Damon Lindelof, the showrunner for HBO’s upcoming Watchmen television series, penned a five-page open letter to fans on his Instagram describing some major changes the television show will feature.
Lindelof begins the letter saying, “I am the unscrupulous bastard currently defiling something that you love.”
He begins the letter telling a story about his life to gain favor with his audience and fans of the Watchmen series.
He rambles on for about four pages before he actually gets to the meat of his letter. On page 4, Lindelof writes, “We have no desire to “adapt” the twelve issues Mr. Moore and Mr. Gibbons created thirty years ago. Those issues are sacred ground and they will not be retread nor recreated nor reproduced nor rebooted.”
But while they won’t be adapted, they will be “remixed.”
“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.
To be clear. Watchmen is canon.”
But he isn’t making a sequel. He wants to make something “original.” In fact he says “this new story must be original. 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.”
As to what contemporary means, Lindelof elaborates, “The Old Testament was specific to the Eighties of Reagan and Thatcher and Gobachev… ours needs to resonate with the frequency of Trump and May and Putin and the horse that he rides around on, shirtless.”
“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. 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.”
Lindelof then gets into all of the new stuff the show will introduce.
“Some of the characters will be unknown. New faces. New masks to cover them. We also intend to revist the past century of Costumed Adventuring through a surprising, yet familiar set of eyes… and it is here where we’ll be taking our greatest risks. Risk is imperative. I need the feeling in my stomach before I leap from a great height without knowing the depth of the water below. If my body should shatter upon impact, at least it was in pursuit of glory.”
I’m sure a number of people will take issue with Damon Lindelof’s statement that the show will not be adapting Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ comic storyline. Even more will probably be leery that he wants to make the show contemporary by resonating with the frequency of Trump, May, and Putin.
However, the letter actually encourages me this could be a very good television show and maybe HBO’s next big hit following Game of Thrones. He even points that the heroes and villains might be indistinguishable. That there might be villains and heroes on both sides. What’s even more interesting is that it appears the two sides are playing for radically different stakes. I’m interested to see what he believes are the different stakes both sides are aiming for.
What’s even more interesting is that it appears the show will also feature a number of flashbacks as he says they will revisit the past century of Costumed Adventuring. My guess is he is referring to Rohrschach. Because if the first twelve books are canon and Rohrschach is dead, that would be the most logical way of including the most iconic character from the original series.
Damon Lindelof will definitely be taking a big risk by making this show and even more of a risk by not adapting the original twelve issues. But the biggest risk will be making the show contemporary and channeling the frequency of Trump and May and Putin. Will he be able to pull it off? Time will tell.
Are you on board for this Watchmen television show or has this letter completely turned you off?