HBO's Watchmen Drops Insane First Trailer Full Of Rorschachs, Comic References And A+ Don Johnson

Of all the reboots, revivals and spinoffs out there in TV land, few have created the same kind of curious energy that HBO and Damon Lindelof's upcoming Watchmen series have. Though the buzz hasn't gotten too loud just yet without many official visuals to feast upon, that's likely to change with the release of Watchmen's first trailer, which can be viewed below in all of its mystifying glory. Complete with Don Johnson's first major TV role in a few years.

Go ahead and take a second to unwind, as I understand how intense that trailer got during its relatively short run-time. That was nuts. So many Rorschach masks. So many other masks. So many clock references. So many familiar actors. So many other things that are completely unfamiliar. And it was all fittingly capped off by a smiley face inside the HBO logo.

HBO's Watchmen is Damon Lindelof's attempt at repackaging Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' original comic masterpiece for modern audiences, while also revising and expanding elements to add to the central mythos. In general, it looks like the series will borrow the threat of planetary armageddon from both the original comic and the Doomsday Clock follow-up that brings the Watchmen into the DC Universe.

One could assume that this show takes place after the original Rorschach, Walter Kovacs, died. In the comic, he opted for a suicide-by-Doctor Manhattan, knowing he wouldn't be allowed to live on to reveal Ozymandias' heinous plot to the world. That speaks to a certain kind of martyrdom that inspires followers to pick up the mantle, such as the group seen in the trailer. But does that mean that Rorschach's journal was discovered in this universe?

Fans don't get to see Jeremy Irons' possibly villainous Adrien Veidt doing anything villainous in the slightest, but that's likely just to throw us off his scent. I seriously doubt he's seeking inner peace with his meditation.

Of course, the act of making any straightforward guesses might be a fool's errand. This show was produced largely inside a spoiler-free vacuum, so it's hard to guess just how closely the TV show will adhere to any form of source material. It's awesome to see the pirate flag on the scythe, but there's no way of knowing just yet whether that will tie into the phantom ship of Watchmen's comic-within-a-comic, Tales of the Black Freighter

Even if the show did release a bunch of details, though, this is Damon Lindelof, who is known to defy expectations in different ways on shows such as Lost and The Leftovers. So it's safer just to assume that all assumptions are misguided in some way, even this one.

don johnson winking GIF

However things go, though, the world is all the better for an HBO drama that stars Regina King (as Angela Abraham), Jeremy Irons (as Adrien "Ozymandias" Veidt), and Don mother-watching Johnson (as Chief Judd). The trailer doesn't exactly give us a lot to go on for expectations with these characters, but their presence speaks to Watchmen's keen casting choices.

Beyond those mentioned, Watchmen also stars The Ballad of Buster Scruggs' Tim Blake Nelson, Hap and Leonard's Lou Gossett Jr., Rectify's Adelaide Clemens, Bates Motel's Andrew Howard, Sleepy Hollow's Tom Mison, Endeavour's Sara Vickers, Resurrection's Frances Fisher, Aquaman's Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, and more.

Watchmen currently doesn't have an official release date yet, but it will hit HBO at some point this fall, after all the summer shows have come and gone without seemingly killing off a giant crowd of carnival-goers.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.