An animated adaptation of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ celebrated “Watchmen” is on the way, and it may arrive sooner than you’d think.
A recent survey by Warner Bros. “A-List Community” program, which regularly asks subscribers for their opinions on upcoming or recent film and television projects, has revealed the studio is bringing the graphic novel to animated form.
Reading the survey’s description of the project as “an upcoming made-for-video movie,” it’s apparent the film is already either in development, or in the final stages of production.
The survey further describes the film as “A faithful adaptation of the Watchmen graphic novel executed in an animation style that mirrors the source material.” Going by that description, it’s safe to assume Warner Bros. Animation has opted to take a similar approach to the comic as it did when bringing Frank Miller’s “Dark Knight Returns” and Moore and Brian Bolland’s “The Killing Joke” to life; both of those films homaged the respective artist’s style, making changes as needed to properly animate the story.
It’s interesting to note, though perhaps not surprising, that at no point in the survey are Moore or Gibbons mentioned. While Gibbons participated in the production and promotion of director Zack Snyder’s 2009 live-action “Watchmen” adaptation, Moore has made his disapproval of any “Watchmen” follow-up extremely clear. He was once quoted as saying he’d be “spitting venom all over” the Snyder-directed film, and has expressed on numerous occasions his preference that the original story be left to stand on its own.
Despite Moore’s wishes, however, DC Comics and Warner Bros. both have plans for more “Watchmen” content in the months and years to come. In addition to the animated adaptation, in late 2015 HBO was reported to have entered “preliminary discussions” with Warner Bros. about a live-action television series based on the graphic novel.
On the comics side, DC will be bringing several of the main Watchmen characters into its main superhero universe, as has been hinted for the past year as part of the publisher’s ongoing Rebirth initiative. In fact, the characters may appear in a matter of days, as the next several issues of “Batman” and “The Flash” will find the title characters investigating the appearance of Watchmen member The Comedian’s signature “smiley face” button in the Dark Knight’s Batcave.
While this will be the first fully animated adaptation of the graphic novel, DC and Warner Bros. did recreate Moore and Gibbons’ tale as a motion comic. The series of twelve chapters, ranging from 25-30 minutes in length, was released on DVD in 2009 to coincide with the live-action film’s theatrical debut.