve always loved its humor — worshipping at the altar of the genre whilst simultaneously trolling it.
You can read the whole letter below.