HBO has confirmed that production on Damon Lindelof's Watchmen TV show is underway and released a first look photo of a new character on the series. The Watchmen TV show is a (sort of) sequel to Dave Gibbons and Alan Moore's groundbreaking 1980s comic book series and appears to take place in the present-day version of the Watchmen universe. As such, most of the superheroes that were still alive by the end of Gibbons and Moore's narrative will have either passed away or permanently retired by the time Lindelof's series picks up.
Regina King, who previously worked with HBO and Lindelof on The Leftovers, leads a cast in the Watchmen TV series that includes Tm Blake Nelson, Louis Gossett Jr., Don Johnson, Jeremy Irons, and Aquaman costar Yahya Abdul-Mateen II in key roles. While it's been speculated that Irons is playing an older Adrian Veidt aka. Ozymandias (the superhero and eventual antagonist in Gibbons and Moore's story), HBO is firmly keeping a lid on official Watchmen TV show character details for the time being. Despite that, leaked photos from the Watchmen set have already revealed that Johnson specifically is playing a police officer on the series.
Intriguingly, the same set photos also show Johnson next to a group of police officers wearing yellow masks that mostly cover their faces, save for their eyes. HBO has now posted a motion photo of one such cop to the official Watchmen Instagram account, as part of its announcement confirming that production is formally underway on the series. Take a look, below.
It's not clear yet whether the police officer shown here is wearing a mask for a specific purpose or if masks are simply part of the standard uniform worn by cops in the present-day Watchmen universe. Seeing as the series takes place in an alternate reality where costumed superheroes and vigilantes were outlawed in the late 1970s, it's possible that, by the time the TV show picks up, the police have responded to the continuing existence of masked crime-fighters by wearing face covers to better hide their own identities. Though again, it's also plausible that the police officer pictured here is wearing a mask for reasons that have to do with a specific situation. That would further explain why Johnson isn't wearing a mask in the set photos.
Watchmen, as a franchise, has always focused heavily on the moral and ethical implications of being a superhero and it's safe to assume that Lindelof's TV series will carry that tradition over into its more modern setting. The relationship between the police and the present-day Watchmen should likewise feature heavily into the series' proceedings, for the same reason. In fact, a reported Watchmen character breakdown indicated that many of the main players on the show are cops of some variety or another (King's protagonist included). Either way, in this particular case, the answer to the famous question of "Who watches the Watchmen?" seems to be, well, the police.
Watchmen premieres on HBO sometime in 2019.