Last night’s ‘Watchmen’ on HBO gave us the return of another major character from the original graphic novel. Now, showrunner Damon Lindelof is sharing why they were included, how they were cast, and why it was always a given that we’d see them return. The reveal was teased in the episode, and it wasn’t that much of a surprise that the character would end up being included. What was a surprise was that there were no hints as to who this character really was.
So, we now know that Cal Abar is actually Doctor Manhattan. It always felt that there was something a little offputting about Yahya Abdul-Mateen IIs character, but none of it seemed to add up to who he was. I’m sure there are plenty of fans who are now going to go back and look for any detail hinting as to his true nature.
Lindelof explained that the reason for Doctor Manhattan’s inclusion wasn’t just to bring in the God-like being who was central to the plot of the graphic novel, but to push forward Angela’s story arc:
“I started this whole journey from the perspective of a fan — what would I have to see in a television show daring to call itself Watchmen? Dr. Manhattan was near the top of that list. But even higher was that we needed to tell a new story with a new character at the center of it. Once we landed on Angela Abar as that center, the new rule became that any legacy characters we were using (Veidt, Laurie, and Hooded Justice) could only be used in service of Angela’s story…she was the sun, everyone else needed to be orbiting around her. So how could Dr. Manhattan, a man with the power of God, be in service of Angela’s story as opposed to the other way around? Based on his past (and all the tropes of Greco/Roman mythology), the answer was intuitive…love. We knew this relationship could only work if Manhattan took the form of a human, and so the idea of Cal was born. And yeah, it came early. Almost from the jump.”
Keeping this in mind, we’re now going to be wondering how exactly Adrian Veidt is pushing her arc forward. My money is on Hong Chau’s Lady Trieu, possibly being his daughter, with her machine potentially being built to bring the character back to Earth. Sadly, Lindelof did confirm that Nite Owl didn’t contribute to Angela’s story at all and stated, “I regret to inform you…and you have my word on this…there will be no Dan in this season of Watchmen. Beyond his hovership and dildo design, there was no natural fit for him in this particular story.”
As to the casting of Abar also being Manhattan, that has always been in the works:
“At the time, besides the writers, only Nicole Kassell knew. We sort’ve hinted at it with Vickie Thomas, our brilliant casting director, something along the lines of, “He’s not who we think he is, and he’s a bit…off.” I first saw Yahya in an episode of Handmaid’s Tale, and I just knew. He came in for a chemistry read with Regina, and then she also just knew. Of course, we didn’t tell either of them Cal’s true identity until after he was cast.”
The fun part? This doesn’t look to be the biggest twist in the series!
You think #WatchmenHBO just blew your mind?
Nah. That was the warmup act.
*Next* week, #WatchmenHBO will blow your mind.
— Craig Mazin (@clmazin) December 2, 2019
I’m sure that won’t surprise anyone who is a fan of the original graphic novel.
Have you been enjoying HBO’s ‘Watchmen’ so far? Did you at all suspect that Cal Abar was actually Doctor Manhattan? If so, what gave it away? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Source: The Hollywood Reporter