One of the most powerful seasons of TV in recent years was the nine-episode run of HBO's Watchmen, and that was already the case even before protests over racism and police reform spread across the United States. Developer Damon Lindelof has stated multiple times that he likely wouldn't be involved with a potential Season 2, having exhausted his ideas by delivering his ideal follow-up interpretation of the comic series created by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. Now, though, DC Comics has announced a new Watchmen spinoff comic miniseries that sounds tailor-made for a second TV season.
DC has announced the new limited series spinoff Rorschach, which will deliver twelve issues heavily inspired by and tied to they mythos of arguably Watchmen's most identifiable character. Indeed, the same character whose death influenced a new wave of white supremacists, the Kalvary, that used the vigilante's ink-blot mask as their unifying factor. (Along with the racist beliefs, of course.) It sounds like this new storyline will maintain the canon set up in the original Watchmen, though the comic publisher's press release did not mention any tie-ins to the Doomsday Clock sequel series. If that's the case, it would be that much easier to adapt this story for HBO.
Boasting the stellar creative pairing of writer Tom King (Mister Miracle, Heroes in Crisis) and artist Jorge Fornés (Daredevil, Batman), Rorschach will be set 35 years after the titular trenchcoat-wearing character was zapped out of existence by Doctor Manhattan for threatening to tell the world the truth about Adrian "Ozymandias" Veidt's squid monster attack. Of course, the truth came out anyway thanks to Rorschach's journal, which played a big role in vaulting the vigilante to becoming a cultural icon within the comic universe, even if he wasn't exactly a hero.
For the new comic series, Rorschach – or a copycat version, more likely – reappears in society as part of a duo of assassins with a very specific target in their metaphorical crosshairs. The killers will be aiming to take out the first political candidate set to take on Robert Redford's extended-term presidency. On the flip side of the law will be a tenacious detective whose attempts to foil the new Team Rorschach will take him down a dark rabbit hole that recalls not only otherworldly monsters and mystical visions, but also the various and ultimately doomed iterations of the Minutemen. It also sounds like Rorschach will continue the metatextual approach to comic books that Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons provided with their Black Freighter sub-narrative.
Considering the comic book's logline involves the possible assassination of a presidential candidate, readers can definitely expect for things to get political. Tom King said as much with his statement, which name-checks Damon Lindelof's Watchmen.
Like the HBO Watchmen show and very much like the original ‘86 Watchmen, this is a very political work. It’s an angry work. We’re so angry all the time now. We have to do something with that anger. It’s called Rorschach not because of the character Rorschach, but because what you see in these characters tells you more about yourself than about them.
Formerly a counterterrorism operations officer, Tom King has become one of the most acclaimed writers in the business, thanks in part to stories that exude intelligence, emotional depth, superheroics and humor. Should Rorschach become as critically acclaimed as its predecessor upon publication, HBO wouldn't be doing itself a disservice by trying to court King to adapt his own work for Watchmen Season 2, assuming Damon Lindelof isn't interested. Dare I even imagine them partnering up as co-showrunners? One can only hope that the new comic will cleverly incorporate references from the TV show. Maybe a Looking Glass mask or a Sister Night DVD case?
All nine must-see episodes of Watchmen are currently available to stream on HBO Max, so start watching them even if you've already seen them all, so that HBO knows how much fans want to see another season. While waiting on any updates there, check out our Summer 2020 TV schedule and our Fall 2020 premiere guide to keep track of everything hitting the small screen in the coming months.