Damon Lindelof revealed his motives for making the new TV adaptation of Watchmen. The creator of Lost and The Leftovers wants to honor its writer, and he thinks that we need more “dangerous shows.” He also wants to make it very clear that we shouldn’t trust people who wear masks.
It was back in June of this year when it was first announced that Lindelof was working with HBO to develop a TV version of the seminal Alan Moore graphic novel. This was followed a few months later by the official Watchmen pilot order by the network, as the pre-production work started in earnest. With the MCU and DCEU now such an integral part of film release schedules each year, this was a project that HBO had been trying to get off the ground for some time. The source material is very much a dark take on superheroes, with characters weaving in and out of global conspiracies and conflicts, and it seemed to be ideal material for Lindelof. In fact, he has been very vocal about his love of the book and considers himself a “superhero junkie” to some extent.
This was backed up when the showrunner spoke at a recent live event for Vulture. Speaking to Mike Schur (The Good Place), he told an audience why he was drawn to the project. He considers the story to be a very real and mature take on the genre, and wants to make a show that will reflect that and subvert some of the current comic book tropes, as he said:
“Watchmen – it was dangerous. And you can’t be dangerous for dangerous’ sake, but the reason that I’m doing this is these are dangerous times, and we need dangerous shows. … What we think about superheroes is wrong. I love the Marvel movies and we saw Justice League this morning and I’m all for Wonder Woman and Batman and I grew up on these characters, but we should not trust people who put on masks and say that they are looking out for us. If you hide your face, you are up to no good.”
Aside from his real-world concern about masked individuals, Lindelof also stated some further reasons for his deep commitment to the show. He has apparently spoken directly to Moore, who characteristically wants nothing to do with the production. However, Lindelof refers to him as “the greatest writer in the history of comics” and wants to make the show in a way that will honor the writer, believing his work to be greatly ahead of its time. Touchingly, the TV producer also wants to pay homage to his father, who instilled the love for comic books into him. This leads to one final motive for making the HBO show:
“For a superhero junkie, I’ve never done a superhero movie or a superhero TV show, and now is the time.”
Most fans have approved of the appointment of Lindelof to develop this new take on these iconic characters from the comics. The work on his previous TV shows, and his obvious affection for the material, should make for a very effective partnership with HBO once the project starts shooting. It will be interesting to see to how it matches with Zack Snyder’s 2009 film version, and just how close it will adhere to the original storyline, as rumors suggest Lindelof’s Watchmen may stray from certain plot points. There is no screening date or casting news yet on Watchmen, but hopefully the show will succeed in bringing Doctor Manhattan and co. to the small screen in the best way possible.
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