Over the years, Alan Moore has made it clear of the distaste he has for others’ adaptations of his works. His experience with the troubled The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was the last straw (Warner Bros. settled an alleged plagiarism suit aimed at the movie from a third party, much to Moore’s personal chagrin) and ever since then he’s demanded that any adaptation being made of his work-for-hire should be devoid of his name in its publicity, credits and marketing. That’s why you won’t see his name on the likes of Joe Silver’s V for Vendetta or Zack Snyder’s Watchmen, only the name of the graphic novels’ original artists. And with the upcoming HBO series of Watchmen, Moore’s stance seems consistent.
Showrunner Damon Lindelof, probably most famous for LOST, told the press at the recent Television Critics’ Association‘s Summer press tour that he understood and respected Moore’s position but noted that he was going to take Moore’s own ‘fuck you‘ approach to being told he couldn’t something and apply it to the right for Lindeof to do something with Watchmen, with or without Moore’s blessing.
The longest trailer to date for the upcoming Watchmen – a show that won’t copy the original comic and film’s narrative, but rather take its idea as a springboard into something tonally the same (or so the production describes itself) – was launched at SDCC and while it’s hard to garner a true sense of its story and ambition, there’s certainly a degree of subversive style that tonally matches some of what we know from the original. Moore pointed out, with a lot of merit, that Watchmen and its format was a celebration of the comics medium and simply couldn’t be made to work with the same impact on screen.
At this point HBO‘s attempt – which debuts in October – could be an artistic triumph or pretentious overreach… only time and how many people watch the Watchmen will tell.