Tick tock. The new teaser trailer for “Watchmen,” our first significant look at the upcoming HBO drama based on the classic post-modern examination of superheroes, doesn’t promise much in the way of answers. But it does deliver some haunting visuals as well as a showcase for Regina King’s unnamed character, who appears to have some personal trauma haunting her enough to don a mask and badge.
Fans of the Alan Moore/Dave Gibbons graphic novel won’t find much in the way of familiar imagery here, which is in line with executive producer Damon Lindelof’s previous statements that the 1985 story of superheroes corrupted by their power will be used primarily as a jumping off point for the series.
“We have no desire to ‘adapt’ the twelve issues Mr. Moore and Mr. Gibbons created thirty years ago,” he wrote last year. “Those issues are sacred ground and they will not be retread nor recreated nor reproduced nor rebooted. They will, however, be remixed.”
(That said, the stocking masks worn by the chanting mob in the opening moments are more than a little evocative of Rorschach’s signature look.)
The official description of the upcoming series, per HBO, is: “Set in an alternate history where “superheroes” are treated as outlaws, this drama series… embraces the nostalgia of the original groundbreaking graphic novel of the same name while attempting to break new ground of its own.” In the original story, what begins as a simple murder mystery becomes an tale of apocalyptic proportions — which might sound like a lot, but after his experience with “Lost” and “The Leftovers,” Lindelof definitely has the skill set to tell such a story without losing the humanity of those involved.
While not much is known about their characters, the announced cast includes Regina King, Jeremy Irons, Don Johnson, Jean Smart, Tim Blake Nelson, Louis Gossett Jr., Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Hong Chau, Andrew Howard, Tom Mison, Frances Fisher, Jacob Ming-Trent, Sara Vickers, Dylan Schombing, and James Wolk. (Some of whom you get a glimpse of here.)
“Watchmen” is set for a fall 2019 release, according to HBO. Check out the trailer and first look image below.