The first trailer for Damon Lindelof’s HBO take on The Watchmen universe has arrived, and with it are some callbacks to the original Alan Moore graphic novel.
This isn’t a direct adaptation of Moore’s 1986 work, which focuses on vigilantes in an alternate United States operating during the Cold War and is widely regarded as one of the most important comic books of all time. Instead, Lindelof’s take is set within the world Moore created, using central Watchmen character Rorschach as a way to springboard into a new era. Superheroes — or costumed vigilantes — are still around in Lindelof’s tale, and it’s clear they aren’t to be trusted. That helps explain why Lindelof’s design includes references to fictional groups based on modern-day organizations like Anonymous.
Unlike Zack Snyder’s divisive 2009 film adaptation of Watchmen, Lindelof isn’t looking to re-create Moore’s world panel by panel. Lindelof is aware of the deep connection fans of Moore’s work have to the comic, and he’s addressed concerns that he may mess up the legacy by playing around with Moore’s world.
“We have no desire to ‘adapt’ the twelve issues Mr. Moore and Mr. Gibbons created thirty years ago,” Lindelof wrote on Instagram when the show was in early production. “Those issues are sacred ground and they will not be retread nor recreated nor reproduced nor rebooted.” He says the show isn’t a sequel, but it does seem to take place in the world where the events of Watchmen happened:
Those original twelve issues are our Old Testament. When the New Testament came along it did not erase what came before it. Creation. The Garden of Eden. Abraham and Isaac. The Flood. It all happened. And so it will be with Watchmen. The Comedian died. Dan and Laurie fell in love. Ozymandias saved the world and Dr. Manhattan left it just after blowing Rorschach to pieces in the bitter cold of Antarctica.
The teaser trailer showcases the differences between what Lindelof wants to do and what Moore achieved. It references characters like The Comedian and Ozymandias, but not necessarily how die-hard fans of the series remember them.
Watchmen will premiere on HBO later this year. No premiere date has been set.