How HBO’s ‘Watchmen’ revamp stays true to its comic origins
Creator of Watchmen Alan Moore is against any adaptation of his work. Back when Zack Snyder transformed the iconic graphic novel into a film, Moore openly stated he refused to watch the film. (If only we’d been so clever.) His logic was that he created Watchmen so he could do things in the comic that could never be done in other forms of media.
When Damon Lindelof stepped on as creator of HBO’s Watchmen series, he knew what Moore’s opinions of any adaptations of the story would be. So in May of 2018, Lindelof posted a five-page open letter stating that the new show wouldn’t be based on an existing Watchmen story. Instead, it would be a new story set in the same universe taking place after the Watchmen comics.
While comic fans weren’t excited at first, HBO’s upcoming Watchmen is turning out to be just as good as the original graphic novels. Early reviews praise the new show for taking the beloved comic book story to a new level, bringing the struggles of today to the Watchmen universe. Plus, Lindelof takes some of the well known plot devices from the original and lays a fresh coat of paint on.
With Watchmen’s official debut only days away, it’s a good time to point out how the show takes the comics to a new level. Yet, fans of the original series will be able to watch the show without a sour taste in their mouth.
Watchmen’s few remaining characters help usher in a new era of heroes
Taking place 34 years after the comics, Watchmen is bringing a bunch of new heroes out into the open. But some old faces will be making an appearance in the new show. Dr. Manhattan, Ozymandias, and Silk Spectre will all be in the new series, though not in the traditional roles we’re used to seeing them in. Rorschach also influences a large part of the plot while not being featured directly in the story.
Watchmen modernizes the superbeings vs. police fight
While a popular trope throughout comic history, Watchmen was the first that took an honest look at what being a superhero means in a modern world. Granted, the world of Watchmen was 1985. It’s been due for an update. Luckily for us, Lindelof gave us a glorious update on it, including a touch on current politics.
In a world where Robert Redford has been president since 1992, it’s no surprise the world is a mess. Police are attacked by white supremacists in Rorschach masks. Masked vigilantes have been fighting underground for over 100 years. This is the world of Watchmen, turned into a 2019 with a history of superheroes.
Watchmen’s new story reflects the original without being a copy
It takes more than just featuring some of the original Watchmen characters to create a Watchmen story. One of the most important parts of starting over is creating a story that pays fair tribute to the original without copying it.
In the new series, four of the vigilantes come out of hiding to work on the same case as the police, just as the comics bring the second Night Owl, Doctor Manhattan, Silk Spectre, and Ozymandias together. The group isn’t fighting against Rorschach, but people who follow his similar beliefs, a variation on the themes of the original.
If you’re willing to put the history of Watchmen to the side and give a new story in the same universe a chance, HBO’s Watchmen is the show for you. The series premieres on HBO October 20th.