We’ve already been over how HBO’s adaptation of Alan Moore’s iconic comic Watchmen was going to be a ‘remix‘ rather than a direct adaptation – after all, Zack Snyder already did just that back in 2009. Now, with the release of the first trailer, we’re getting some sense of just how different it’s going to be.
While the ‘tick-tock’ chanting and the clock imagery seems to be taking the name ‘Watchmen’ and the doomsday clock motif of the original a little too literally, there’s a number of promising ideas on display here, such as the conflict between police forces and costumed vigilantes. This tension was present in the original – the police being a significant part of the anti-hero protests – but it was an idea that was never explored anywhere near as fully as it could have been, doomed to take a back seat to grander-scale plotlines involving the Cold War and the potential destruction of the world.
Most prominent, though, and perhaps most interesting, is the Rorschach copycats. The psychotic, hyper-libertarian Rorschach was an interesting character in that Moore never envisioned him as the protagonist, but nonetheless he was the one a great number of fans ended up identifying the most with – a dynamic, it seems, which is now reflected in-universe as well. Visually, the image of crowds of people in black-and-white masks claiming ‘we are everyone and we are invisible’ seems to deliberately evoke the amorphous internet community Anonymous circa the Chanology protests, back when they were making much use of the Guy Fawkes masks from V For Vendetta (another Moore comic with a slightly flawed film adaptation). Anonymous, of course, are now better known for far-out right-wing politics, much like Rorschach himself. Moore famously hates the screen adaptations of his work, but this is an interesting culmination of a couple of his ideas which ended up taking on lives of their own.
Jeremy Irons is to play the vaguely ubermenschy Ozymandias (kind of like a smug Batman), and the series will also feature Regina King, Don Johnson, Tim Blake Nelson, Louis Gossett Jr., Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Adelaide Clemens and Frances Fisher. Meanwhile, Nine Inch Nails veterans Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross have been attached to create the score for the series – the duo have previously been acclaimed for their film work, which includes The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Gone Girl, and The Social Network, for which they won Oscars for Best Original Score.