HBO's Watchmen series almost had another connection to the real world, with super-producer Ryan Murphy revealed to have almost cameoed. Serving as a spiritual (and sometimes literal) sequel to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' acclaimed graphic novel series, the show premiered earlier this week to praise from both critics and fans alike. Winning over even the more skeptical of the latter, the pilot was the cable provider's most-watched first episode since Westworld. Starring Regina King as Angela Abar (aka Sister Night), Watchmen picks up with tensions between masked police officers and members of a white supremacist group escalating amid a vast, global conspiracy.
Set in 1985, the source material was famous for blending superheroes and costumed vigilantes with a world not wholly dissimilar from our own. The main difference was an alternate history, wherein the presence of such as beings as Doctor Manhattan meant that the United States had won the Vietnam War and Richard Nixon was still president. With the world still veering dangerously close to nuclear devastation, however, the saga revolved around a plot to bring divided forces together against a common purpose. Set in 2019, the show continued that blend of fact and fiction, incorporating such real-world events as the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre with the idea that Robert Redford is president and that squids occasionally rain from the sky.
In am interview with Paste Magazine, showrunner Damon Lindelof revealed that he'd almost taken the real-world connections to a new level. Throughout the first episode, fans were treated to glimpses of a show-within-the-show - which detailed the events of the graphic novel which is counted as historical events in the show's world. Called "American Hero Story", Lindelof stated that the fictional show was actually intended to be part of post-credit scenes, akin to the supplementary material of the original issues. And that the creator of the aforementioned show would have been Murphy, who, in a truly meta move, would have cameoed as himself being interviewed about it.
In retrospect, it's easy to make the connection. Murphy is, of course, the creator of such similarly titled shows as American Horror Story and American Crime Story. Both shows are equally synonymous with blending real moments and figures from history into their stories upon occasion. That is especially true of the later, which is centered on reenacting actual events. Season 3 will apparently explore the Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky scandal and will star Beanie Feldstein as the latter. As part of his huge deal with Netflix, however, Murphy's most recent show was The Politician, which heavily satirized modern politics - even mocking Donald Trump in its opening credits.
According to Lindelof, the reason the show ultimately didn't follow through is that "American Hero Story" would have had to stop being its own thing. He proclaimed that while it was directly inspired by Murphy's shows, he wanted it to be cheesier. Had they maintained the original plan, there would have been an in-built requirement to bring it up to the tone and standards delivered by Murphy's often uniquely stylized offerings. By scrapping the idea, director Nicole Kassell and composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross were able to put their own spin on the design and the music - something each considered to be great fun. Fans, however, will likely be mixed between lamenting the missed opportunity and simply enjoying the nod as it stands.
Watchmen continues with "Martial Feats Of Comanche Horsemanship" October 27th on HBO.
Source: Paste Magazine