Regina King Sounds Off on 'Watchmen's Divisive Ending & Angela's Journey
[*Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 1 plotlines, Blu-ray bonus feaures and more pertaining to Watchmen.]
HBO's limited series Watchmen is poised for its Blu-Ray release, and we're counting down the seconds and "tick-tocking" our way to the June 2nd debut.
Set in the world originally created by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons in the graphic novel by the same name, Watchmen offers an alternative history parallel in some ways to our own and deviating in other aspects. In 2019, the United States has been run by President Robert Redford for the past 27 years, vigilantism has been outlawed, technology is less advanced, police are limited in their use of firearms, and the insidious Seventh Kavalry influenced by the musings found in Rorschach's journal are running rampant.
After a mass attack on police officers by the Seventh Kavalry, law enforcement has been forced to hide their faces as they deliver justice. Enter the character at the center of this story, Angela Abar (Regina King), a detective working for the Tulsa police department under the name Sister Night. Throughout the series, she'll uncover secrets about her past and lineage, while also uncovering a "vast and insidious conspiracy" that is introduced to her early on in Damon Lindelof's (Lost, The Leftovers) creation.
Familiar faces pop up from the comics and new characters are introduced, offering a near-seamless continuation of the story first introduced in the '80s. "As an actor, and a person that loves the galvanization of the film making industry, I'm excited that people have an opportunity to see behind the curtain," King tells us about the Blu-Ray release which offers various bonus features (including the exclusive sneak peek, below). "It's so often we're watching something and we're entertained as an audience, but we don't realize that without [200 or 250 people], that five minutes of content wouldn't exist."
"I am always excited for the audience to have the opportunity to witness all the other people that are involved with the making of a project," she continues. We caught up with the Academy Award-winning actress ahead of the release to discuss some of the series' biggest questions including clarity about those puzzling final moments, Angela's journey, what it's like transforming into Sister Night and much more.
Watchmen has held up a mirror to our own world, whether it's the original comic book or this series. What makes right now a perfect time to tune in?
Regina King: It encompasses everything that's going on now ... Even though we don't have a [literal] virus happening in our show, there is a virus. The systems that were in place over a hundred years ago are still in place in real life, and in our alternate universe or history of Watchmen, that is reality. It is, as you put it, putting a mirror on the systems that are still in place and even with the entire country in this quarantined moment is what should be a universal cause.
Angela's story is so unexpected throughout the series. What was the most rewarding part of sharing her story with viewers?
While she is undeniably a black woman, that even as we are witnessing her discover the pain that she's inherited, people no matter who they are, can find a way to identify. I think that is a theme that people can relate to. The theme of covering up pain and not dealing with it. And while Angela seems to have gotten a grasp on it better than maybe the next man or woman, you start to see like the layers of an onion unpeel and a moment of [wondering], "Well, does she really have it?"
You know, you see her go from being this caring mother to, you know, beating the s**t out of a man. And while that is entertaining, it's also heartbreaking that that much turmoil is going on inside. And I think there are a lot of people that have that turmoil going on inside. So while we are not doing an exhibition on mental health, I do still feel like there is a bit of storytelling that touches on why mental health, or unhealthiness, is an actual real thing people are experiencing.
The show's Dr. Manhattan reveal is one of its biggest twists. How difficult was keeping the secret before the show aired?
I think because I was not a person that followed the comic book, I didn't realize until we were shooting the magnitude of Dr. Manhattan and what that character means to the true comic book fan. So for me, I was kind of like a little girl, it was quite fun having to keep the secret and seeing them do things like painting other men blue to throw off extras, to throw off anyone else around when we were shooting some of those things outside.
So it was just exciting to be a part of the secret. And to see every time we would get new cast members, they would find out because they were in the scene and want to be a part of the secret too, it was exciting and I think we did a great job. A couple of people figured it out along the way, but they weren't noisy enough that it was broke before that episode actually came out.
Dr. Manhattan leaves an egg behind for Angela that presumably would pass along his powers to her. Before the finale credits roll, she consumes the egg and is about try walking on water. Do you think it worked?
It's so funny for me. I totally thought that, "The second season she's going to fall in the water." To me, I just was like, it's a love story, how can she get closer to feeling the love of her life again? If there's a shot in feeling him again, then she's going to take it even though it's ridiculous. If anyone had the opportunity to have a moment with a love of their life [they'd take that chance]. You can even relate to it at the level of it's a favorite family member that's passed away. If you had that opportunity to be with them again, you would. (*Note: Season 2 has not been confirmed as Watchmen remains classified as a limited series by HBO.)
Everyone wants to be a superhero, and while Angela may not have super powers, her role as Sister Night is as close as someone can get to being a superhero. What was it like to live out that dream onscreen?
It was amazing. Oh my gosh. Just when we were just going through all the different iterations of the costume, each fitting, each change. It was so exciting and so much fun. And if you were ever a kid that loved any superhero and you happened to be an actor, it's like a lifetime dream coming true finally. I personally feel like she's even more super of a superhero because she doesn't have supernatural powers. What do we always say? Real superheroes don't wear capes? So if you ask me, did I want to be a superhero? And I have been asked that in several interviews, years before I even knew that I would possibly be in this show called Watchmen. Yes, that's one of my dreams. I never would have thought that it could have been a hero that was so complex. I just feel like I got the golden ticket, you know?
The Watchmen: An HBO Limited Series Blu-Ray ($44.99) and DVD ( $39.99) from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will be available for purchase beginning Tuesday, June 2. It features over 90 minutes of bonus features alongside all nine episodes from the critically-acclaimed series. Catch an exclusive sneak peek at the bonus content below: