Damon Lindelof has said that the “Watchmen” pilot he is currently working on for HBO will not be a direct adaptation of the original graphic novel, but rather a completely new story set in the same world in the present day.
In a lengthy letter to fans posted to his Instagram, Lindelof addressed concerns about his potential series adaptation of the Alan Moore-Dave Gibbons classic.
“We have no desire to ‘adapt’ the twelve issues Mr. Moore and Mr. Gibbons created thirty years ago,” Lindelof wrote. “Those issues are sacred ground and will not be retread nor recreated nor reproduced nor rebooted.”
“They will however be remixed,” he continued. “Because the bass lines in those familiar tracks are just too good and we’d be fools not to sample them. Those original twelve issues are our Old Testament. When the New Testament came along it did not erase what came before it. Creation. The Garden of Eden. Abraham and Isaac. The Flood. It all happened. And so it will be with ‘Watchmen.’ The Comedian died. Dan and Laurie fell in love. Ozymandias saved the world and Dr. Manhattan left it just after blowing Rorschach to pieces in the bitter cold of Antarctica.”
He went on to say that the show he is creating will not be a sequel to the original either.
“This story will be set in the world its creators painstakingly built…but in the tradition of the work that inspired it, this new story must be original,” he said. “It has to vibrate with the seismic unpredictability of its own tectonic plates. It must ask new questions and explore the world through a fresh lens. Most importantly, it must be contemporary. The Old Testament was specific to the Eighties of Reagan and Thatcher and Gorbachev. Ours needs to resonate with the frequency of Trump and May and Putin and the horse that he rides around on, shirtless. And speaking of Horsemen, The End of the World is off the table…which means the heroes and villains–as if the two are distinguishable–are playing for different stakes entirely.”
“Some of the characters will be unknown,” his conclusion began. “New faces. New masks to cover them. We also intend to revisit the past century of Costumed Adventuring through a surprising yet familiar set of eyes…and it is here we will be taking our greatest risks.”
Read the full letter below.
This is the most in-depth update to date on the potential HBO series, which was ordered to pilot at the premium cabler back in September. The original story followed a group of crimefighters investigating the murder of one of their own. In the process, those characters — including Doctor Manhattan, Nite Owl, Silk Spectre, and Rorschach — uncover a conspiracy with enormous implications. It is unclear which, if any, of those characters will appear in Lindelof’s version.