Watchmen Creator Damon Lindelof Says There Is More To Come
Damon Lindelof, the man behind HBO's critically-acclaimed Watchmen series, says he is in no doubt that there are further tales from the universe yet to be told, whether or not he is the man tasked with telling them.
The series, which reaches the sixth episode on Sky Atlantic and Now TV on Monday, has tackled attitudes to race, police brutality, and existential angst in a way that has kept viewers gripped, grossed out, and - admittedly - slightly confused.
For fans, the good news is that we will get the answers we crave, and - whether in this form or another - the Watchmen story will continue on into the future.
In an interview with LADbible, Lindelof said: "I think that everyone wants to see how season one plays out.
"It was designed to be a complete story much in the vein of shows like Fargo or True Detective, with an understanding that there are many Watchmen stories to tell, but there's not a big cliffhanger in the final episode.
"I think the majority of the mysteries - at least the ones that are central to the stories that we tell - are resolved by the end of the ninth episode.
"We're all planning on taking a breath over the holidays and seeing where to go from there.
"If the idea is right, and if there is a compelling reason to do it, then I'd consider it. I haven't had that idea yet. The other thing about Watchmen is that it doesn't belong to me.
"Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons and John Higgins created this thing, I had the opportunity to be its steward for a couple of years."
"There is going to be more Watchmen, independently of whether I do it. It should be done by someone who really deeply cares about it and has a reason to."
Over the years, there have been many attempts - mostly aborted - to commit Watchmen to the screen.
This could be down to the subject matter, or it could be a curse laid down by creator Alan Moore, which Lindelof admits felt 'very real' during the show's production.
Zack Snyder's 2009 effort received a mixed reception, but brought the original material back to the public's attention.
As a long-time fan, Lindelof admitted that - curses aside - he was wary when entering the project.
He continued: "I knew that I was taking on something that I had a great personal emotional connection to and my desire to get it right was overwhelming.
"I continue to put myself in places where I feel creatively uncomfortable and sometimes that is necessary in order to activate the creative process.
"My trepidation was balanced out by real exhilaration.
"The opportunity to be at this point in my career, 30 years after I read this piece of work that really inspired me and taught me so much about storytelling, the opportunity to come back and acknowledge that a lot of the things that make me, me, came from Watchmen.
"It was too much of an exciting possibility to pass up.
"There were equal parts fear and anticipation and clearly the anticipation won because I did it."
For this new series, we skip forward around 30 years to the present day. Despite the costumes, masks, and superpowers, themes of racial tension and police brutality keep the series inextricably linked to our universe.
This wasn't something that the Lost and The Leftovers creator took lightly.
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He explained: "I think that when you look at the original, at least in my opinion it was essential that it was contemporary. Even though it was taking place in an alternate history it was set in the mid-1980s in a United States that was very familiar.
"[When I was younger] I would put down an issue of Watchmen and say, 'wow, we're also in a nuclear standoff with the USSR and, although we're not at the brink of annihilation, this is the world that I'm living in.'
"It seemed reasonable if we were going to do Watchmen in 2019 that it was set in 2019, and dealt with more contemporary issues as opposed to issues that were resolved decades ago.
"For me, living in the USA right now, I'm not worried about the Russians firing nuclear weapons at me.
"I feel like race is the dominant cultural anxiety and existential threat to the American promise."
He continued: "There's a reckoning happening in America. It has been happening since the Civil Rights Movement and should have been happening over the last four centuries, but the history we've been told about our country is not a false history, but it's hiding - or camouflaging - an alternate history.
"The more that we learn - by 'we' I mean white folks - about what really happened, the harder it is to reconcile how we feel about it, and that felt like a really necessary conversation to be having.
"To do it through genre, a pre-existing piece of superhero storytelling, particularly one that was about the political realities and emotional uncomfortability of actual history, it felt like Watchmen could accommodate that theme, so we proceeded as responsibly as we could."
Another hot topic addressed in the show is public attitudes to authority figures, particularly the mask-clad police officers.
Again, this didn't pass Lindelof by.
He added: "The show is reflecting the real world through the distorted lens of an alternative history. That said, if you live in the United States it is a pretty common story that the police in America treat people of colour entirely differently than white people.
"That's not a debatable fact, in my opinion. That's an empirical fact.
"This does not mean that all police are bad, in fact most police are probably good. The idea that there are police in America who are leaving their homes this morning and risking their lives to do their job, the bravery and the nobility and the professionalism that they exhibit in doing those jobs is one of the most admirable things in the world.
"I would never take the standpoint that this show is trying to expose the fact that police are inherently corrupt. There are a number of characters on the show who are cops who are very well-intentioned.
"The show is much more interested in answering the question - what makes someone want to be a policeman or policewoman.
"What makes someone want to choose that job, and let's interrogate that question thematically."
So, after you've tackled the 'unfilmable' graphic novel, as many have described Watchmen over the years, where do you go next?
With the recent departure of Game of Thrones producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss from the development of a new Star Wars trilogy, there's a fresh vacancy at the biggest real-estate in the science-fiction world just now. How about that?
Lindelof explained: "Star Wars was a massive impact on me. I saw it when I was four-years-old and it was a religious experience. That said, and it's not like I've been offered the opportunity to do so, I'd be very reluctant to work in the Star Wars universe.
"I really enjoy watching it from the outside, everything that is being done now in this new iteration, I hold it in very high esteem, but more important I appreciate it much more as a fan.
"But, if you were to ask me three years ago if I'd ever do Watchmen, I'd have said the same thing to you.
"You never know when the inspiration or the idea strikes, and whether you should do something original or do try to something original with a pre-existing piece of story that already exists out there in the world."
"[Star Wars] was a universe and a piece of myth-making that had a profound impact on me in my childhood. But, right now, I'm thinking let's keep it otherised.
"Star Wars should have nothing to do with me, and that's the way I like it."
Well, we can only hope.
Watchmen continues on Mondays on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV.
Featured Image Credit: HBO/PA