HBO knows that the end of October is the perfect time to slip on a costume and cause some nighttime mischief. The masked vigilantes of Watchmen, HBO’s loose adaptation of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ seminal graphic novel, take to the streets starting October 20, 2019.
Previously, HBO dropped a Watchmen trailer at Comic-Con International 2019, confirming that the upcoming series is more of a “remix” of the comic than a straight-up adaptation. The show, which was created and overseen by Lost and The Leftovers‘ mastermind Damon Lindelof, borrows imagery and themes from Moore and Gibbons’ source material and uses it to tell a new story, although it’s possible that the series will double as a sequel to the comic as well.
In HBO’s Watchmen, vigilantes sporting masks like the one worn by one of Watchmen‘s heroes, Rorschach, have launched a coordinated attack on Tulsa’s police officers. In response, the cops begin wearing masks to hide their identities. The ensuing conflict looks like it will be a battle between the vigilantes and the authorities, with Oscar-winner Regina King’s Angela Abar caught in somewhere in the middle.
That’s a big departure from the book, which is about a team of former superheroes coming out of hiding when their former comrades begin dying. Still, despite the differences, a few familiar faces pop up in the trailer: Jeremy Irons appears as an older Adrian Veidt, the mastermind behind the comic’s doomsday plot, while the all-blue super-scientist Dr. Manhattan makes a mysterious trip to Earth from his hideout on Mars.
Judging by the trailer, shying away from a direct adaptation was a smart move on Lindelof’s part. A new story should keep the action fresh for both newcomers and die-hard fans, and we’ve seen what happens when Watchmen is adapted too literally. Zack Snyder’s big-screen Watchmen flick, which hit theaters in 2009, copied many scenes from the comic shot-for-shot and lost the story’s soul in the process.
Besides, if you don’t like HBO’s take on the material? It’s not a problem. Moore and Gibbons’ original story can be found in libraries and comic shops across the country. If you want the classic story, all you need to do is pick it up and start reading.
Updated on September 3, 2019: Added premiere date.
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