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‘Watchmen’ Season 2 Is Still In Flux, and It Always Has Been

Nothing ever ends — not for Dr. Manhattan, and not in television.

Watchmen Regina King HBO

Regina King in “Watchmen”

Boris Martin/HBO

Since “Watchmen” ended its brilliant, well-rated first season, buzz has been building around a potential Season 2. Will we see more of Regina King’s instant-classic hero, Angela Abar? Will we see a new non-superhero story set within Damon Lindelof’s universe? Will we have to wait another three decades before an inspired creator revisits the iconic “Watchmen” world?

Much like the “Leftovers” creator’s penchant for ambiguity, those questions don’t have answers — not yet. Despite reports manufacturing a definitive position, “Watchmen” fans are still in the same purgatory they’ve been in since before the series launched, when Lindelof said his season was a complete story and HBO waited to see if that story was a hit worthy of expansion.

All that’s changed is HBO now knows it has a hit, hence the recent statements from HBO Programming President Casey Bloys. Speaking to Variety, Bloys said he’s “I’m giving him the time to think about what he wants to do, and I’m really taking his lead on this.” He went on to say he “wants to do what Damon wants, whether it’s another installment of ‘Watchmen’ or something else,” and noted that Lindelof has said in the past he’d be open to returning if the right idea comes to him.

That was it. Bloys’ non-update update was sticking with what he’s always said when asked about the future of “Watchmen,” but then came a USA Today article claiming to have an answer from Lindelof. After citing their own version of the above quotes from Bloys, the piece states that Lindelof has no interest in a second season.

While that may seem as open-and-shut as the headline implies, there are a few red flags here: For one, they spoke to Lindelof “this week,” which implies he’s not responding to Bloys’ statement, but instead a similar question about “Watchmen’s” future obtained earlier, likely on the red carpet for the Critic’s Choice Awards. For another, none of Lindelof’s statements are direct quotations. Lastly and most importantly, this is what Lindelof has been saying for ages. Even if he was responding to Bloys’ statements directly (which he’s not), “Watchmen’s” future is still up in the air.

Bloys confirmed as much Friday afternoon, tweeting a Decider story that laid out similar facts and concluded conversations are ongoing — because of course they are. Damon Lindelof is a professional; he’s held true to his original public sentiment regarding Season 2, time and time again, for months because he knows every reporter has to ask the question. After telling HBO he’ll think over ideas for a second season (and on the official “Watchmen” podcast, no less), Lindelof is not going to blindside Casey Bloys with a random pull quote nixing the show’s future.

One could even argue that Bloys’ answer is a strategical move in his ongoing efforts to woo Lindelof back to the series. By punting the show’s future back to its creator, he’s doing the admirable thing, sure — both repeating Lindelof’s own sentiment and respecting the creative entity that brought “Watchmen” to fruition — but he also knows those quotes will circulate. It’s not like Lindelof will forget about his decision, but the more people bug him about the show, the more likely it is he feels called to come back.

So where does that leave “Watchmen?” Exactly where it’s been all along. In a post-finale interview with Variety, Lindelof said he was still considering his options. “I’m going to put up my antenna, see if it’s receiving anything. If it’s not receiving anything in a reasonable period of time — and I’ll just say off the top of my head, it feels completely and totally arbitrary, but like a couple of months doesn’t feel unreasonable, you know, January, February, maybe March — then I think we move on to your question, which is, if not me, then who?”

Perhaps even more important was his next line: “Because I actually do agree with HBO that this should be a continuing series. Maybe it’ll continue in a year or two, maybe they’ll continue it in four years or whatever, but I want to see more ‘Watchmen.'”

WarnerMedia does, too. Since the AT&T-Time Warner merger, the mandate at HBO is to increase programming. More originals are on the way, but successful franchises — with awards and consumer potential — can’t be abandoned. In the modern era of television, where revivals, reboots, and, yes, remixes are being tossed around for every piece of licensed IP, shows with great ratings aren’t made to last nine episodes.

So for those who are watching the “Watchmen,” be patient. Questions will be asked, but discussions are ongoing. Angela Abar’s “Watchmen” probably won’t continue, or at least, not with her as the lead. Lindelof’s world very well could live on, with Lindelof running it. The one thing we know for sure is that when Lindelof and HBO know what’s next, they’ll tell us — most likely, together.

“Watchmen” is available to stream in its (current) entirety on HBO.

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