HBO has revealed a few character details of the upcoming Watchmen series, and the release month, which is October. A few of the tidbits seem to confirm some of our earlier theories based on the recent trailer. Regina King is playing Angela Abar, “who wears two masks; one as a lead detective in The Tulsa Police Force and another as wife and mother of three.”
Interesting how Jeremy Irons still hasn’t been confirmed to play Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias. He obviously is, but the HBO press release only calls him “the aging and imperious Lord of a British Manor”. Don Johnson is Judd Crawford, Tulsa’s chief of police while Jean Smart is indeed playing FBI Agent Laurie Blake. Now we think Johnson’s Crawford could be Dan Dreiberg, aka Nite Owl II, in hiding. Why Laurie doesn’t need to, we have no idea.
The rest of the cast is as follows: Louis Gossett Jr. as Will Reeves; Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Cal Abar; Tom Mison as Mr. Phillips; Frances Fisher as Jane Crawford and Sara Vickers as Ms. Crookshanks. Additional cast include Hong Chau as Lady Trieu, the mysterious trillionaire, Andrew Howard, Jacob Ming-Trent, Dylan Schombing and James Wolk.
The pilot of Watchmen comes from writer/producer Damon Lindelof with Nicole Kasell directing.
Trailer Breakdown Below
A metaphorical giant squid was dropped in the middle of this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, with the release of HBO’s insane new trailer for their upcoming Watchmen series. It was not only our best look yet at the show, it was loaded with clues about what happened in this universe since the events of the comic book unfolded, as well as which major figures are still around. Here’s all of the crazy things we think we learned from it, and what it all could mean for the show.
What Happened Over the Last 30 Years
First thing of note: The series is a followup to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ iconic graphic novel, not Zack Snyder’s movie. In the comic, Ozymandias made the world think an alien squid attacked New York, whereas in the film he led the world to believe Doctor Manhattan was responsible for attacking multiple cities worldwide. Both ended with a reporter at the New Frontiersman finding Rorschach’s journal explaining what really happened and how Adrian Veidt was responsible, in turn threatening the standing international unity.
Based on Don Johnson’s line, “We convinced ourselves that they were gone, but they were just hibernating. They came for everybody—all police,” we believe the following: at some point after the events that concluded the comic, a well-organized group of domestic terrorists, possibly wearing Rorschach masks and likely accepting the giant squid was a false flag, murdered large numbers of police officers. That led cops to don the yellow masks (and one panda head) we see them in now, so they could serve with anonymity.
At the start of the series, this group of Rorschach followers has risen from their “hibernation,” most likely because they believe there is a “vast and insidious conspiracy at play,” like Louis Gossett Jr.’s mysterious character says. Is the conspiracy the truth about what Adrian Veidt did with his squid, or something else? That’s unclear, but it’s noteworthy that masked vigilantes appear to have been co-opted by a government likely harboring a major secret. If you wanted to keep something hidden, wouldn’t you want the greatest independent investigators in the world working for you?
All of that could explain Ozymandias’ weird situation. He (here played by Jeremy Irons) seems very much alive and still engaged with the major events of the world, despite a newspaper saying he has been “officially declared dead.” Was he presumed dead before? Did he go into hiding before? Fake his death? Why the mystery?
What does he have to gain from the world believing he isn’t alive?
Regina King might be dressed like a superhero, but she also wears a police badge. She also has a very strict black-and-white view of the world, just like Rorschach does. The other seemingly new superhero, the silver-masked man seen eating beans out of a can (à la Rorschach), also works with the police. The independent Crime Busters seem to be a thing of the past. That means the question of “who watches the Watchmen?” has changed, and could explain why the police are now the target of the hate and distrust that drove masked vigilantes into retirement long ago. They’re not in any less danger now, though, since they are aligned with a group an anti-government collection wants to murder.
Speaking of the past, Jean Smart introduces herself as FBI agent Laurie Blake. Either that’s one hell of a coincidence, or she’s playing an older Silk Spectre II. Laurie Juspeczyk learned her real father was The Comedian, Eddie Blake. At the end of the comic, she and Dan Dreiberg went into hiding with new identities as Sam and Sandra Hollis. It seems at some point she took on a new name and entered the lawful side of crime fighting.
So what happened to Dan? We don’t know, but Don Johnson’s Southern-sounding police chief is seen flying Archie in the trailer. Is he playing the older Night Owl II, who also assumed a new identity serving the public side of the law? The circumstantial evidence isn’t enough to say one way or the other, but the possibility exists. Regina King’s character does seem awfully happy to see Archie in the sky fighting the Rorschach army, indicating Archie isn’t entirely foreign to her. Has Dan or someone else been using it the last 30 years?
Oh, and why does it look like there’s an owl behind his shoulder on the ship?
Dr. Manhattan Returns
Dr. Manhattan said he was going to go off and create some new life in the universe in 1985, but at some point he returned to our solar system to live on Mars. That’s where the powerful blue demigod is first seen in this trailer, in a video where he destroys one of his own structures on the red planet. Why did he come back to Earth’s neighborhood at all? And what will make him show up in a dapper suit on his former home planet? (Could it have something to do with that blue telephone booth-looking structure?) His return is the biggest mystery of the trailer, and also the most exciting. He gave the okay for Adrian’s deception to stand. Could he be here to help maintain the lie? Or to finally reveal the truth?
The “truth” and who controls it looks to be one of the biggest themes the show will deal with. The presence of a TV show about the original Crime Busters, starring the founder of masked vigilantes, the tragic figure known as Hooded Justice, shows a world grappling with its masked past. Will the fictional TV show be an honest re-telling, or another lie designed to make the current cop superheroes look better? We don’t know yet, but either way the answer will contribute to the bigger ideas of the Watchmen series itself.
We can’t wait, and it’s only just begun.