The best Easter eggs in HBO’s ‘Watchmen’ pilot
HBO’s Watchmen series is here, bringing the Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’s comic to life for television. Taking the classic story from 1985 to 2019, the show features new heroes in a world taking place after the events of the original graphic novel series.
Taking a more violent and realistic look at what superheroes in our world would be like, Watchmen has made a name for itself for its controversial look at superheroes in general. Traditional DC and Marvel comics, even X-Men, have a more optimistic look at heroes in the world. But Watchmen takes a dark look, seeing the chaos they could actually cause.
HBO’s version of the comic brings to life these values, but in an alternate version of our current world – just as the original graphic novel did after its release in 1987. So it’s no surprise Watchmen is trying to pay tribute to the killer heroes that came before them.
Showrunner Damon Lindelof has acknowledged the new Watchmen tells a new story, and hopes fans stick around despite its difference from the original. To win over fans, Lindelof has sprinkled plenty of Easter eggs throughout the show, showing his love for the original story.
Easter eggs in Watchmen’s series premiere
The series premiere of Watchmen has come and gone, so we’ve gotten a peek at the Easter eggs Lindelof has left scattered throughout the show. Some of them are already known, while others were a nice surprise.
However, one thing’s for sure: any fanboy who hates the show just hates it for some stupid reason – because the series premiere left us speechless and excited for more. But even the most butthurt fanboys should be able to appreciate these nods to the original Watchmen graphic novel.
We’ve known for a while that the narrator of the original Watchmen was going to be a large force in the show. Anti-police groups deck themselves out in Rorschach masks, adapting his philosophies as their own during their protests and attacks. However, Rorschach was never this agitated and violent towards police.
If this seems off, compare this to the Pepe the Frog meme becoming a symbol of white supremacy: while not originally a violent symbol, the wrong group of people turned it into one. The Rorschach masks are compared to a modern day KKK hood, showing they’re turning Rorschach’s antiestablishment beliefs into a fight against race traitors.
(Easter) eggy smiley face
The iconic smiley face seen on the first cover of Watchmen finds its way into the show. Angela (Regina King), while demonstrating how egg whites and egg yolks are different, forms a smiley face in a dish out of eggs. While a twist on the iconic symbol of Watchmen, the bloody smiley pin on the cover will most likely make an appearance later, too.
“Veidt Officially Declared Dead” headline
In another scene with Angela, she walks past a man holding a newspaper with that headline. Most likely, the paper is referring to Adrian Veidt, a.k.a. Ozymandias, one of the original heroes of Watchmen. While fighting alongside the other heroes, Veidt killed off other masked men and even staged a fake alien invasion, while trying to kill himself as well.
As of right now, Jermey Irons is cast as a “Lord of a Country Manor”, but the rumor is he’s actually Ozymandias. Most of the news before the show premiered said Ozymandias made a physical appearance in the show as well – so just like our actual 2019, fake news is still alive & well and this headline is just a red herring.
Nixon, the Vietnam War, and American Hero Story: Minutemen
Probably the biggest Easter egg in the premiere are the ties to the history of the original story. Showrunner Damon Lindelof made it clear his show takes place in a 2019 where the original Watchmen comic still happened in 1985. By mentioning these two pieces, it proves Lindelof is keeping his promise.
In the graphic novel, President Richard Nixon gets reelected after Doctor Manhattan helps the U.S. win the Vietnam War. Because of this victory, Nixon is held in high regard by the American people: his face goes on Mount Rushmore and entire towns are named after him.
On the other hand, a bus ad advertising a show called American Hero Story: Minutemen covers the past masked heroes from Watchmen. The graphic novel jumps between a young group of heroes in 1985 who tried to become the next Minutemen, and the original Minutemen in 1940s.
This ad for a fictional miniseries clearly indicates the events that occurred with each Minuteman are part of the history of this worldline. There was a time when superheroes were good, a time the populace look back on with nostalgia.
If this is just a small taste of the Easter eggs in Watchmen, fans will be squealing every episode this season at the callbacks to the graphic novel.
Watchmen airs on HBO Sundays at 9pm.