HBO is reportedly developing a new adaptation of Watchmen for TV, with Damon Lindelof attached.
Lindelof, best known for his work on Lost, has just completed work on HBO’s critically acclaimed series The Leftovers and has a deal in place with the US cable provider, meaning he presumably has a lot of clout in what he does for them next. If he does indeed want to write Watchmen, there’s a good chance it can happen.
This would be the second adaptation of the landmark comic series following the 2009 movie directed by Zack Snyder. Writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons originally published the series through DC Comics from 1985-1987 and its deconstructive take on superheroes has remained popular ever since.
However, this new project seems destined to be mired in the same controversies that dogged the movie. Namely, Moore asserts that DC Comics stole ownership the work from him and his co-creator Gibbons by exploiting a loophole in their contract. As well as swearing off any work for DC in the decades since and falling out with Gibbons during the period of the movie’s release, Moore has disowned Watchmen and declines to receive credit on adaptations.
A multi-part series has long been seen as a better fit for a Watchmen adaptation than a movie due to the sheer narrative density of the work, though it’s debatable whether any adaptation can ever to reach the same heights as the comic, simply because so much of the story is built for the comics form.
Either way, an adaptation is unlikely to match the importance and originality of the comic, if only because 30 years have passed and Watchmen‘s influence already permeates all modern superhero comics.
We’ll leave it up to you to decide how you feel about the writer of Prometheus, Cowboys & Aliens and Star Trek Into Darkness taking on Watchmen, but at the very least we can say any trepidation you might feel will be justified.
HBO has declined to comment on the news.