Update: In the hours after this story was first reported, HBO released a statement that confirmed "preliminary discussions regarding Watchmen have occurred," although they say that nothing is official and no deals have been made. The original story is as follows.
In 2009, DC Comics and Warner Bros released a little film called Watchmen, based on the critically-acclaimed Alan Moore title. Focusing on retired superheroes in an alternate 1985, this rated-R feature was nothing like a typical superhero film, as it dedicated less attention to action and more on the personal lives and issues of its main characters. Only six years have passed since the film hit theaters, but now there’s a possibility that Watchmen might find a home on the small screen, as well.
Collider is reporting that Zack Snyder, who directed the film, has met with HBO about a potential Watchmen TV series. However, it’s unclear whether this project would be a fresh take on the Watchmen comic or be a prequel/sequel to the movie. If a Watchmen drama were to be ordered, this would be the first original DC-related project that would air on the paid cable network. So far, DC and Vertigo shows have been limited to the broadcast networks, although Preacher will air next year on AMC. Programming on HBO would also give DC something to pit against Marvel’s more mature TV projects, like Daredevil and Jessica Jones. If this project moves forward, it’s unclear how involved Snyder would be, though with several films on his plate, it’s hard to him imagine having time to directly helm it.
With a few exceptions (namely there were some changes at the end related to Doctor Manhattan and how New York City was destroyed), the Watchmen film stayed relatively faithful to the source material. However, the original comic series packed so much into 12 issues that it was impossible for Snyder and the creative team to include every detail into the film, which was 162 minutes-long originally. Even the Ultimate Cut, which had the animated Tales of the Black Freighter story inserted, had elements missing. Needless to say, a possible Watchmen show would allow more time to adapt the full story, not to mention spend more time with both the main protagonists (Rorschach, Nite Owl, Silk Spectre, etc) and their predecessors in the 1940s.
Barring an outright reimagining of Watchmen, there is more material from the comics that the project could mine from. In 2012, DC published Before Watchmen, a series of limited-run comic books (and a few one-shot issues) that each explored a major character from the Watchmen universe before the events of the main series kicked off. If DC and HBO would rather not expand upon the 2009 film (which earned mixed reviews at the box office), these prequel books may provide enough material for TV, though it’s questionable whether they would be able to sustain several seasons.
We’ll keep you updated on any developments regarding this potential project. In the meantime, click here to find out which DC shows you can watch during the 2015-2016 TV season.