Don’t Expect More ‘Watchmen’ Without Damon Lindelof, Says HBO Chief: ‘It’s His Creation’

Casey Bloys also discussed recent HBO Max content cuts and why spinoffs of legacy series like "Six Feet Under" and "True Blood" aren't happening.
Watchmen Jean Smart Episode 3
Jean Smart in "Watchmen"
Mark HIll / HBO

HBO’s 2019 “Watchmen” series ranks among the prestige network’s most acclaimed works, winning 11 Primetime Emmys and ranking at No. 3 on IndieWire’s list of the 21st century’s best limited series. But creator Damon Lindelof has since not shown interest in helming a followup to that first season — and without Lindelof on board, it doesn’t seem like HBO will ever greenlight another season.

“‘Watchmen’ was so much his creation,” HBO content CEO Casey Bloys told Variety in a new cover story. “If he doesn’t think there’s a story that he wants to put his heart and soul into, it’s hard for me to think that it would be worth doing. It was a very special limited series for us. I would put it in the pantheon of HBO greats. If Damon ever wants to revisit it, he knows that it’s an open door. But it is hard for me to imagine doing one without him.”

Lindelof left his role as showrunner at the end of Season 1. But the “Leftovers” and “Lost” co-creator, while since sticking to the idea of “Watchmen” as a one-and-done limited series, previously said he was open to handing the keys to another creative team.

“This was the story that I wanted to tell, but it could be much more expansive than this,” Lindelof told Variety in 2020. “Not that I see myself as Willy Wonka, but it’s time to bring some other kids into the factory.”

However, that doesn’t seem to be Bloys’ wish.

“Watchmen,” which starred Regina King, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jean Smart, Tim Blake Nelson, Hong Chau, Jeremy Irons, and Louis Gossett Jr., expanded the world of the beloved 1986 graphic novel series from writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons. Moore, who famously dislikes adaptations of his work and has longstanding issues with DC’s ownership over “Watchmen,” has repeatedly slammed the existence of the limited series and has publicly vowed to never watch it. Lindelof’s next series, “Mrs. Davis,” which he co-created with Tara Hernandez, premieres on Peacock in April.

“Watchmen” wasn’t the only HBO property Bloys said fans shouldn’t expect to see more of. Asked about “Succession” spinoffs, Bloys said “never say never” and that he would support Jesse Armstrong if he had an idea, but “it doesn’t seem like a natural thing.” Regarding a rumored “Six Feet Under,” revival, Bloys claimed it was never in the works, and said a “True Blood” spinoff was in development but “nothing that felt like it got there.”

Bloys also addressed the shift in strategy evident at HBO Max, where he also serves as head of content, which has seen shows canceled and yanked from the service over the past year. Bloys admits that it has been difficult to deal with the changes and with informing the artists affected, but said that it’s a natural consequence of the unstable world of streaming.

“It has not been easy. When I talk about it with the group here, it is somewhat cold comfort, but it is a fact that we’re not alone in trying to figure this out. If it was just us, I think you’d have people saying, ‘What the hell’s going on?’ But the entire industry, television and film, everybody is going through these really, really difficult, seismic changes,” Bloys said. “Historically, HBO has been incredibly profitable and made a lot of money. It allows us to take chances and take big swings. We’re all trying to figure out OK, in this new world, in a streaming environment, how do we do that?”

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