by Graham Pierrepoint
Speculation on what else could be done to revitalize the controversial and much-celebrated graphic novel Watchmen – written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons – has been rife for a while. First published in the late 1980s, it was only towards the end of the 00s that director Zack Snyder was able to finally bring the epic tale of isolated vigilantes in a dystopian alternate world to the big screen. The result was a movie that was intensely faithful to the book in a lot of ways – though altering some of the final scenes to mixed reception. The movie has its fans and detractors – but regardless of overall opinion on the adaptation, it seems that the floodgates to monopolize on Moore and Gibbons’ work have truly been opened.
A series of prequel comics, entitled ‘Before Watchmen’, was launched to offer background on some of the story’s lead characters – and rumors had been circulating for some time about how the story could be retooled for a new movie or even a TV series. Such rumors were finally cemented in reality this week after Damon Lindelof, responsible for helming both ‘Lost’ and ‘The Leftovers’, let slip on social media that a Watchmen TV project would be finally underway at HBO. HBO, too, confirmed the news – leading fans to speculate just how a project will be undertaken.
Watchmen as a book is fairly self-contained – there’s a solid start, middle and end – and it was a surprise to many that the Before Watchmen books, running for 37 issues from 2012, came into being at all. However, it seems that Moore and Gibbons’ tome is set to inspire even more tales for TV – with the author in particular remaining famously hands-off about adaptations of his work (including ‘V For Vendetta’ and ‘The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’). Watchmen on HBO could well fill a gap which Game of Thrones will inevitably hollow out next year – though it’s been asserted that at least five spin-offs from the world of Westeros will also be in production soon enough.
All in all, things are set to be very busy – and exciting – at HBO despite the controversy surrounding leaks and hacking earlier this summer. Watchmen fans, of course, come in all flavors – those who love the book to the extent that they refuse to watch any adaptations – and those who can’t get enough of the universe. Will Lindelof and co bring Dr Manhattan, Rorschach et al to the small screen to critical success? Stay tuned…