It’s been almost a year since HBO cheerfully waded into the world of comic book sacrilege, announcing that it was working with The Leftovers’ Damon Lindelof on a TV adaptation of Alan Moore and David Gibbons’ Watchmen, still the sacred text for a certain breed of “comic books are art” fanatic. That’s enough time for any number of tantrums, aneurysms, and general “They’re going to fuck it up” crankiness from the book’s more diehard fans, but rest assured, Moore acolytes: Damon Lindelof gets you.
That’s the takeaway from an Instagram post the writer/producer dropped on the internet today, containing a long, meandering letter touching on such topics as his dead dad, the New Testament, and also (in passing) his actual plans for the Watchmen TV show. Written with all the needless stylistic flourishes, deflecting self-deprecation, and aggressive oversharing of your average Medium post, it is, in technical terms, a doozy, so we might as well dive in.
First of all, Lindelof would like to assure Watchmen fans that he has no intention of creating a “sequel” to Moore’s story; in fact, he writes, “Those issues are sacred ground and they will not be retread nor recreated nor reproduced nor rebooted.” Phew! But then, also, uh-oh: “They will, however, be remixed. Because the bass lines in those familiar tracks are just too good and we’d be fools not to sample them.” DJ Damon also addresses the fact that Moore will almost certainly hate this—explicitly asking the author not to curse him, which, good luck with that—while also pointing out that artist Dave Gibbons is totally okay with the project, and also Moore stole all of his characters from other writers in the first place, and also did he mention that his dad was dead, so maybe cut him a little break?
Plus, it’s not like Lindelof wanted to make this show; indeed, he makes it clear that powerful, anonymous Hollywood men have been hounding him for years to make a Watchmen TV series, chasing him through the streets with production deals and little Dr. Manhattan figurines, and finally wearing down his resolve. And, hey, look: Damon Lindelof knows he’s being a hypocrite, with all his talk of Orthodox Jews, Nash Bridges, and his irresistible compulsion to make this particular TV show/religious tract. (“When the New Testament came long, it did not erase what came before,” he notes at one point) But also, he promises that this new Watchmen will be “contemporary,” promising to “resonate with the frequency of Trump and May and Putin and the horse that he rides around on, shirtless,” so we’ve got that to look forward to, we guess.
To be clear, Watchmen’s “purity” is something that pretty much went out the window years ago, for whatever it was ever worth; if Zack Snyder’s movie didn’t do it, DC’s decision to revisit the universe with new writers and artists a few years back certainly did. And there’s no reason to think that Lindelof—whose The Leftovers was one of the most interesting shows of the last decade—won’t find fascinating things to say with this universe and these characters. But damn, man: If you’re this worried about fans hating the shit out of everything you do, how’d you ever survive six years on Lost?