“Watchmen” creator Alan Moore revealed to GQ magazine that he disowned HBO’s Emmy-winning adaptation of his graphic novel and told the showrunner never to contact him. Moore did not cite the showrunner by name, although Damon Lindelof served in the role. According to Moore, the showrunner sent him a letter during the HBO show’s development and wrote, “Dear Mr. Moore, I am one of the bastards currently destroying ‘Watchmen.’”
“That wasn’t the best opener,” Moore said of the showrunner letter. “It went on through a lot of, what seemed to me to be, neurotic rambling. ‘Can you at least tell us how to pronounce “Ozymandias”? I got back with a very abrupt and probably hostile reply telling him that I’d thought that Warner Bros. were aware that they, nor any of their employees, shouldn’t contact me again for any reason.”
Moore continued, “I explained that I had disowned the work in question, and partly that was because the film industry and the comics industry seemed to have created things that had nothing to do with my work, but which would be associated with it in the public mind. I said, ‘Look, this is embarrassing to me. I don’t want anything to do with you or your show. Please don’t bother me again.'”
“Watchmen” ended up being a critical smash hit for HBO when it aired its nine episodes in fall 2019. The series, led by Regina King, was nominated for 26 Primetime Emmy Awards and won 11 prizes, including outstanding limited series. Moore was baffled by the show’s acclaim.
“When I saw the television industry awards that the ‘Watchmen’ television show had apparently won, I thought, ‘Oh, god, perhaps a large part of the public, this is what they think “Watchmen” was?’ They think that it was a dark, gritty, dystopian superhero franchise that was something to do with white supremacism,” Moore said. “Did they not understand ‘Watchmen’? ‘Watchmen’ was nearly 40 years ago and was relatively simple in comparison with a lot of my later work. What are the chances that they broadly understood anything since? This tends to make me feel less than fond of those works. They mean a bit less in my heart.”
Moore did not watch HBO’s “Watchmen,” nor has he watched any film or television based on his work. As he told GQ, “I would be the last person to want to sit through any adaptations of my work. From what I’ve heard of them, it would be enormously punishing. It would be torturous, and for no very good reason.”
For anyone not like Moore who wants to watch HBO’s “Watchmen” limited series, all nine episodes are available to stream on HBO Max.