Damon Lindelof is no stranger to backlash. Between his polarizing work on Lost, Prometheus, and Star Trek Into Darkness, the guy’s seen enough online vitriol to overwhelm an entire corporation. That’s why it’s not surprising to see him tackling an ever-fragile property like Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon’s much-beloved Watchmen series. As previously reported, he’s turning the iconic story into an HBO miniseries, and today, he shared a five-page mission statement on his Instagram account.
True to his self-deprecating ways, Lindelof starts the whole shebang off by writing, “Hello there. My name is Damon Lindelof and I am a writer. I am also the unscrupulous bastard currently defiling something that you love.” From there, he offers an incredibly honest and often scathing assessment of himself and his personal ties to the source material, which he likens to the Old Testament, a metaphor he uses to emphasize how his adaptation is more of a “remix” of the original story:
“We have no desire to ‘adapt’ the twelve issues Mr. Moore and Mr. Gibbons created thirty years ago. Those issues are sacred ground and they will not be retread nor recreated nor reproduced nor rebooted. 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.
Those original twelve issues are our Old Testament. When the New Testament came along, it did not erase what came before it. Creation. The Garden of Eden. Abraham and Isaac. The Flood. It all happened. And so it will be with Watchmen. The Comedian died. Dan and Laurie fell in love. Ozymandias saved the world and Dr. Manhattan left it just after blowing Rorschach to pieces in the bitter cold of Antarctica. To be clear. Watchmen is canon.”
So, it’s a sequel? Nope. Lindelof shoots that notion down, too, stressing, “But we are not making a ‘sequel’ either. This story will be set in the world its creators painstakingly built.… but in the tradition of the work that inspired it, this new story must be original. It has to vibrate with the seismic unpredictability of its own tectonic plates. It must ask new questions. and explore the world through a fresh lens. Most importantly, it must be contemporary.” He later adds, “Some of the characters will be unknown. New faces. New masks to cover them.”
In some respects, it sounds no different than what DC is already doing with Doomsday Clock, which is ostensibly a sequel to the original Watchmen stories, even though it exists mostly outside the universe. Regardless, there’s plenty reason to be intrigued by what Lindelof has up his sleeve, and given how he even admits this letter was partly inspired by Dr. Manhattan himself, you gotta respect his commitment to the material. Here’s hoping it’s another win for him in the vein of The Leftovers.
Read the full letter below and (maybe) revisit Zack Snyder’s direct 2009 film adaptation.