'Watchmen': Could an adaptation of the acclaimed graphic novel end up on HBO?

HBO is reportedly in talks with director Zack Snyder, who already adapted the story for big screens, about a possible TV show based on the graphic novel 'Watchmen.' 

Courtesy of Warner Bros.
'Watchmen' stars Malin Akerman (l.), Billy Crudup (center), and Jackie Earle Haley (r.).

Is Hollywood set to return to the story of “Watchmen”? 

The acclaimed graphic novel written by Alan Moore, which is often called one of the best superhero stories of all time, may be adapted by HBO for TV. 

HBO is reportedly in talks with Zack Snyder, who directed a feature film adaptation of “Watchmen” in 2009, about creating a TV version of “Watchmen.” The graphic novel takes place in the 1980s in a version of our world where superheroes exist and Richard Nixon is serving multiple terms as president. In the 1970s, superheroes had grown unpopular and most are not working anymore.

After the superhero the Comedian is found dead, a former colleague known as Rorschach decides to investigate his murder and visits other former superheroes such as Nite Owl, Silk Spectre, Doctor Manhattan, and Ozymandias.

It’s unknown whether the show, if it moves forward, would be a remake of the same story or merely take place in the same fictional world. 

The 2009 film adaptation was not well-received by critics and underperformed at the box office. However, Snyder is a big name in comic book movies right now, especially for studio Warner Bros., who releases movies based on characters from DC Comics (“Watchmen” was also published through DC Comics). Snyder directed the 2013 Superman box office hit “Man of Steel” and is directing the movie “Batman v Superman,” which will be released this March and will introduce Ben Affleck’s take on the Batman character as well as Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. 

In addition, the dark mood of “Watchmen” reflects other current projects. The plot of “Watchmen” involves grim secrets about the superheroes and flashbacks in which the characters behaved in ways far removed from the positive images some may have of superheroes. The “Dark Knight” film trilogy, which was directed by Christopher Nolan, brought a dark take on Batman to the multiplex and the movies became huge critical and box office successes – the work he did on the second movie as the villain the Joker led Heath Ledger to a Best Supporting Actor Oscar.

In addition, comic book movies now are showing a greater range of tones, going both darker and lighter. 2014’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” was a comedy about superheroes and became a big hit. But audiences are also showing they want a grimmer take on their stories of caped heroes. The upcoming movie “Suicide Squad” centers on “Batman” villains and so it seems safe to assume there may be a darker mood. Meanwhile, a movie about the superhero Deadpool is one of the most highly-anticipated superhero projects for next year. Deadpool is known for his profane language and for breaking the fourth wall in his stories. “'Deadpool' is a hard R,” producer Simon Kinberg said of the film in an interview. “It’s graphic. Nothing is taboo.”

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