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Why Did Damon Lindelof Sign On for HBO’s ‘Watchmen’ TV Series?

Watchmen TV Series Damon Lindelof Details
Warner Bros. / Mike Coppola, Getty Images

We don’t yet know what corner of the Watchmen universe Damon Lindelof will plumb for his new HBO series, but it’s worth wondering what relevance the story has in 2017 regardless. Now, Lindelof provides our first hints at what story the new Watchmen will tell, claiming “These are dangerous times, and we need dangerous shows.”

HBO has only given a pilot order to the new adaptation of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ classic superhero tale, though we know the series won’t retread the same “unfilmable” story adapted by Zack Snyder in 2009. Lindelof offered a few scant hints of the story that interests him in an appearance at Vulture Fest L.A. over the weekend, in particular that no superhero should be considered trustworthy:

Watchmen — it was dangerous. And you can’t be dangerous for dangerous’s sake, but the reason that I’m doing this is these are dangerous times, and we need dangerous shows. What we think about superheroes is wrong. I love the Marvel movies and we saw Justice League this morning and I’m all for Wonder Woman and Batman and I grew up on these characters, but we should not trust people who put on masks and say that they are looking out for us. If you hide your face, you are up to no good. […]

That comic was written in the mid-’80s. It is more timely now, in 2018, 2019, whenever the show airs, if it airs, that it needs to be told. For a superhero junkie, I’ve never done a superhero movie or a superhero TV show, and now is the time.

For those unfamiliar with Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ original 1986 work, Watchmen explored a world in which the emergence of costumed heroes (and one super-powered being) radically altered history, while the murder of a retired hero reunites them around a doomsday plot. Zack Snyder’s 2009 film adaptation starred Malin Akerman, Patrick Wilson, Matthew Goode, Billy Crudup, Jackie Earle Haley, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan.

HBO will likely come forth with additional Watchmen details in the next few months, but will Lindelof’s efforts live up to the original?

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