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Watchmen. Courtesy DC Comics

Welcome to a Terrifying Alternate America in Watchmen

For those of you already in mourning over the rapidly approaching end of Game of Thronesthere are a lot of intriguing projects debuting on HBO. One of the series we’re most excited about is The Leftovers co-creator Damon Lindelof’s adaptation of Watchmen. Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ iconic graphic novel is incredibly fertile ground on which to launch a new show. Zack Snyder took a crack at a film adaptation in 2009, with mixed but not uninteresting results. HBO provides a much larger palette for Lindelof and his creative team to play with. The cast is aces, and the conceit here is interesting. Rather than try to do a straight adaptation, Lindelof instead has chosen to tease out the years after the graphic novel ends.

“Some of the characters will be unknown. New faces. New masks to cover them,” Lindelof promised fans in an open letter. Today, the Watchmen Instagram page added to the mystery but posting three new teasers. These are very brief glimpses, but they’re appropriately weird and offer connective tissue to the graphic novel. They also introduce us to the bizarro America in which these characters are operating.

For you Watchmen novel fans, you’ll likely make the connections between the teasers and the seminal story. The weird American flag hints at how in the book, America turned Vietnam into a new state. “Reach out and touch Mars” connects to Doctor Manhattan’s lonely Martian sojourn. The pirate flag references “Tales from the Black Freighter,” the comic-within-the-comic that is a big part of the book.

The results here are very promising. Taking a beloved, canonical work like Watchmen and trying to do a straight adaptation will likely never really work. But using the themes and many narrative threads from the book as a launching pad has a lot of great possibilities.

Check out the Watchmen teaser below. The series will eventually premiere on HBO at some point this year.

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It’s not 1985 anymore.

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Reach out and touch Mars.

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Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.

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Featured image: Watchmen. Courtesy DC Comics

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