Damon Lindelof, showrunner for HBO’s forthcoming TV adaptation of Watchmen, recently posted a five-page open letter to fans of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ 1986 graphic novel. The letter, posted on the Lost and The Leftovers creator’s Instagram, provided both an update on the series’ development and reassurance that this would not be a straight adaptation but would rather “remix” the source material. The Old and New Testament were mentioned as well, but suffice to say, this will be an entirely original story—and it will be contemporary.
In a little homage to Dr. Manhattan’s origin story in the novel, Lindelof jumps around in time—explaining his particular connection to the book through his late father, himself a big fan; and how he has been considering an adaptation since shortly after Zack Snyder’s 2009 movie adaptation opened in theaters. He acknowledges Moore’s wish that Watchmen not be adapted and addresses why he decided to do so despite this, citing his own fandom as well as the diverse perspectives of the writers room he has assembled for this project. What he builds to is the “creative intentions” of himself and the other writers involved:
We have no desire to “adapt” the twelve issues Mr. Moore and Mr. Gibbons created thirty years ago. Those issues are sacred ground and they will not be retread nor recreated nor reproduced nor rebooted.
They will, however, be remixed. Because the bass lines in those familiar tracks are just too good and we’d be fools not to sample them. 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.
To be clear. Watchmen is canon.
[…] But we are not making a “sequel” either. This story will be set in the world its creators painstakingly built… but in the tradition of the work that inspired it, this new story must be original. It has to vibrate with the seismic unpredictability of its own tectonic plates. It must ask new questions and explore the world through a fresh lens. Most importantly, it must be contemporary.
[…] The tone will be fresh and nasty and electric and absurd. Many describe Watchmen as “dark,” but I’ve always loved its humor—worshipping at the altar of the genre whilst simultaneously trolling it. As such…
Some of the characters will be unknown. New faces. New masks to cover them. We also intend to revisit the past century of Costumed Adventuring through a surprising, yet familiar set of eyes… and it is here where we’ll be taking our greatest risks.
You can read the letter in its entirety here, and share your thoughts on another Watchmen adaptation in the comments.
In terms of opening credits, it’ll be tough to top this:
However, absolutely no “Hallelujah.”