HBO has announced no less than six cast members for Damon Lindelof's Watchmen comic book TV series pilot. In the years since Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons released their landmark Watchmen comics, the property has gotten both a prequel comic book miniseries (Before Watchmen) and a sequel comic series (Doomsday Clock), neither of which involved Moore or Gibbons. Watchmen was also adapted for the big screen in 2009 under Zack Snyder's direction, and is now making its way to the small screen as a live-action show for the first time now.
Lindelof, who previously co-created The Leftovers for HBO, only just posted a five-page statement to social media, claiming that Watchmen is a 'remix' of the property that will neither reboot nor reproduce the events of Moore and Gibbons' comic book story. It's not clear yet how many of the characters that survived the original Watchmen comic book saga will return in the TV show either, with Lindelof teasing that there will be several "New faces [and] new masks to cover them" on the series. However, we do now know at least some of the actors that will be appearing in the small screen iteration of Watchmen.
According to Variety, Regina King is playing a lead role in Watchmen and will share the screen with seasoned TV veterans Don Johnson and Louis Gossett Jr. (the original Miami Vice and Roots, respectively). The Watchmen TV show pilot will further include Adelaide Clemens (Rectify) and Andrew Howard (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Hell on Wheels), as well as the ever prolific movie and TV character actor Tim Blake Nelson (famous for his roles in films like O'Brother, Where Art Thou?). Based on a previously-released Watchmen casting breakdown, King is almost certainly playing Angela Abraham, an "independent and intelligent [cop who's] also a realist".
It appears the Watchmen TV show will take place in the present, albeit the present-day version of the alternate universe in Moore and Gibbons' original comics. In that world, the U.S. actually won the Vietnam War thanks to the involvement of costumed superheroes - especially that of Jon Osterman aka. Dr. Manhattan, a being with god-like powers and an allergy to clothes - and Richard Nixon was still the country's president well into the 1980s. Lindelof has confirmed that Moore and Gibbons' original twelve issues of Watchmen are canon to the show, meaning the series will (presumably) examine what happened in the aftermath of Adrian Veidt aka. Ozymandias' horrific attempt to bring about world peace through the slaughter of millions.
As polarizing as Lindelof's work can be (in particular his Prometheus movie script and LOST TV show finale), many critics seem to agree that The Leftovers represents his most compelling offering yet. The series cut deep and dark with its exploration of mass trauma, as well as the struggle between religion and faith versus science and rationalism. The Watchmen comics have long wrestled with similar topics and controversial issues, which suggests that Lindelof may yet well prove to be the right person to 'remix' the property for cable TV. And with an already great cast in place, he's certainly gotten started on the right foot here.
We will bring you more details on the Watchmen TV show as they become available.