Ah ‘Watchmen,’ a complex and original story that has created more controversy, arguably, than any other scifi/fantasy work in recent history. Yes, I know people still hate Jar Jar Binks and think that “force projection” isn’t true canon. However, I think ‘Watchmen’ takes it to a new level. It picked up steam when it was published as a graphic novel with its extraordinary story of washed-up heroes, wanna-be heroes, and villains masquerading as heroes with a rather compelling argument for how the random destruction of most of the major cities in the world would save humanity. That alone was enough to make people take love it or hate it sides.
Of course, everyone always said that nobody could ever make a ‘Watchmen’ movie that did the graphic novel justice … until Warner Bros. did in 2009. Unless of course, you are in the camp that steadfastly continues to insist that they ruined it. Personally, I’m in the camp of thinking they did pretty well. The reality is that no movie will ever be as good as the book (although ‘Ready Player One‘ did pretty well I think).
The gulf between lovers and haters of the movie version has been further complicated by HBO’s announcement that they will be creating a ‘Watchmen’ series. So now the story that could never make to to the big screen is now being developed for cable. How could they possibly stay faithful to and resolve the differences in the canon between the graphic novel and the movie?
Entertainment Weekly recently had the pleasure of conducting a deep dive interview with Damon Lindelof, the writer-producer of the ‘Watchmen’ series. They covered a wide range of topics, but I want to focus on this issue of preserving the original and/or movie canon.
[Question:] You’ve said that the project is not a sequel and not a remake but a “remix” and I think some are confused by that. Can we accept that what happened in the comic/film happened in the past of your world? That if we re-read the graphic novel or watch Snyder’s movie that we have a firm handle on what occurred 30 years ago in this story?
[Lindelof:] Yes. Look, [the new series] certainly fits into the “sequel” box, and definitely doesn’t fit into the “reboot” box. We treat the original 12 issues as canon. They all happened. We haven’t done any revisionist history, but we can maneuver in between the cracks and crevices and find new stories there. But for all the reasons you just articulated, we wanted to make sure our first episode felt like the beginning of a new story rather than a continuation of an old story. That’s what I think a sequel is — the continuation of an old story.
It appears that Lindelof is trying to pay respect to both the novel and the movie as best he can, while still taking enough creative license to be able to create a rich new world. Come on haters, give him a chance! Can you imagine how cool the ‘Watchmen’ series could be if any of HBO’s ‘GOT’ magic rubs off on it?!