The rumors are rumors no longer; HBO has announced that Damon Lindelof’s adaptation of the Watchmen has been green-lit for a pilot. Lindelof had posted a picture of a writer’s room with the caption “Day One” only a day earlier, but this announcement makes everything official.
Watchmen is perhaps graphic novelist Alan Moore’s most iconic, influential work, and has been the subject of a few adaptations, as well as attempted adaptations. As recently as two years ago, it was reported that Zack Snyder would be developing a small screen adaptation for HBO. Snyder was an obvious, predictable choice, having directed the 2009 film adaptation of the work, which had a very lukewarm critical reception. But somewhere along the line, that project appears to have been abandoned. Perhaps Snyder’s DC directorial commitments were more pressing.
Then, in June, after Lindelof’s magnum opus The Leftovers had concluded, rumors began to emerge that he was looking into adapting the work he had once called the greatest piece of pop culture in modern history. But then Lindelof made his Instagram post, confirming that there was indeed truth to the rumors.
Readers of Moore’s Watchmen will recognize the picture as the trophy Nite Owl received after retiring from the dangers of the superheroism. Choosing an obscure reference like this to make such a crucial announcement is very characteristic of the LOST creator, and is certainly a promising sign that his adaptation will be of considerable quality.
It has been said many times that Watchmen is utterly unadaptable, and hardcore fans of the graphic novel tend to point to Snyder’s adaptation as irrefutable proof of this. However, Lindelof is clearly a huge fan of the work, and has experience with great adaptations; The Leftovers took a good novel by Tom Perrotta and turned it into a once-in-a-generation masterpiece that will easily go down as one of the greatest shows in the history of television. What he changed in his adaptation of the novel actually expanded on its themes and ideas, rather than detract from or dumb them down for a television audience. Lindelof is a master of his craft, and this author isn’t sure a project like this could be in better hands.