When HBO’s take on the celebrated comic book Watchmen premieres in October, it may not be what fans of the Alan Moore story are expecting. While it’s already known that the series is set after the events of the comic, executive producer and writer Damon Lindelof admitted at the TCA press tour that there might be some fans that don’t recognize the world on display.
“Whether or not the show feels like it’s Watchmen is in the eye of the beholder,” he said. Still, Lindelof made sure to note that the events of Watchmen’s 12-issues are canon in the story. “We re-explore the past, but it’s canon,” he explained. “One of the rules we had as storytellers and writers was that everything that happened in those 12 issues could not be messed with.”
So what is there to say about the world of HBO’s Watchmen without spoiling? While most plot details remain under wraps, Lindelof said the show is set in 2019, in a world that’s a mix of actual and alternate history. In the series, people don’t have the internet and smartphones were banned by President Robert Redford–yes, the actor.
It was teased in the comics that Redford could potentially run for president in the future, and in the show, it’s something that actually happened. “Robert Redford is the president of the United States and has been since the early ’90s when they abolished term limits,” Lindelof teased.
The central conflict, based on what Lindelof had to say, seems to be between police and what looks to be a white supremacist group that has appropriated the words and mask of Rorschach, using them to rise up against the government. It’s not immediately clear who the villains or heroes are, which is intentional.
“If you’re asking are the police presented in a heroic light, are they the heroes of the story, after just seeing the first episode, I’d say the answer is no,” Lindelof said.
Ultimately, whether or not this continuation of the Watchmen story lines up with what fans expect from this universe, it’s coming from someone who treasures the comics. “All I can say is I love the source material,” he promised.
Watchmen premieres on HBO in October.