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HBO’s Watchmen Adaptation Likely To Include Original Material

Sometimes, the management of information released to the media about future television projects can go awry – and that's exactly what seems to be happening with HBO’s small screen adaptation of Watchmen.

Sometimes, the management of information released to the media about future television projects can go awry – and that’s exactly what seems to be happening with HBO’s small screen adaptation of Watchmen.

Published by DC Comics from 1986 to 1987, Watchmen is the work of Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons and John Higgins – and was previously adapted for cinema by Zack Snyder in 2009. The adaptation planned by HBO will take a different approach to the material, though – in spite of contradicting reports on who will deliver the final project.

Firstly, the HBO series has been in development for some time – but momentum has recently seemed to increase with the news that Damon Lindelof (Lost, The Leftovers) had been recruited to develop it. In recent days, however, Lindelof has cast doubt on the accuracy of that. In conversation with TV Line, he states that the first he heard of it was when he returned from a five day rafting vacation in Oregon, and received messages congratulating him on landing the job.

“As of right now, I haven’t had any meetings with HBO about Watchmen. I’ve been very vocal about my love for those twelve issues…that they were completely and totally inspiring for all the storytelling that I did subsequently, and that I owe a debt to it.

I do feel like I have to weigh the balance of ‘should it exist’ before I decide to take it on, and I’m sort of in that process now. I hold the source material in such high regard, it would literally be the worst feeling in the world to screw it up… all I can say is I’m thinking about Watchmen a lot right now. Nothing official.”

That interview was published on July 25th, but just a day later, on July 26th, IGN carried an interview with HBO President of Programming Casey Bloys, who seemed to be confident in his understanding of the way in which Lindelof is apparently approaching the creation of a lengthy TV series based on a limited graphic novel.

“I don’t want to talk too much about it, but Damon is thinking about it in a way exactly as you describe it, which is, how do you take the material and derive from it a TV show, without making it a literal translation?”

When asked to clarify whether that means the creation of original, additional material, Bloys confirmed that this would likely be the case.

“I think so, yes. Damon is one of the smartest, most passionate, most thorough writers I’ve ever worked with, so he’s really thinking about this in amazing ways. Again, I don’t want to talk about the details of it, but when you sit with him and you see the way his mind works it’s really kind of amazing.”

From this, it appears that while Damon Lindelof asserts that he’s not yet involved in HBO’s Watchmen TV show in any official capacity, he’s currently giving the nature of the project a great deal of thought. According to Casey Bloys of HBO, the thought that Lindelof’s giving the project is apparently happening out loud, in his presence, but not in such a scenario that Lindelof would characterize as a “meeting.”

Of course, it’s entirely possible that a meeting occurred between these two interviews, but there has yet to be an announcement to update on Lindelof’s “nothing official” line – nor an explanation as to why the media reported his involvement, allegedly before he knew about it.

It’s all terribly confusing, but one thing’s for certain – HBO still intends to make a television adaptation of Watchmen, and since that adaptation is intended to go further than a miniseries format would, whoever ultimately creates the show will be responsible for delivering brand new, original material, based on the revered source graphic novel. That, in itself, is an exciting prospect.

About the author

Sarah Myles

Sarah Myles is a freelance writer. Originally from London, she now lives in North Yorkshire with her husband and two children.