HBO is creating a new series based on the classic DC Watchmen comic book series which itself spawned a movie by Zack Snyder in 2009. The interesting thing about the television show is that it promises not to just rehash the story the Watchmen movie told, and will instead be in the same world but based on a brand-new set of events inside that world.
The team behind Watchmen is strong, with Damon Lindelof (The Leftovers, Lost) running the show and some huge actors involved, including Regina King, Jeremy Irons, Tim Blake Nelson, Louis Gosseyy Jr., Jean Smart, and Don Johnson. It also has Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor working on the music with his partner Atticus Ross. HBO finally released the first trailer this week for Watchmen and it presents more questions than answers for fans.
10 RORSCHACH MASKS
Everyone seems to be wearing masks in the Watchmen trailer and that includes to be a group, cult, or gang that uses the Rorschach masks as their symbols. However, this is troubling because this goes against everything that Rorschach believed in as he was a vigilante. It is also interesting that the police wear masks as well.
This brings up a comparison to the real world where some police departments began to use the Punisher symbol, which made no sense considering what Punisher represents in the comics. Are these people using the image of Rorschach for their own means without understanding what the vigilante was really about?
9 DOOMSDAY CLOCK
Both the Watchmen comic books and the Zack Snyder movie dealt a great deal with time ticking down. The ticking clock, in this case, was the doomsday clock with midnight being the moment of total global annihilation. The Watchmen trailer plays on this idea as there is a watch at the start that is stuck at nine minutes to midnight.
The Doomsday clock is used a lot through the movie and the clocks at the ends of the third and fourth issues are both at nine minutes to midnight. Add in Don Johnson's character saying they are talking about the "end of the world, tick tock, tick tock," and it is clear there is another Doomsday clock at work.
8 DOCTOR MANHATTAN
There are a few hints to Doctor Manhattan returning in the Watchmen trailer, presenting the question of whether he will be in the HBO series or not. At the moment, the only character that is listed as returning from the movie to the TV series is Ozymandias (Jeremy Irons).
There is a scene with Ozymandias in an office sitting on his desk in a meditative pose. This pose is the exact same one that Doctor Manhattan used. With the fact that Ozymandias was the villain of the movie and comics, is Doctor Manhattan going to make his return as an ally or to even the score? The Doomsday clock makes it apparent he could return.
7 WHAT HAS HAPPENED SINCE THE MOVIE?
The Watchmen HBO television series is not only set in the same world as the movie but it is also a sequel of sorts. Remember, in the comic books, Ozymandias faked an alien invasion and killed thousands of people with giant squids attacking the world in order to create a sense of cooperation between countries and prevent a world war that would destroy the world.
His sense of doing something for the greater good was still an act that killed people and Doctor Manhattan helped him do it. The movie changed things but still used Manhattan as the threat of nuclear devastation to achieve the same goal. What has happened since the movie that led to what this trailer showed?
6 WHO KILLED ALL THOSE PEOPLE?
The way the Watchmen trailer puts things together, it makes it seem that the people wearing the Rorschach masks are responsible for the slaughter of many people. There are scenes at a graveyard with a funeral and there is a horrifying scene at an amusement park with dozens of people lying dead in the midway.
Were these people gunned down and killed by the people in the Rorschach masks? Were they killed by the masked police officers who appear to be vigilantes themselves now? Were their deaths part of the plan that Ozymandias hatched in the movie as a flashback? Who caused this mass devastation?
5 TALES FROM THE BLACK FREIGHTER
There was an Easter egg in the trailer that paid homage to the fictional comic book in the comic book -- Tales from the Black Freighter. In that fictional comic that a child read during the events of Watchmen, a man was a sailor who was stranded when his ship was attacked by the Black Freighter. His story was trying to get back home to warn everyone the Black Freighter was coming.
It tied into Watchmen but it appears the connection is not finished. There was a scene with a man riding a horse, passing a pirate flag which was pulled right from the fictional Black Freighter comic. Will that story play into the HBO series or will there be another story within the story for the TV show?
4 WHAT IS UP WITH THE POLICE?
The police officers in the Watchmen trailer are all wearing masks. It is almost like the fact that superheroes were outlawed in the world of Watchmen has created the need for the law enforcement agencies to take on the roles of costumed vigilantes in order to keep peace in a world that no longer has heroes protecting it.
However, with the police wearing masks, and considering the controversies in the real world concerning police violence, this is troubling. Honestly, seeing the police in masks and considering the fear that the story presents, it almost seems that many of these officers might be playing the roles of villains in the HBO TV show.
3 IS OZYMANDIAS STILL THE VILLAIN?
The big question is what role Ozymandias will play in the new Watchmen HBO series. He was the villain the movie and comic books but -- in his own eyes -- he was the hero as well. He knew the Doomsday clock was closing in on midnight and that global extinction was a possibility and decided to sacrifice thousands to save millions.
Despite that, he is still a murderer. One thing that the comic book did that the movie did not was present the idea that the sacrifice of the thousands was possibly for naught as Rorschach's journal was released to a newspaper who could reveal the truth and undo all the good Ozymandias believes he achieved. As the smartest man alive, does he have another plan? The shot of him setting off explosives in the trailer makes it look like he is busy doing something.
2 DON JOHNSON
Bringing in someone as popular in the realm of pop culture as Don Johnson means something. He portrays Chief Judd Crawford and is described as someone with "vulnerability and rage" but also someone who is easy-going. This is clear in his one moment in the trailer where he jokes about the end of the world.
However, joking about the end of the world after what Ozymandias did seems a little off. Add in the fact that he chants "tick tock" after the Watchmen trailer has the Rorschach minions all chanting the same thing makes it look like he might be part of the problem -- maybe he is one of the key weapons for the bad guys. But, they can't make it that easy to figure out.
1 IS NITE OWL RETURNING?
Yes, Ozymandias is the only character mentioned as returning from the original Watchmen but there is plenty of room for surprises. There is one moment in the trailer where a large ship crashes through the trees and it looks a lot like the Owlship.
This brings up an interesting question. Ozymandias is played by 70-year old Jeremy Irons, and he was young in the original movie. How much time has passed? Nite Owl would likely be close to 70 as well and what good could he do to help Earth at that age? Has he been training new heroes for the new world? Is there a new team of Watchmen coming?