Watchmen Theory: Ozymandias Is Trying To Make Another Doctor Manhattan

Doctor Manhattan played by Billy Crudup in Zack Snyder's Watchmen

Theory: Ozymandias Wants To Recreate Doctor Manhattan

The prop newspaper from Watchmen revealed more than just the fact that Adrian Veidt had been declared dead. Below that article was an intriguing headline that stated, "Intrinsic Chamber Talks Begin In Moscow" - obviously a reference to the intrinsic field subtractor that created Doctor Manhattan. If the Cold War has persisted into the 21st century in Watchmen's universe (perhaps an unintended side effect of Ozymandias' original attempt at ending it), then Russia and the United States may still be engaged in an arms race, and Russia may be planning to use an intrinsic field subtractor to try and create their own Doctor Manhattan. If that were to happen, it would radically disrupt the balance of global power, which would certainly give both the U.S. government and Ozymandias an incentive to create a new Doctor Manhattan before the Russians manage it.

To be clear, creating a superhuman being with godlike powers is not as simple as popping a person into the instrinsic field subtractor and turning it on. The initial effect of the accident was Jon Osterman's body being completely vaporized, and for most people that would likely be the only effect. Jon's rebirth as Doctor Manhattan was not an automatic process; he had to learn to rebuild his body from the atoms up, at first appearing only as ghostly apparitions of nervous and skeletal systems. It's implied that Jon was only able to do this by applying the same expertise he once used to repair watches - and his knowledge of nuclear physics probably helped as well.

Related: HBO's Watchmen TV Show Is A Sequel (Sort Of)

So, if Ozymandias is planning to create a new Doctor Manhattan, he will need to have a very special candidate in mind... and it wouldn't be at all surprising if that candidate was himself. After all, Adrian Veidt is now approaching the tail end of his life without having achieved the seismic shift in world history he so desired, and becoming the new Doctor Manhattan would certainly be one way to cheat death and acquire unimaginable power. He's also regarded by many as the smartest man in the world, so if anyone can follow in Jon Osterman's footsteps and build a new body using knowledge and intellect alone, it's Adrian Veidt.

What This Theory Reveals About HBO's Watchmen

Watchmen - Ozymandias - I Did It

At the end of Watchmen, Ozymandias succeeds in his goals... in the short-term. He teleports a giant alien squid to New York City that kills half of the population. However, his belief that this would result in a "dazzling transformation" for all of mankind doesn't quite seem to have panned out, based on what we've seen of HBO's Watchmen TV series so far. There are more people wearing masks than ever, now including even police officers, and mankind seems as fraught with adversity, distrust, and hatred as ever (one of the headlines in the newspaper refers to the KKK vandalizing the Statue of Liberty). In short, Ozymandias' dreamed-of new world has not yet manifested itself.

What that means, essentially, is that Adrian Veidt's legacy is incomplete - or, to borrow his words from the trailer, "it's only just begun." It seems as though Watchmen is once again setting up Ozymandias as the villain, only this time the audience knows it from the start. The big remaining mystery, then, is who will oppose him. The brief footage we've seen so far included a shot of a new character wearing a Rorschach mask, and since the original Rorschach died because of his determination to sabotage Veidt's plan, it would be fitting for his successor to take up the same fight.

While this is just a theory for now, it would certainly be interesting for the Watchmen TV series to revisit the implications and ramifications of creating a "superman" by showing Ozymandias' efforts to do so. We don't yet know when in 2019 Lindelof's show will premiere, but hopefully HBO will be unveiling more clues soon.

More: All The Masked Vigilantes In HBO's Watchmen (So Far)

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