HBO has recently announced the release date for Watchmen, one of the year's most anticipated television. It also takes a much different approach than expected in reinterpreting the hallowed source material, the 1986 comic series by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. More sequel than straight adaptation, it will take its lead from the comic books rather than the 2009 movie. The series is created by Damon Lindelof, best known for his work on Lost and HBO's own The Leftovers.
Here's everything that we know about the show so far.
WHAT IS WATCHMEN ABOUT?
Despite the name, the TV series, Watchmen is not a straight adaptation of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' original work. Instead, it serves as a "remix" of the source material, according to Damon Lindelof, using the plot of the comic as a general framework to create its own fresh story.
Also unlike the comic, this version takes place in an alternate version of 2019 rather than and alternate 1980s, one without smart phones, tablets, or the internet. Robert Redford is the current president, having served since 1992.
The premise of the show focuses on the rise of vigilantes, who have been outlawed because of their violent crime-fighting. Police have also masked themselves after having their homes targeted by a growing white supremacist gang presence. Other groups stoke the volatile political flames as well, such as one inspired by the late masked antihero, Rorschach.
These themes further develop those seen in the original comics, injected with the current political zeitgeist. The primary themes of racial conflict fits well thanks to the history of racial issues in its Tulsa, Oklahoma, setting.
Though only briefly hinted at in the trailer, the series will more than likely also delve into the the aftermath of Ozymandias' plan in the original Watchmen, as well as what effect Dr. Manhattan's departure had on the planet.
WHO ARE THE KEY CHARACTERS?
Along with a few returning characters from the comic book, Watchmen will also include many new vigilantes.
Ozymandias: The smartest man on Earth, Ozymandias was one of the comic book's main protagonists, as well as its secret antagonist. The character can supposedly be seen in the trailer, portrayed by veteran actor, Jeremy Irons, meditating, reminiscent of the cover of Before Watchmen: Ozymandias #1. While reports are conflicted over whether Irons is truly playing Ozymandias, the appearance and pose are a dead giveaway. Given the scope of the series, it's unknown how large his role will be.
Dr. Manhattan: The physicist Jon Osterman miraculously survived an atomic disassembly by an intrinsic field subtractor. His subsequent reconstruction turned him into a blue-skinned "god," and the only notable character in Watchmen with actual superpowers. The book concluded with his departing Earth for Mars, having cast off human society. In the trailer, his blue skin is seen as he bends to pick up a mask of his face. It's currently unknown who is portraying the character in the series.
Silk Spectre: Laurie Juspeczyk, or Laurie Jupiter, is the second Silk Spectre in the original story. She is the daughter of the original Silk Spectre, Sally Jupiter and Edward Blake, who was the violent crimefighter known as The Comedian. In the TV series, she's an FBI agent that has developed her own vendetta against masked vigilantes. She has also taken her father's last name of Blake. She is played by Jean Smart.
Looking Glass: A new character played by Tim Blake Nelson, the story of Looking Glass is apparently a mystery even to the actor. Supposedly some sort of behavioral psychologist, his metallic mask is very reminiscent of Rorschach.
Angela and Cal Abraham: Angela Abraham is a cop who takes to the streets at night as a black clad vigilante. Played by Regina King, she seems to have the biggest focus in the series, taking a major role in the growing resistance of masked mystery men and women. Her stay-at-home spouse Cal, played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, has a secret past of his own. It is suspected that Angela may take up the mantle of a second Hooded Justice, a character from the original comic book who is briefly seen in the trailer.
Other characters confirmed include Hong Chau's character, trillionaire Lady T. Robert Redford is also reported to be playing a fictionalized version of himself, whose role as the President was hinted at in original Watchmen comic book and confirmed by its current continuation, Doomsday Clock. And lastly, there's the Communist-themed, Red Scare, reportedly played by Andrew Howard.
WHEN WILL IT PREMIERE?
Watchmen will premiere on October 20th on HBO at 9 pm. The first season is confirmed to be nine episodes. One season is confirmed so far and continuing it is likely a simple matter of ratings. (You could even say once it premieres, it's a question of who watches the Watchmen...)
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 will premiere Oct. 20.