We’ve known for months that Jeremy Irons will be in HBO’s Watchmen TV pilot, which is supposedly an “alternative reality” from the one depicted in the comic and takes place after that story, but all we knew was that he’d be playing an “aging and imperious lord of a British manor.” Now, it sounds like we might not have even known that, because /Film now says that information was a bit of subterfuge to hide the fact that Irons is actually playing an older version of Adrian Veidt—a.k.a. Ozymandias, the secret villain from Watchmen. /Film says it has “confirmed” that this news is correct, but we haven’t heard anything official about it from HBO.
Assuming that Irons really is playing Veidt, it’s important to point out that the leaked set photos we saw over the summer included a newspaper with a headline about Veidt being dead, meaning his role in the show will either be minimal or he’ll appear in flashbacks of some kind. The original Watchmen started with the murder of Eddie Blake, a.k.a. The Comedian, with flashbacks revealing what led up to his death, and given the talk about this project being a “remixed” version of the story, opening it with the murder of Adrian Veidt and then having him pop up in flashbacks would be a good way to pull that off. Plus, Veidt is the guy who killed The Comedian, so there would be some fun symmetry there.
Irons isn’t the only actor on HBO’s Watchmen that we know some more about now, though, with /Film also noting that Jean Smart from Legion has joined the cast as an FBI Agent Blake. People who have read Watchmen (or this very news story!) will recognize that as the same last name as The Comedian, but we don’t know if that’s just a nod to the comic or if it means that Jean Smart’s character will be related to him in some way. We also don’t know if this is even accurate, as—again—we haven’t heard anything official from HBO.