Plus, old Ozymandias and other details revealed.
A fresh look at — and the vaguest of details about — HBO’s new Watchmen TV series were revealed this week, including a glimpse of what is apparently the show’s new Rorschach, Jeremy Irons’ aged take on the character of Ozymandias, and teases of some creepy, mask-wearing dudes — include a yellow-masked police force and more. The series, which comes from Lost and The Leftovers’ Damon Lindelof, will debut sometime in 2019.
The brief preview aired during HBO’s Golden Globes tease the other night, and versions of it can also be found on Instagram and YouTube. Lasting about six seconds in non-Instagram form, it starts with Jean Smart (Legion), who reportedly plays an FBI agent investigating a murder. We see her driving towards a large home, apparently in Oklahoma (based on the Tulsa badges on the yellow-masked cops — who have also popped up in earlier HBO Watchmen marketing materials — seemingly guarding the place). This would track with previous reports about the show’s locale, including that James Wolk (Mad Men) has a recurring role in the show as a junior senator from Oklahoma. It’s also an interesting change of location for the Watchmen universe in general, which in the original story by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (as well as in the film version directed by Zack Snyder) was mostly set in Manhattan, Washington D.C., Antarctica and, oh yeah, on Mars.
Check out all the new Watchmen characters in the slideshow above.
Next we see two mysterious guys in masks, one gold and one red. There’s also a third masked figure standing behind them who also has on a suit and a cowboy hat… and possibly a badge. These fellows appear to be associated with the police in some way, and indeed, in the next shot we see the cowboy-hat guy striding down a hallway where yellow-masked police stand at attention. Perhaps he’s in charge of the police here in Tulsa?
It’s an interesting notion that the cops would be the masked ones now, as one of the key story points of the original Watchmen was that “masks” (or costumed adventurers) had been made illegal. The government passed a law in the 1970s called the Keene Act which outlawed such vigilantes, with the notable exception being the ones who would work for the government like Doctor Manhattan and the Comedian.
Jeremy Irons pops up next, moving on from his DC role as Alfred to his DC role as the older Ozymandias/Adrian Veidt here. Ozy, of course, was the “bad guy” of the original story in that his quest for world peace meant slaughtering millions of people. But he did it for all the right reasons! The so-called Smartest Man in the World no doubt is still pulling some kind of strings in the new story, saying in this clip “It’s only just begun.” Also, can anyone figure out what the truncated text on the wall behind him says? “GILA 195…”?
Reports of set photos from the shoot have also revealed that the world thinks Veidt is dead. So yeah, that totally sounds like him — misleading the public so that he can execute his latest master plan. Besides, after the events of the original Moore/Gibbons Watchmen, Ozy’s true actions were likely revealed once Rorschach’s journal made it to the press. So one would expect that he’d pretty much have to go into hiding.
And the last figure who shows up in the preview is Rorschach, or should we call him Newschach? He’s obviously been inspired by the original vigilante, also known as Walter Kovacs, who was — spoilers — blown to bits by Doctor Manhattan at the end of the original tale. But the image on his mask doesn’t seem to move, his eyes can be seen through cut-out holes, and he’s not wearing the classic fedora. Time will tell whether or not he’s a violent sociopath like his predecessor!
Of course, in current DC Comics continuity, a new Rorschach has emerged in the Doomsday Clock saga which is combining Watchmen and the traditional DC universe. That version of the character is named Reggie Long, but it seems unlikely that Lindelof will be pulling from the Doomsday Clock story for the new show.
What do you make of this new, brief look at HBO’s Watchmen? Discuss in the comments!
Talk to Executive Editor Scott Collura on Twitter at @ScottCollura, or listen to his Star Trek podcast, Transporter Room 3. Or do both!