Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II didn't know about that Watchmen thing when he was cast

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jimmy Kimmel
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jimmy Kimmel
Screenshot: Jimmy Kimmel Live

Warning: Kimmy Kimmel and Watchmen’s Yahya Abdul-Mateen plowed right into serious spoiler territory on last Night’s Jimmy Kimmel Live. (They did suggest viewers run for the can before launching into it, but, still.) While we here at the A.V. Club are a lot more careful about that sort of thing, stuff is going to be written in a moment that cannot be unread. So if you care about HBO’s sequel series to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ iconic graphic novel and have not yet watched last week’s episode, well, here is a really good, comics-adjacent spoiler-free A.V. Club article to read instead. Go on, click that one.

Okay, assuming the rest of you are cool, here’s the skinny.

Abdul-Mateen’s ideal househusband to Regina King’s Angela Abar/Sister Night, Cal, is actually the blue-skinned, all-powerful, and very nude Doctor Manhattan, a pretty huge surprise for viewers who’d been led to assume that the former Jon Osterman was still puttering around in Mars in an existential funk. Turns out, Cal’s just been biding his time doing dishes and being suspiciously dull and accommodating until just the right moment to get revealed as this alternate universe’s uber-being via a massive hammer-blow to the forehead from his undercover superhero wife.


It was also a surprise to Abdul-Mateen, who told Kimmel that he’d already been cast (and negotiated his salary) by series creator Damon Lindelof as the placidly pleasant Cal when Lindelof sat him down for his own big twist between filming episodes two and three. “I knew I should have asked for more money,” joked the current Doctor Manhattan, Black Manta, and Candyman (he’s probably doing all right), as he told Kimmel how he—mimicking Lindelof’s body language to maintain his cool—was secretly freaking out inside at the news that he was not only the series’ big secret, but also a blue, naked god. Explaining that his first thought was that he had to get in shape (again, he’s doing fine), Abdul-Mateen said that he ultimately settled into his role as the most powerful being in the DC/HBO universe, blue nudity and all. Noting that the workplace dress codes at both Yale Drama and his former career as an architect didn’t include “getting to walk around in [my] birthday suit,” the actor agreed with Kimmel that, unlike Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, his comic book god isn’t shy about showing off what he’s got.

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.

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