It is almost time to get the Watchmen to assemble. Be on the lookout for The Comedian, Ozymandias, Nite Owl, Dr. Manhattan, Silk Spectre and Rorschach as these characters come to life. But, don’t misread the headline. Note that it says the Pilot has a start date – not the series.
You should know the drill by now. HBO demands quality and production value before its name is put on a project. The powers that be want to see a pilot episode first, regardless of whether a filmmaker has strong credits to their name or not. Just because Damon Lindelof has Lost and THE LEFTOVERS doesn’t mean WATCHMEN is going to be its best. Something might be off with location or budget or perhaps, the writing or story arc is deemed to need improvement or the cast might need to be tweaked before a series is granted. The pilot just serves as a template to ensure all is top notch.
We have known that this development has been in the pipeline for a while now, but now the buzz is that the pilot order is to go before the camera in March of this year. It is at that time that some casting news should materialize. There is already a rumor that wrestler/actor/personality John Cena has the role of Dr. Manhattan. We might also see some production shots if we are lucky. We will have to wait and see.
Regardless of whether you are familiar with the original graphic novels (by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons) or the 2009 movie (by Zach Snyder), the concept remains the same. Remember that it takes place in an alternate history in the 1980’s. The United States won the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal was no big deal and, in fact, Richard Nixon is still POTUS. To top it off the country is heading toward World War III with the Soviet Union and superheroes of any type are persona non grata. Eventually, superheroes grow unpopular among the police and the public, leading to the passage of legislation to outlaw them. While many of the heroes retired, Doctor Manhattan and a veteran superhero known as The Comedian operate as government-sanctioned agents. Another, named Rorschach, continues to operate outside the law. It makes the series then, a period piece of large proportions. But it is so ready for it He had this to say – “That comic was written in the mid-’80s, [but it’s] more timely now. These are dangerous times and we need dangerous shows.”
And HBO is the perfect place for it. We hope the pilot is a solid hit and the filming of Season One is soon to follow.