HBO and Damen Lindelof's Watchmen TV show has set a March 2018 filming start for its pilot episode. The small screen adaptation of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' landmark Watchmen comic book marks the second collaboration between HBO and Lindelof, following their work together on the TV adaptation of Tom Perrotta's novel The Leftovers. Although HBO put in an official order for Lindelof's Watchmen pilot this past September, there have not been any formal casting announcements for the series, as of yet.
The Watchmen comics were published from 1986-87 and later adapted for the big screen by filmmaker Zack Snyder (300, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, Justice League) in 2009. DC Comics Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns is currently making waves with Doomsday Clock, a comic book sequel to Watchmen that was announced earlier this year and began its run back in mid-November. Whereas the original Watchmen is a superhero story set primarily in an alternate version of Cold War-era New York in the 1980s, Doomsday Clock takes place in 1992 in the same reality. It's not yet clear, however, if Lindelof has any plans to draw from Johns' sequel for his TV iteration of the Watchmen universe.
THS is reporting that the Watchmen TV pilot will begin production in March, indicating that casting announcements for the show will start arriving over the next two to three months. HBO hasn't ordered the project to series just yet, but the network did order additional episode scripts to go along with the Watchmen pilot back in September.
Snyder's Watchmen stars Patrick Wilson (The Conjuring), Jackie Earle Haley (The Tick), Malin Åkerman (Billions), Billy Crudup (Justice League), Matthew Goode (The Crown), and Jeffrey Dean Morgan (The Walking Dead) as the typically very damaged and/or dangerous superheroes of the Watchmen universe. The film was a mixed success upon its initial release in theaters, drawing mostly positive - if split - reviews from critics and earning $185 million at the global box office against a $130 million production budget. Over time, however, Snyder's adaptation has taken on semi-cult status, thanks in no small part to the release of a Watchmen Director's Cut that restores much of the original narrative substance of Moore and Gibbons' source material.
Lindelof is no stranger to polarizing work either. The Leftovers ran for three seasons and, depending on who you ask, was either a lyrically dark meditation on grief or a depressing waste of time. The screenwriter also divided audiences and critics alike with his Lost finale, as well as his ambitious scripts for sci-fi films like Ridley Scott's Prometheus and Brad Bird's Tomorrowland. He's never been one to back away from challenging material, in that respect.
A Watchmen adaptation requires a willingness to both push people's buttons and wrestle with often morose and sometimes downright horrifying subject matter, regardless of what medium it's for. Based on his previous work, Lindelof fits the bill on both counts and is as qualified as anyone else to try his hand at a TV version of the property. Perhaps the question now is, who will watch the Watchmen... on the small screen (apologies)?
Stay tuned to Screen Rant for more Watchmen-related updates (including, casting news) over the next few months.