Alan Moore isn’t happy about HBO’s Watchmen adaptation, and showrunner Damon Lindelof has accepted that. The highly-anticipated series is set to premiere this October, although an exact date has yet to be announced.
Last summer, a Watchmen TV show from Lost co-creator Lindelof was ordered to series at HBO. While many initially assumed it would be a direct adaptation, Lindelof explained that wasn’t the case. Not only would the show not be adapting the seminal twelve-issue series created by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons in 1986, but it wouldn’t be taking its cues from the Before Watchmen prequel comics or the Doomsday Clock sequel either. Other than that revelation, the showrunner has been rather cryptic, saying that the original story elements will come into play, but that they will be “remixed”. So, the series is to be set in the same universe and while familiar faces will appear, this world will be populated by new characters as well. Details have been scarce, but the recently released trailer did shed a bit more light on this present day alternate reality in which masked vigilantes have been outlawed.
The Wrap reports that at a TCA Q&A, HBO's Casey Bloys was asked if Alan Moore had changed his famously negative feelings about adaptations of his work. Bloys responded, “I think that remains the case. That he’s not thrilled.” The programming head also confirmed that Moore won't be consulting on the show. According to TV Line, Lindelof is okay with the fact that Moore isn't onboard with his project. He referred to the writer as "a genius", saying that he appreciates Moore's “punk rock spirit, rebellious spirit”. Lindelof went on to say that if someone had told a young Alan Moore what he could or couldn't do, “he would say, ‘F–k you. I’m doing it anyway… so I’m channeling the spirit of Alan Moore to tell Alan Moore, ‘F–k you. I’m doing it anyway."
One of the most important names in the comics industry, Moore made waves last week when his decision to retire from writing comics went into effect. His stance on this topic isn’t surprising. The writer asked that his name be taken off of Zack Snyder’s 2009 Watchmen film, and requested that his share of the profits be given to artist Dave Gibbons instead. Over the years, he's also had negative things to say about several adaptations of his work, including From Hell, V for Vendetta, and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
Creators aren’t the only ones who struggle with adaptations of their work. Fans also have a difficult time seeing stories that they love rendered in a new medium. In Moore’s defense, several of the movie versions of his stories were simply not very good, and others that weren’t terrible managed to mute whatever point he was originally trying to make. That being said, perhaps the fact that Watchmen won’t be a true adaptation is a good thing. Lindelof obviously has immense respect for the source material and even as he's saying, "F–k you" to Moore, it's apparent that he has tremendous respect for the writer as well . Lindelof has proven with Lost that he excels at writing original stories, and his work on The Leftovers was certainly a well-received remix of the novel on which the show was based. Moore’s reaction, while understandable, certainly doesn’t mean that Watchmen won't be great. Fans will just have to wait until October to find out for sure.