Update: HBO has confirmed that “preliminary discussions regarding Watchmen have occurred but we have no additional information and no deals are in place.” More details here.
Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon’s 1986 series Watchmen is still pretty much considered not only the greatest superhero comic book stories of all time, but also one of the greatest novels of all time, period. It suffered a decades-long development process where most of the potential adaptations bore little resemblance to the source material, until finally, director Zack Snyder, using his clout after the success of his hit film 300, convinced studio Warner Brothers to let him to a faithful adaptation of the original graphic novel. And say what you want about Snyder’s 2009 movie, it is far more faithful than it almost had any right to be, considering just how complex and layered the graphic novel is. [Editor’s Note: *cough* Squid *cough*]
And yet, even as faithful as it was, there was still a ton of material from the original graphic novel that was left out, simply because of time. Even the extended 3 1/2 hour cut of the film on DVD leaves some crucial plot elements on the cutting room floor. This has led many fans to say that Watchmen, if it even needs to be adapted at all, should be something akin to a lavish, long-form HBO series.
And according to a rumor that just surfaced…that now seems to at least be a real possibility. According to sources, original Watchmen director Zack Snyder isn’t done with Alan Moore’s world yet and has had meetings with HBO about bringing Watchmen to life again at the cable network as a long-form series. The details of how he’d bring the approach the series are unknown, but there are lots of possibilities here. It could be a one-off 12 part event mini-series, with one episode per chapter (probably the best choice) or broken up into smaller bundles of episodes over the course of a few years. Or they could drag it out even further, and include material from DC Comics’ recent Before Watchmen series.
Although just a rumor right now, there are some reasons to think this is a definite and real possibility. For starters, HBO is part of Warner Brothers’ corporate family, meaning rights issues aren’t a problem. Second, the last two biggest hits for HBO have been Game of Thrones and True Blood, two distinctly different shows, but both sci-fi/fantasy genre shows that brought in massive ratings. In short, HBO knows geeks are very loyal viewers and come in droves when they do a high profile project, and an adaptation of Watchmen would indeed be as high profile as it gets.
If an HBO Watchmen series happens, there are a few things you can probably count on: first off, Zack Snyder will probably be too busy to direct it, or direct all of it, with the upcoming two-part Justice League movies for Warner Brothers. He’ll probably executive produce it and leave it to other directors/writers. Second, don’t expect it to tie-in with the 2009 movie. That version, good or bad, is what it is, and reuniting those actors to go through the same motions again seems pointless. Someone else is going to have to throw the Comedian out the window this time and get the smiley face all bloody.
Oh, and lastly…. if it does happen, don’t expect original creator Alan Moore to ever, ever watch it or ever want to be asked about it. That much you can bank on.
More on this potential HBO Watchmen series as it develops.
IMAGE: Warner Brothers