Be sure to also check out everything we know about Wonder Woman 1984 and everything we know about The Batman.
Watchmen: Release Date
While HBO was slow to announce a firm release date for Watchmen, we now know the series will premiere on Sunday, October 20.
Filming on the first season recently wrapped in June 2019.
HBO’s Watchmen Trailers
HBO has teased the show with snippets of images in network trailers and on its social media accounts, but a teaser trailer was revealed in May 2019. Watch it right here:
A second trailer followed in July 2019, just in time for Comic-Con.
Watch the full trailer below:
There is a vast and insidious conspiracy at play. #WatchmenHBO. October. pic.twitter.com/eI0fJZB0wY
— Watchmen (@watchmen) July 20, 2019
Check out seven big reveals that we spotted in Watchmen’s Comic-Con trailer right here.
A third trailer debuted in September 2019, shortly after the reveal of the series premiere date. Check it out below:
Watchmen’s Cast & Crew
Watchmen is based on the comic book by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, though neither creator is involved with this project. Instead, the series was created and developed by Lost’s Damon Lindelof, who is also writing and executive producing the first season. Lindelof previously oversaw The Leftovers at HBO. Frequent The Leftovers director Nicole Kassell directed the pilot. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (who have collaborated on film scores for The Social Network and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) are scoring the series.
The show’s ensemble cast includes Jeremy Irons, Regina King, Don Johnson, Tim Blake Nelson, Louis Gossett Jr., Adelaide Clemens, Andrew Howard, Tom Mison, Frances Fisher, Jacob Ming-Trent, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jean Smart and Sara Vickers.
Currently, only a handful of the roles in question have been officially revealed. At least three classic Watchmen characters will be returning. Irons is playing Ozymandias and Jean Smart is playing Laurie Blake/Silk Spectre, while one trailer teases the return of Doctor Manhattan. Blake Nelson is playing a character named Looking Glass, while King and Abdul-Mateen are playing a couple named Angela Abar and Cal Abar, respectively. Both Looking Glass and Angela Abar are police officers given legal authority to adopt costumed identities. Johnson is playing their commanding officer, Chief Judd Crawford. Gossett is playing a character known only as “Old Man.” Finally, Robert Redford is now serving as President of the United States in the story, but the actor apparently is not actually a part of the production (as far as we know).
The Watchmen Plot: Reboot or Sequel?
How exactly Watchmen connects to the original comic book has been the source of a lot of debate and speculation. Creator Damon Lindelof has often referred to the series as a “remix,” suggesting that Watchmen is a new take on the source material that combines familiar characters and plot points with new ideas.
However, everything we’ve seen from the trailers and previews suggested Watchmen is basically a sequel to the original comic and its movie adaptation. Lindelof finally confirmed as much in July 2019, alongside the announcement that Jean Smart is playing an older Laurie Blake/Silk Spectre.
Watchmen takes place decades after the events of the comic, in a time of growing civil unrest where new costumed vigilantes are emerging. A domestic terrorist group inspired by Rorschach and known as the Seventh Cavalry is waging war on the police, inspiring officers to don their own masks and retaliate. In this alternate universe, Robert Redford has been President since 1992 and Americans are obsessed with vanished heroes like Doctor Manhattan and the original Minutemen.
In addition to returning Watchmen characters, the series appears to revolve heavily around Regina King’s Angela Abar. Based on the trailers, Abar is a police officer in Tulsa, Oklahoma who wears a superhero costume to hide her identity from the Seventh Cavalry. It appears her identity and those of her fellow officers will be leaked, putting the lives of their families in danger. Laurie Blake is now an FBI agent and looks to be Angela’s ally in the fight to prevent the country from being torn apart by vigilante violence. Presumably, the series will also explore the ramifications of Rorschach’s journal being published by the New Frontiersman, with the public gradually becoming aware of Ozymandias’ plot to force world peace in 1986.
Watchmen’s Comic Connections
As an apparent continuation of the original Watchmen comic, the HBO series will be largely charting its own course. DC Comics is currently wrapping up its own Watchmen sequel called Doomsday Clock, but that book is both too recent and too different in tone and intent to likely have much influence on the HBO series.
For example, Doomsday Clock largely takes place in the DC Universe, with Doctor Manhattan crossing from his world to Superman’s and meddling with the DC timeline in an attempt to see just how resilient that world’s kinder, more hopeful heroes are to corruption. We don’t know how big a role Manhattan will be playing in the HBO series, and including DC heroes like Superman and Batman is out of the question on the HBO series. Rumors suggest that Mime and Marionette, two deadly Watchmen Universe vigilantes introduced in Doomsday Clock, may be appearing in the HBO series, but that has yet to be confirmed by the network.
In short, while viewers will surely benefit from having read the original Watchmen comic or watched the movie prior to checking out the HBO series, there’s little reason to believe DC’s more recent Watchmen spinoffs will play into the new show.
Watchmen: The Development
HBO’s Watchmen series has been in development for a number of years. Here’s a quick breakdown of its history.
October 2015 – Collider and Variety both report that HBO is in talks with Watchmen movie director Zack Snyder about bringing the series to TV (whether as a new adaptation or a continuation of the movie is unclear).
June 2017 – Variety breaks the news that Damon Lindelof is in talks with HBO for a Watchmen series, one unrelated to the earlier Snyder-led project.
July 2017 – HBO president Casey Bloys indicates the TV series won’t be a straightforward adaptation of the comic.
September 2017 – HBO officially orders a Watchmen pilot.
January 2018 – Nicole Kassell is hired to direct the pilot.
May 2018 – Lindelof releases a lengthy manifesto online, confirming a contemporary setting and describing the series as a remix of the original story with brand new characters. HBO reveals the first batch of cast members.
June 2018 – Jeremy Irons joins the cast.
September 2018 – Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross are hired to score the series.
October 2018 – The first teaser footage is released, offering early insight into the plot of the series.
November 2018 – New reports indicate Irons is playing Ozymandias.
May 2019 – The first full teaser trailer is released, confirming Irons’ role as Ozymandias and strongly suggesting the series is a sequel to the comic.
June 2019 – Filming wraps on Watchmen: Season 1.
July 2019 – Lindelof confirms the series is a sequel. Jean Smart is revealed to be playing Laurie Blake. A new trailer teases the return of Doctor Manhattan.
September 2019 – The series’ October premiere date is revealed. A third trailer is released online.
This story has been updated to reflect the latest available information about HBO’s Watchmen.
Jesse is a mild-mannered writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by following @jschedeen on Twitter, or Kicksplode on MyIGN.