Watchmen: 10 Things You Didn't Know About Doctor Manhattan


In the world of Watchmen, Doctor Manhattan is the end all be all. The alpha and the omega. Doctor Manhattan may not be the unopposed, almighty god of the universe(s) that he exists within, but he’s certainly reached the upper echelons of godhood.

RELATED: 8 Things To Remember Before Watching Watchmen

With the ability to manipulate matter, teleport, move objects with his mind, and even see (limited) events in both the past and future, the former doctor Jonathan Osterman is capable of truly incredible feats. However, his truly awe-inspiring power is fairly common knowledge at this point, so what other secrets is Doctor Manhattan hiding? Let’s find out.

10 He Was The Reason The 22nd Amendment Was Repealed

While Watchmen readers are lucky enough to live in a world where Richard Nixon barely got to see his second term, the citizens of the Watchmen universe weren’t so lucky. See, while the Vietnam war was a bit of a catalyst for change during the Nixon presidency in the real world, in the Watchmen universe Nixon had a much better weapon, Doctor Manhattan. With Doctor Manhattan shackled to the American government (for the time being), Nixon was able to use his powers to swiftly and decisively end the Vietnam war (in just three months). With the political momentum, Nixon repeals the 22nd amendment and firmly cements himself as president for five full terms. Nixon’s back, baby.

9 He May Have Blue Skin, But He’s Green Through And Through

While Doctor Manhattan’s blue hue may be famously recognized across the globe, in his universe, there’s another color that he is very readily aligned with. Green. While Elon Musk and others like him may be leading the charge for cars and other modes of transportation to be fueled by renewable resources, in the Watchmen universe, Doctor Manhattan has had that problem solved for decades. Doctor Manhattan is responsible for many of the Watchmen universe’s greatest technological breakthroughs, but his work in developing a world fueled by renewable energy may be among his greatest. So for anyone that wants to follow in the steps of big blue, simply go green.

RELATED: HBO's Watchmen: 10 Things That Only Make Sense If You've Read The Comic

8 He Created DC’s New 52 Universe

While Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons are responsible for creating the character, as many of the most famous comics characters in existence, Doctor Manhattan has taken a life far beyond what they had originally intended (for better or worse). That being said, his royal blueness has taken it upon himself to interfere and adjust things in universes that he originally had no part in. For instance, will all the hullabaloo caused by Barry Allen’s Flashpoint universe, Doctor Manhattan took that opportunity to (indirectly) convince Barry to merge three separate timelines (DC, Wildstorm, and select Vertigo entities) and create the recent scourge of DC comics, The New 52.

7 And DC Rebirth

While comics fans know how the New 52 Worked out (not great), what many don’t realize is just how DC Rebirth came about. Many assume that real-world feedback and consequences led to the reboot of the DC universe, however, in actuality, this reboot was again thanks to Doctor Manhattan playing with the timeline.

RELATED: Watchmen: 10 Times The Comic Was Referenced

As he killed, saved, hid, and maimed people across the DC timeline Doctor Manhattan began to slowly piece together a story, a universe, that was more suited to his liking. While his master plan hadn’t been revealed, there was certainly a method to the blue doctor’s madness. But as they say, “He works in mysterious ways”.

6 He Saved Jor-El When Krypton Was Destroyed

While there are many moving pieces in Doctor Manhattan’s plan to edit the DC universe to a universe more suitable for his plans, one that readers likely didn’t see coming was his saving a character that many readers hadn’t seen for a long time, Jor-El. While Superman is still unaware of the grand picture, the masterplan that Doctor Manhattan has set in motion, his reunion with his father wasn’t exactly what the man of steel always hope that it would be. While Supes has spent his life trying to protect the Earth and everyone on it, Jor-El (having been conditioned by Doctor Manhattan to see only humanity’s flaws) didn’t quite see the point in protecting a race so bent on destroying itself.

5 And Reintroduced Batman To His Father (Flashpoint Batman)

Doctor Manhattan must have a thing for father-son reunions (that or he has something much more nefarious in mind) because along with reuniting Superman with his father, Jor-El, he gave Bats the opportunity to speak to his father before the collapse of the Flashpoint timeline. During this Dialogue with his father, Thomas tells Bruce that he should no longer follow in his footsteps. He should give up the mantle of Batman and live a life in which he can find true happiness, because all that Thomas Wayne ever wanted for his son was a life well-lived.

4 He’s Obsessed With Superman

People like Lex Luthor, Lois Lane, and many others have found themselves obsessed with Superman at one point or another, so Doctor Manhattan has found himself in rather good company. However, while many others have colored themselves obsessed with the man of steel, none of them have or were even capable of taking it to the level that Doctor Manhattan has been able. He wants to understand why the DC universe seemingly revolves around Superman, and he goes to great lengths to understand. He manipulates the timestream, causing subtle shifts in Superman’s story in order to understand how he changes, he views all the various iterations of the man of steel in order to see how he ticks. Doctor Manhattan can do a lot, but he can’t see what happens after he meets Superman. And that, unlike nearly everything else in multiple universes, intrigues him.

3 He Didn’t Kill Rorschach to Hide Veidt’s Plot

While it’s easy to assume that Rorschach simply had to die in order for Adrian Veidt’s secret plot to create a utopia remain, well, secret, Alan Moore had a much different reason for killing off the Watchmen protagonist. While Doctor Manhattan is a being of immense power that falls back on his logic as he distances himself from humanity, according to Moore it was more of an act of mercy than anything else. Doctor Manhattan simply wanted to make it easier for Laurie and Dan who already had numerous deaths on their hands. So rather than add to their suffering Doctor Manhattan says, “I doubt he’ll make it to civilization.” protecting the world along with Dan and Laurie from the truth.

2 He Let JFK Get Assassinated

Doctor Manhattan is capable of a great many things, one of his abilities, Omniscience within the scope of his own life, allows him to bear witness to anything that has happened or will happen throughout his endless lifetime. This means that not only was Doctor Manhattan aware of JFK’s assassination, but he also let it happen. While it’s certainly understandable, given the fact that Doctor Manhattan’s omniscience has left him rather unphased by the happenings of humankind, it’s still rather cold-blooded given all that would come after his death.

1 He Became A Literal God

Throughout his endless life, Doctor Manhattan has done a great many things. He is capable of shifting, changing and rearranging the very fabric of the universe. He can create something out of nothing and turn it back into nothing. He has created universes and toyed with the events of said universes to create new realities. In both action and manner, Doctor Manhattan has become a god. The question that the heroes of the DC universe and everyone else needs to ask, however, is whether or not Doctor Manhattan a benevolent god, one that can be trusted. They’re destined to find out sooner or later.

NEXT: Watchmen: 5 Events From The Comic That Have Been Confirmed (& 5 That We're Still Curious About)