HBO’s Watchmen is apparently dead, or is it?

Watchmen-Courtesy of Mark Hill/HBO
Watchmen-Courtesy of Mark Hill/HBO /

Everyone seems to think that Watchmen is dead after a recent Damon Lindelof interview, but it might just be in a coma.

It would appear that HBO’s adaptation of Watchmen has run its course. Series creator and show-runner Damon Lindelof told USA Today this week that he has no plans for a second season, and HBO programming chief Casey Bloys followed up with this quote in the same article: “It would be hard to imagine doing it without Damon involved in some way.”

Many fans and writers have taken this as confirmation that the series is done, with all of its loose threads left dangling in the wind: Angela Abar maybe but probably inheriting the powers of Doctor Manhattan, Nite Owl still imprisoned and Adrian Veidt about to be, and Lubeman still sliding around Oklahoma, identity unconfirmed (but it was so Agent Petey).

But I am not so sure about that. Lindelof never made it a secret that this season of Watchmen was intended to be capable of standing alone, but he’s also never closed the door on continuing the series. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly last month (and year, and decade, hahaha these jokes definitely haven’t gotten old yet) Lindelof gave us this big block quote to chew on:

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"“… I wanted everyone to know this is not the middle of the trilogy, this is not the beginning of a seven-season run. In my opinion, the best iteration of any season of Watchmen would mirror the original [graphic novel] in that it would be a self-contained story with the resolution of a fundamental mystery.”"

He also spoke about whether the universe could continue even if it isn’t directly tied to his series.

"“There’s always going to be space for more Watchmen. I feel like this world is so expansive — hopefully more expansive now than it was before. You could call something ‘Watchmen’ and not even feature any of the characters who were in the original or in this season as long as they all occupy the same world.”"

And he was very clear in giving us an idea of what it would take for him to write another season:

"“… I would need to have a really cool idea and a justification for doing it. I don’t have either of those things right now. It doesn’t mean that they won’t come at some future point. I just finished the show four weeks ago. My antenna is up, but it’s like only getting static. I can’t say that there will definitely not be a second season and I can’t say there definitely will be. That’s kind of where my head’s at.”"

So it’s not happening any time soon, and Lindelof doesn’t know where he wants to go with it, but he’s clearly not over the series either. And in this snob’s opinion, the show will feel a bit underwhelming in hindsight if he doesn’t come up with something, someday.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved Watchmen. Seeing it balance between politically topical superhero drama and unexpectedly moving superhero love story was great entertainment, but to me, it felt like the setup for something more, not a whole saga unto itself. We’ve already seen Adrian Veidt use raining squid to save the world before, and let’s be honest, this time it felt like an easy way out.

I’m not suggesting Lindelof and HBO milk Watchmen for more than they should. We have enough of that in the world of entertainment these days, particularly when it comes to superheroes, but I can’t help but feel like another chapter is warranted for this series. I don’t mind the unanswered questions left in the finale – sometimes we’re not supposed to have all the answers, Lindelof himself has shown us that with Lost and The Leftovers – but I do feel that a writer of his pedigree should have something more to add to a Watchmen adaptation than an update of the political climate and decade it takes place in.

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Lindelof has shown us through The Leftovers how great he can be when taking another writer’s source material and running with it. All I hope for, ultimately, is that his antenna picks up something one of these days (even if it’s just a sitcom about Red Scare and Pirate Jenny adopting little Bian, you heard it here first). Given that he compared it to Fargo and True Detective when selling HBO on the series, it might be more likely than most are thinking.

So am I just being an entitled fanboy, wanting more from a series without having any concrete ideas of what that would be? Let us know.