HBO’s upcoming Watchmen TV series has had an air of mystery around it ever since it was announced back in 2018.
There were rumours of it being a retelling of the classic Alan Moore story, but it was later confirmed that this was going to be an entirely new story – away from the cannon.
Yesterday, HBO released the first teaser trailer for the eagerly anticipated series.
Please note: we will be discussing spoilers, so if you have not read Watchmen or at least watched the movie, please avoid the below article.
There are a lot of references from the infamous comic book in this trailer. The main focus is that of a ticking clock – which in Watchmen is primarily related to two things. Dr. Manhattan and the Doomsday Clock.
Starting with the latter: the Doomsday Clock was a concept in the comic books which scientists used to predict an impeding nuclear war with Russia and the end of all life. Every time something heightened tensions between the US and Russia, they would move a clock hand closer to midnight (midnight meaning war).
The second reference, of course, is Dr. Manhattan.
Dr. Manhatten’s story revolves a lot around time as he can perceive events in pretty much a 4 dimensional perspective i.e. he see’s past and present events all at once. When Dr. Jonathan Osterman (Manhattan’s real name) was disintegrated when he accidentally triggered a science experiment, his watch stopped at the exact point he died. One of the opening shots of the trailer is that of a stopped watched starting again…
His father was also a watch repair man and Osterman, himself, also learnt how to fix watches too. Later on in the book, Dr. Manhattan transports himself to Mars so that he can escape the noice of humanity. Using his powers, he creates a gigantic clock wheel. In the trailer we see a shot with the Washington monument, the wheel around the top looks very similar to this construction.
With regards to the main story, it seems as though a rogue group is using Rorschach’s image and are attacking the police.
Rorschach was killed at the end of the story when he refused to go ahead with Ozymandias’ plan – which the rest of the Watchmen team agreed to go along with. Said plan was to fake an alien attack on earth in which thousands would die. The idea was to unite the planet against a common, although fake, foe. Everyone except from Rorschach thought that the greater good of humanity outweighed the death of some if the final result was world peace. Rorschach was not willing to go ahead with a scheme where so many innocent people would die. He was then killed by Dr. Manhattan so that the conspiracy would remain safe.
At the end of the book both Ozymandias and the remaining Watchmen go ahead with the plan.
However throughout the book, Rorschach continually updates his journal with everything that is going on in his life. At the end of the book (after his death) his journal is then sent to a publisher and then published! This group/cult could be using this as their inspiration?
In 2009’s Watchmen movie, the ending was similar however rather than faking an alien attack, Ozymandias chose to implicate Dr. Manhattan, instead and blamed him for the attack.
Regardless of what ending the shows producers choose to follow up on, based on the trailer it seems that the cat could be out of the bag and this band of Rorschach impersonators are attacking a police/government which was founded on fake grounds?
We know that this is set 30 years or so after the events of the original Watchmen and the yellow masks the police are wearing is similar to that stand out yellow of the Comedian’s badge, so they could of used his image as a foundation for a new police force? After all, the character was a feared soldier and was used by the US government on several occasions despite his horrible nature.
This would serve a very controversial storyline as fans of the comic would know of the Comedians true nature and it would also serve as a modern day reference given the scandals in recent years around once respected people of influence.
The police chief also says “We thought they were gone, but they were just hibernating”. Could this mean the superhero’s/vigilantes?
In the Watchmen universe superhero’s are seen as criminals and were forced into hiding/retire so there could be resurgence? Or, this could just be referencing the Rorschach group. Rorschach was the only hero to not hang up the proverbial cape so this rebellious image of him could be used as this groups signature look – much like V’s image of Guy Fawkes in V for Vendetta; another classic Alan Moore comic.
The story is still very hush-hush so until we see further footage or plot info, for now, HBO’s eagerly anticipated series and it’s story will still be a huge guessing game.