The pilot episode of HBO's upcoming Watchmen series was screened for audiences at New York Comic Con Friday, and showrunner Damon Lindelof was on hand to discuss the show and its social setting.
Lindelof was specifically asked about the reasoning behind the show's locale of Tulsa, Oklahoma. The inspiration came from a large-scale racial riot known as the Greenwood Massacre, which took place in the city nearly a century ago.
"I’m sure that many more talented people than I have been trying to make a story out of this," Lindelof said in an interview with Deadline. "But if I were to tell this story in the context of a larger, wider known, pop culture franchise, maybe it would come to more people’s attention. Then everything kind of went into the stew and this Watchmen is what came out."
Lindelof was then asked if he had any concern that he, as a white man, was the one telling this racially-sensitive story. "All the time," he replied. "Constantly. Over and over again, not just while I was incepting it, but while I was making it and certainly now. You know, this is sort of like the first interview on the first hardcore full day of press, and all I think about is how I’m going to answer that question because it’s a reasonable question to ask. But I’m ready to answer it.
"I take full responsibility for the show but the Watchmen pilot and in fact the entire season was thought out and questioned and challenged and debated vigorously and a writers’ room of 12 talented and smart individuals," he continued. "I was certainly the showrunner, but it’s not just me. I’m proud to say this isn’t me talking about numbers and statistics and all that but I’ll say there were four white dudes in that room of 12. That’s important and listening to all of those smart and talented individuals was and is important."
Developed by Damon Lindelof, HBO's Watchmen stars Jeremy Irons, Regina King, Don Johnson, Tim Blake Nelson, Louis Gossett Jr., Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Tom Mison, James Wolk, Adelaide Clemens, Andrew Howard, Frances Fisher, Jacob Ming-Trent, Sara Vickers, Dylan Schombing, Lily Rose Smith and Adelynn Spoon. The series premieres Oct. 20.