The first trailer for HBO’s Watchmen has finally arrived. The show is based in the same world as Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ titular graphic novel. Though intensely debated for issues such as its treatment of women, the comic is nearly undeniable in its popularity. When it released in the ’80s, it reinvented what fans though of superheroes and their portrayals. It’s a gargantuan pair of shoes to fill, especially considering that Moore has virtually forbidden the work from being adapted.
Defying those wishes is Damon Lindelof, (Lost, The Leftovers) who will be writing and executive producing the show. About a year ago he explained to Watchmen fans why he took on the Icarian task and what he plans to do with it in an Instagram post. In that post, he made it clear that HBO’s Watchmen has no plans to retread the territory of its source material. So if nothing in the trailer looks like the comic — it’s doing its job. The story Lindelof wants to tell recognizes Watchmen as canon, but takes place decades in the future, with characters reflecting modern times.
He writes that HBO’s Watchmen “needs to resonate with the frequency of Trump and May and Putin and the horse that he rides on, shirtless . . . 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.”
Much of this comes off in the trailer. Fans will recognize the legacy of one of Watchmen’s most famous characters, Rorschach, in the trailer’s first scene. A group of people wearing his mask declare, “We are no one, we are everyone and we are invisible.” They chant “tick tock” over the entire trailer. It’s a solid first scene for a show wanting to branch from its source material.
Lindelof’s vision seems to be acutely aware of the world it’s being produced in. What more could a Watchmen adaptation ask for? Be ready for HBO’s Watchmen to arrive this fall.
Josh is a writer who likes to enjoy things. While watching or reading, he mumbles “this is so good,” sometimes emphasizing the ‘so.’