'Watchmen's EP Damon Lindelof Says He's 'Adding to a World Already Created'

Emily Aslanian
Preview HBO

Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock. HBO is resurrecting Watchmen, the iconic alternate-history drama and satirical take on superheroes, and it's about time.

Loosely based on DC's 1986–87 graphic novel of the same name, the series is set in a world in which vigilantism is outlawed and police wear masks. Being very careful not to divulge too much, executive producer and writer Damon Lindelof (Lost, The Leftovers) calls it "a remix of sorts" while also noting, "I'm not creating this world; I'm adding to a world already created…all I can do is stay true to the spirit of Watchmen and pray that it all works out. I owe everything to Watchmen, and it's an honor to officially get the chance to pay off that debt."

The series will feature some new characters and conflicts "but is still rooted in the world of the original, groundbreaking novel," Lindelof further explains. "Everything that happened in [that graphic novel] is canon. We can't replicate the brilliance of it, but we can honor it by trying to do something original."

The new effort is led by Oscar and Emmy winner Regina King (The Leftovers), who reunites with Lindelof to play a badass cop. Oscar and Tony winner Jeremy Irons reportedly plays an older version of Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias, a key character from the comics.

(Credit: HBO)

Lindelof acknowledges the former hero was "technically the villain" but has become "a much more nuanced character now that I'm all grown up." (Lindelof has been a fan of the comic since its inception, after being introduced by his father as a teen. "I became deeply attached," he recalls.)

Other characters include Miami Vice vet Don Johnson as a police chief, Jean Smart as FBI Agent Blake and Tim Blake Nelson, bringing a new character named Looking Glass to life. In addition, Louis Gossett Jr., Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Andrew Howard, Hong Chau, Tom Mison, Frances Fisher, Jacob Ming-Trent, Sara Vickers, Dylan Schombing and James Wolk will appear.

"Watchmen celebrated the legacy of superheroes that inspired it — then trolled them mercilessly," Lindelof says. "It broke every rule of the genre and invented an entirely new one in the process. To say I was inspired is an understatement."

Haven't read the comic but still want to watch? Don't worry. "If we've done our jobs right, [viewers] should be able to come in knowing nothing about the original," promises the exec producer.

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He does give one advance clue about the tale to come: "Once you've seen the first episode, those curious about certain references may want to google Rorschach."

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Watchmen, Fall 2019, HBO