WWE star John Cena has shared a pair of Instagram posts featuring imagery related to the Watchmen graphic novel, leading some to believe he may be teasing a role on Damon Lindelof's adaptation of the book for HBO.
The wrestler has acted in a variety of movies over the past few years, including Trainwreck and Sisters, both in 2015; he's next voicing the title role in upcoming animated film Ferdinand. On the TV side of things, he hosted an episode of Saturday Night Live in 2016, but has largely stuck to talk and reality shows, like NBC's Today, and Fox's American Grit, the latter of which he has hosted two seasons. But now, if a far-fetched rumor is to be believed, Cena may have a big role on what's sure to be a big show: Lindelof's Watchmen TV series set at HBO.
Cena has shared two images on Instagram (h/t CBR): one of the Comedian's badge, practically Watchmen's logo, and another of fan art depicting Dr. Manhattan, one of the graphic novel's protagonists. CBR points out that Cena curates a relatively eccentric Instagram gallery of unrelated images, so his nods to Watchmen could simply be the random posts of a fan. But some see potential for surprise in the fact that Cena posted not one, but two Watchmen-related graphics.
News of Lindelof's adaptation of Watchmen for HBO first broke in June. More recently, the showrunner - who has long praised the virtues of the graphic novel, as well as its influence on his work - explained that Watchmen could fill what he perceives to be the need for "dangerous shows." Among other works, Lindelof is responsible for Lost and The Leftovers, both of which which he co-created. Watchmen will mark Lindelof's return to HBO after The Leftovers.
At this point, the possibility of Cena playing Dr. Manhattan seems extremely remote. He's demonstrated respectable acting chops in the realm of comedy, but a role like Dr. Manhattan — in a show like an HBO imagining of Watchmen — would be an entirely different beast. The Leftovers was a mesmerizing piece of TV, compelling in its personal drama, its fantasy, and its existential questions. Watchmen, in turn, is a property rife with profound potential. The book is consistently hailed as a pinnacle not only of the graphic novel medium, but of literature more broadly. So while it can be fun to imagine Cena enveloped in blue CGI, it would be wise to temper expectations. Nothing's impossible, but this is close to it.
Watchmen does not yet have a premiere date.