Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons is still widely considered the greatest graphic novel ever written. In the years since its 1986 publication, the deconstructionist superhero drama has sold millions of copies, and spawned a big-screen adaptation from Zack Snyder in 2009, and a television sequel on HBO in 2019. Oh, and a few comic book sequels, including Doomsday Clock, where Dr. Manhattan takes on Superman. Now, a new animated adaptation of Watchmen is on its way from Warner Bros. Animation, done in two parts. They’ve released the trailer for Watchmen Chapter I, which you can check out right here:

From the look of things, this seems an extremely faithful adaptation of the source material, with images lifted straight from the comic book page. Then again, Snyder’s Watchmen was exactly the same in this regard, with scenes lifted directly from the book as if they were storyboards. We suppose the big difference here is there will be slightly more comics-accurate costumes for characters like Nite Owl and Silk Spectre. Perhaps this animated adaptation will use the original ending, which involved a giant telepathic squid killing millions in Manhattan. The animation style looks almost exactly like the 2D/3D blending of Marvel’s What If…? series.

Doctor Manhattan in the trailer for the animated adaptation of Watchmen.
Warner Bros. Animation

As for why this animated Watchmen movie is in two parts, the answer is simple. These animated DC Comics features from Warner Bros. Animation are always budgeted to be 80 minutes long at most. And that is simply not enough time to adapt such a sprawling story. This is why Batman: The Long Halloween is two parts, and before that, The Dark Knight Returns. The latter ended up being a pretty great adaptation, and remains severely underrated. We’ll see if Watchmen can follow suit. One thing’s for sure — Alan Moore’s name won’t be on it, and he probably wishes this wasn’t happening. And he doesn’t want you to ever ask him about it. So don’t.

Watchmen Chapter I releases later in 2024.