A new Instagram account for the HBO series Watchmen went into action on Monday with a mysterious teaser image that depicts a menacing masked-man in a law-enforcement uniform. Who exactly is that masked man? Time will tell.
The mystery man in the uniform is obscured by his peaked cap and a bright yellow wrap-mask worn in bandit-style. That look doesn’t sync up with any of the characters introduced in the show’s namesake source material, which was published by DC Comics (first as a 12-issue mini-series published monthly in 1986-1987 and then collected into a single-volume as a bestselling graphic novel). The epic it presented existed in a separate, stand-alone universe than the adventures of Superman, Batman and the other DC characters.
The original Watchmen, the work of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, is widely hailed as a defining masterpiece of its genre. It depicts an alternate reality where superheroes became part of the American public life in the 1940s but are eventually outlawed — and, along the way, help win the Vietnam War and tilt the course of other geo-political events as well. Dark and unsettling, the epic tale shows the personal lives of the heroes veer into excess, corruption and madness, as well.
The magnum opus of the comics world was adapted as a feature film by Warner Bros and director Zack Snyder in 2009 with results that divided fans of the Moore and Gibbons epic. Despite the shared title, the new series is not a remake nor is an adaptation of the Moore and Gibbons source material.
In an interview with Deadline, Gibbons hailed the new television tale as “exciting, entertaining and absolutely worthwhile.” That said, he added that the comics were always intended as a one-and-done epic.
“The original is something that we always saw as standing alone and it never in our mind required prequels or sequels or homages or pastiches or anything like that,” Gibbons said. “It isn’t that we thought it should be treated with great reverence, it’s just that we thought: If you’ve done something right just leave it alone.”
The HBO series, which launches next year, is the brainchild of executive producer Damon Lindelof (The Leftovers) and secrecy has been the watchword for the project so far. Lindleof has said the story returns to the world introduced in the comics epic but goes in new directions.
The HBO series cast includes: Regina King, Jeremy Irons, Don Johnson, Tim Blake Nelson, Louis Gossett Jr., Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Andrew Howard, Tom Mison, Frances Fisher, Jacob Ming-Trent, Sara Vickers, and Dylan Schombing. Now filming, the series is being produced for HBO by White Rabbit in association with Warner Bros. Television.
Nine Inch Nails musicians Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (who first worked together as film composers on The Social Network) will be creating the original music for the series.
Lindelof is the executive producer/writer; Nicole Kassell is executive producer and pilot director. Tom Spezialy, Stephen Williams and Joseph Iberti are also executive producers