HBO's Watchmen TV show is on the way, but when will it release? The legendary 1986 graphic novel by writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons is still considered the gold standard of comic book storytelling three decades one. Its dark deconstruction of superhero tropes would go on to heavily influence a generation of comic book creators. Indeed, along with Frank Miller's Batman epic The Dark Knight Returns, Watchmen is often considered the point when superhero comic books gained legitimacy by primarily targeting adult readers rather than children.
Watchmen has something of a checkered history in Hollywood. Alan Moore had an infamous falling out with DC Comics in the late 80s and has publicly disavowed all efforts to adapt his work for film and television, including Watchmen. After several false starts by directors like Terry Gilliam, David Hayter, and Darren Aronofsky, Watchmen finally made its way to the big screen in 2008, helmed by Batman v Superman director Zack Snyder. The film proved modestly successful at the box office and garnered lukewarm reviews, though its extended "Ultimate Cut" home release has gained a significant cult following.
With 2019's Watchmen TV show, HBO is ready to take another swing at the story that has been called "unfilmable" on more than one occasion. Spearheaded by Lost and The Leftovers writer Damon Lindelof, details on the project have been hard to come by, but some of the basics are starting to come together, signaling that this will be a very different take on Watchmen.
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Last updated: March 21, 2019
HBO's Watchmen TV Show Is A Sequel To The Comics
After the release of the 2008 film, Zack Snyder and HBO were in discussions about bringing Watchmen to the small screen in some form. That never materialized, however, and Lindelof's series will not be in continuity with Snyder's film. While Snyder's film was noted for its slavish devotion to the graphic novel's look and story, it actually did change some crucial aspects of the story, including the deadly climax, with Adrian Veidt framing Doctor Manhattan for the destruction of New York City, rather than unleashing the iconically horrific squid monster from the comic.
Lindelof has remained cagey about the exact relationship HBO's Watchmen TV show will share with the source material, proclaiming it neither a reboot or a sequel in a widely shared Instagram post where he chronicled his lifelong love of the graphic novel he and his father shared. Yet there are hints emerging that this will indeed be a continuation of the original story. We know that the Watchmen TV show will take place in an alternate future where superheroes have been outlawed, and some familiar faces will play a factor as well.
HBO's Watchmen TV Show Cast
There has been abundant casting news regarding the Watchmen TV show, but with virtually no character details attached. The show's cast is overflowing with talent, headlined by Emmy winner Regina King, who worked with Lindelof on his last HBO series, The Leftovers. Don Johnson, Tim Blake Nelson, and Aquaman's Yahya Abdul-Mateen II are also onboard in undisclosed roles. Jean Smart will also be jumping superhero television franchises, boarding Watchmen just as Legion is concluding.
Our first - and so far, only - direct casting link to the source material is Jeremy Irons, who's been tapped to play Ozymandias himself, Adrian Veidt. Irons - no stranger to comic book fans after playing Alfred Pennyworth in Batman v Superman and Justice League - is significantly older than Veidt during the events of the original story, in line with the modern day setting, and his ruthless plan to unite humanity will no doubt serve as the catalyst for the show's dystopian future.
So far, no other characters from the original story have been confirmed to return, though it seems a sure bet that the godlike Doctor Manhattan will play a role in some form.
HBO's Watchmen TV Show Premiere Date
There's still no firm release date for the Watchmen TV show. Production on the pilot began in June 2018, and production on the series proper began in October 2018. It seems a certainty that Watchmen will be an effects-heavy series and will surely need lead times similar to Game of Thrones and Westworld between seasons. A late 2019 premiere for the Watchmen TV show seems likely, though it could theoretically debut before that, as HBO is going to need another genre behemoth once Game of Thrones ends its run in May 2019.