In a five-page letter posted on his Instagram page (which he describes as “unnecessarily wordy and an exercise in oversharing”), Lindelof delves into the personal and political reasons for tackling a new take on Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ 1986-87 graphic novel. Over the first two pages, Lindelof details his relationship with “Watchmen” as it relates to his father (who gave him the first two issues when he was 12 years old) and the multiple offers extended his way to adapt those novels into a series. (He turned down the offer twice before accepting.)
“First and foremost, if you are angry that I’m working on Watchmen, I am sorry. You may be thinking I can’t be that sorry or I wouldn’t be doing it. I concede the point, but I hope it doesn’t invalidate the apology, which I offer with sincerity and respect.”
Part of Lindelof’s apology is fueled by Moore’s belief “Watchmen” was written in comic book form for a reason and wasn’t meant to be adapted, which should mean it comes as no surprise he says he’s not adapting the comics at all.
“We have no desire to ‘adapt’ the twelve issues Mr. Moore and Mr. Gibbons created thirty years ago,” he writes. “Those issues are sacred ground and they will not be retread nor recreated nor reproduced nor rebooted. They will, however, be remixed.”
Comparing the original issues to the Old Testament and his current efforts to the New Testament, Lindelof goes on to state “we are not making a ‘sequel’ either. This story will be set in a world its creators painstakingly built… but in the tradition of the work that inspired it, this new story must be original. […] It must ask new questions and explore the world through a fresh lens. Most importantly, it must be contemporary.”
He describes the tone of his series as “fresh and nasty and electric and absurd” and says it “needs to resonate with the frequency of Trump and May and Putin.”
Lindelof also states there will be new characters, but they “intend to revisit the past century of Costumed Adventuring through a surprising yet familiar set of eyes… and here’s where we’ll be taking our greatest risks.”
The letter ends with Lindelof asking fans to give him a chance and acknowledging that only a pilot has been ordered so far.
Lindelof has been offering updates on the writing process via his Instagram feed for, well, 140 days now. The “Watchmen” pilot will be directed by Nicole Kassell and was ordered into production in September 2017.
Read Lindelof’s letter in full below: