At last week’s San Diego Comic Con, we got our first full look at HBO’s forthcoming Watchmen “remix” series. While the trailer may have intrigued interested parties by how not an adaptation of the original comic books it appears to be, Watchmen creator Alan Moore is unsurprisingly “not thrilled” about the whole thing. Now, showrunner Damon Lindelof has responded to Moore distancing himself from the production with a firm, “Fuck you, I’m doing it anyway.”
This wasn’t the Lost and Leftovers mastermind calling out the legendary comic writer, however. Moore is notorious for remaining disconnected from Hollywood versions of his works (From Hell, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen), so his taking a similar stance now isn’t unexpected. Still, Lindelof made “personal overtures” to explain how he was handling the Watchmen vision and is clearly disappointed he couldn’t get Moore’s stamp of approval.
Speaking at the Television Critics Association press tour on Wednesday (via EW), Lindelof said,
“As someone who’s entire identity is based around a very complicated relationship with my dad, who I constantly need to prove myself to and never will, Alan Moore is now that surrogate. The wrestling match will continue. I do feel like the spirit of Alan Moore is a punk rock spirit, a rebellious spirit, and that if you would tell Alan Moore, a teenage Moore in ’85 or ’86, ‘You’re not allowed to do this because Superman’s creator or Swamp Thing’s creator doesn’t want you to do it,’ he would say, ‘Fuck you, I’m doing it anyway.’ So I’m channeling the spirit of Alan Moore to tell Alan Moore, ‘Fuck you, I’m doing it anyway.'”
He immediately added, “That’s clickbait, guys! Clickbait!” (Point of order, Moore would have been 33 in 1986.)
Lindelof expressed a “reverence” for Moore’s original comic series, noting that his show takes place in that same world just several years later. “Everything that happened in those 12 issues could not be messed with,” he said. “We were married to it. There is no rebooting it.” Despite this “tremendous amount of respect” for the source material, though, Lindelof is still wrestling with the fact that Moore doesn’t want to be involved.
“I don’t think that I’ve made peace with it,” Lindelof said “Alan Moore is a genius, in my opinion, the greatest writer in the comic medium and maybe the greatest writer of all time. He’s made it very clear that he doesn’t want to have any association or affiliation with Watchmen ongoing and that we not use his name to get people to watch it, which I want to respect.”
With or without Moore’s approbation, Watchmen debuts this fall on HBO. It stars Regina King, Tim Blake Nelson, Louis Gossett Jr., Don Johnson, and Jeremy Irons. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross composed the original music. Watch the Comic Con trailer below.
Update: HBO has announced an October 20th, 2019 premiere date for Watchmen.