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Ryan Murphy almost had a Watchmen cameo as Ryan Murphy, creator of American Hero Story

Photo: Mark Hill (HBO)

One of the cleverest ways that Damon Lindelof situates his elaboration of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen in the here and now is with American Hero Story, a show-within-the-show that unspools the Minutemen era of the world’s superhero culture in the style of Ryan Murphy, the mind behind FX anthologies American Horror Story and American Crime Story. Lindelof chatted about the choice in a new interview with Paste, calling it a friendly “elbow to the ribs” for Murphy and revealing that the showrunner was even considered for a cameo at one point.

Per Lindelof, there was early chatter of including post-credits sequences that would evoke the “ancillary materials” found in the comic series, and one would’ve been a behind-the-scenes featurette about American Hero Story featuring an interview with Murphy, who would play himself as the show’s in-canon creator. But “it can’t actually be Ryan Murphy,” Lindelof adds,because then I would start feeling like the show actually has to be up to Ryan Murphy standards.”

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That doesn’t mean American Hero Story won’t have a place in the story. In the interview, Lindelof says the show-within-the-show’s creator is “a mysterious and elusive, reclusive showrunner who doesn’t give interviews,” and that future episodes will elaborate upon its place in the world. “Lord knows we talked about it,” he adds.

He also confirms that, should HBO decide to renew Watchmen for a second season, he probably won’t be heading it up. “[It’s] not my story, right? I appropriated it,” he says. “And so the idea that someone else could come along and do another season of Watchmen, that’s really exciting to me, too. I would watch the fuck out of that. These nine episodes are sort of everything that I have to say at this point about Watchmen, and then we’ll kind of go from there.”

The possibilities of who could take the reins is endless, but Lindelof knows what he’d like to see: “Ryan Coogler’s Watchmen.”

Get on it, HBO.

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About the author

Randall Colburn

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.