[UPDATE: HBO has confirmed that a Watchmen TV series is in early development.]
Batman V Superman director Zack Snyder’s movie adaptation of the seminal graphic novel / comic miniseries Watchmen remains a controversial case of comic book movie making. Some swear the movie’s slavish adherence to writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons comic was as good as could be expected; others think the film is an overly-long and somewhat boring cinematic experience.
Whatever your opinion, the Watchmen brand has not faded in the nearly thirty years since the first comic’s release: besides the 2009 film, there were a series of prequel comics (Before Watchmen) released – and now word is that a TV show could be in the works, as well.
Collider reports exclusively that Zack Snyder has been meeting with HBO to talk about the Watchmen TV series. At this time, there are no details on the nature of the show, or the status of the meetings (far along, just starting, close to a deal, etc.). UPDATE: HBO has now confirmed that it is working on a Watchmen TV show, with the following statement (via Coming Soon):
“Preliminary discussions regarding Watchmen have occurred but we have no additional information and no deals are in place.”
At the risk of over-speculating, however, fans might expect one of three scenarios for such a TV series:
- Prequel stories based on Before Watchmen.
- Reboot re-telling of the Watchmen comic, in long-form TV format.
- A sequel series picking up where the movie left things (a la Fox’s Minority Report TV series).
The Watchmen faithful can be kind of touchy when it comes to the subject of this iconic comic being adapted into other forms of media; creator Alan Moore refuses to even have his name attached to any film projects based on his work. But while it’s true that Hollywood can twist and ruin a great story of the page, Watchmen actually strikes me as a property that could have real potential on the small screen – no matter which version of the show we get.
- If it’s a PREQUEL: Well, the Before Watchmen comics received middling reviews, largely deemed to be fine (but ultimately unnecessary) storytelling. A show that begins with these prequel tales and leads to more familiar territory might be able to capture the full breadth of the saga and streamline it into something that maybe even Alan Moore wouldn’t hate (steep bet, though).
- If it’s a RE-IMAGINING: Watchmen was always considered to be “literary,” despite its comic book format. The layered meanings and utter density of character arcs, themes and narrative turns Moore packed into the writing are only intensified by the visual cues, motifs and metaphors that Gibbons packed into his art. In short, this would not be a hard comic to stretch out into a longer-format story, where, instead of brief sequences and montages like the film, we could spend entire episodes following character backstories (ex: origin of Dr. Manhattan) and fleshing out these people and their world context. Finally, since the prequel stories now exist, longtime fans could get a version of the Watchmen story that’s new to them, with elements of the prequels peppered into the traditional narrative.
- If it’s a SEQUEL: While Fox’s Minority Report sequel series may not be the most quality example, its premise is at least interesting enough to have me believe in the potential of a Watchmen sequel series – one that explores the roles of superheroes or the characters we left behind, following Ozymandias’ successful cataclysm plot to unite the world. If a sequel series is the plan, it would be interesting to see if the continuity of Snyder’s film is the one that’s followed. His alleged presence at the meetings suggests that would indeed be the case.
Now GRANTED, there will be a lot of fans who swear religiously that Watchmen is such a tight and complete work on its own that any extension or expansion of the story is akin to blaspheme. We here at SR probably would’ve backed that opinion, once upon a time, but the fact is that there have already been canonized expansions to the story (Before Watchmen), so keeping the original story self-contained is a moot point. This debate was arguably over the moment Snyder first started shooting his film adaptation. The question at hand is: IF this TV series is GOING TO happen regardless, which form would YOU like to see it take, as a fan?
We’ll have more on the possible HBO Watchmen TV series as details come to light.
Update source: Coming Soon