We’ve known for a while that HBO’s Watchmen ‘remix’ wasn’t going to be a slavish Zack Snyder-style retelling of the original. Based on set leaks, it’s looking like it’s going to be a semi-sequel to the original comic, presumably following up on the impact of Ozymandius’ genocidal plan to bring about world peace. But these latest promos revealed by the show’s Instagram account depict a world that honestly looks pretty damn surreal.
Check them out below:
Okay, so there’s quite a bit to unpack here. The burning question, though, is why the heck do the police in the Watchmen universe all wear yellow masks that cover their entire head? This is, to put it mildly, a bit confusing. But let’s have a go at trying to work out why.
When we first saw these yellow-headed cops, I had assumed they were going to be used for a form of color-keyed CGI replacement, but this isn’t the case. Instead, it seems to me that the shade of yellow intentionally recalls the ‘smiley-face’ motif that runs right through the Watchmen comic.
The full face covering that conceals any personality also seems reminiscent of Rorschach’s mask – maybe his sacrifice has become somehow known and the cops want to pay homage to someone who truly stood for justice no matter what the cost? Or maybe the police have just become so stigmatized that they have to conceal their identities at all times?
Whatever these turn out to be, it seems clear that the Watchmen universe has diverged pretty significantly from our own by the time of the modern day. As such, who knows what other crazy and surreal changes we’re going to see.
I always enjoyed the background details in Watchmen – like airships being popular due to Dr. Manhattan being able to synthesize helium, the omnipresent Gunga Diners, the strange retro e-cigarettes and the four-legged chicken – all of which stem from a universe in which superheroes exist. If HBO recognizes and appreciates these subtle oddities, it could make the show a worthy successor to the comic.
Consider my interest piqued.