It’s been years since Zack Snyder had his outing with Watchmen, but fans haven’t forgotten the feature. The movie did attract decisive reviews, but Watchmen has created itself an ever-growing fanbase over time. Jackie Earle Haley, the man behind Rorschach, admits he's always been a fan and is finally opening up about why a sequel never happened yet.
Recently, CinemaBlend had a moment to chat with Haley about work on Amazon’s The Tick. It was there Watchmen was brought up, and the actor admitted he wished Warner Bros. could have made a sequel. However, film rights got in the studio’s way.
“I wish they would have gone on. You know, I think they probably would have gone on and done more films with Watchmen, different versions of it, because I think there was enough success that they could have gone back in time or done something with it. But I think the thing that really kind of held it up was the fact that there was this contention of ownership between Warner Bros and Paramount,” Haley said.
If you aren’t familiar with Watchmen’s rights issues, then you have a legal battle to catch up on. Paramount had the rights to Watchmen originally, but the studio put them into turnaround which meant another studio would make a film on the property in exchange for a tax write-off. Warner Bros. made a deal with Paramount with make the movie, but it looks like there was hidden drama behind the scenes.
“Dude, it was like Paramount waited until [Watchmen] was pregnant,” Hayley said. “We were at the end of production, when Paramount said 'Oh, and by the way...’”
For Warner Bros., the studio opted to let the franchise fade away than to continue dealing with legal issues. 20th Century Fox had filed one lawsuit against Warner Bros. prior to Watchmen’s release over film rights. The superhero flick simply didn’t earn enough money at the box office to make Warner Bros. eager to spinout an entire franchise, so fans shouldn’t expect a Watchmen sequel to get okayed anytime in the near future.
Watchmen was first published in 1986 and collected in 1987. Zack Snyder released the feature film adaptation in 2009 to mixed reviews and a disappointing domestic box office. The film starred Jackie Earle Haley, Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode, Carla Gugino, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Patrick Wilson. The Watchmen live-action film went on to earn $185 million worldwide. You can read its synopsis below:
"In an alternate 1985 America, costumed superheroes are part of everyday life. When one of his former comrades is murdered, masked vigilante Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley) uncovers a plot to kill and discredit all past and present superheroes. As he reconnects with his retired associates, only one of which has true powers, Rorschach glimpses a far-reaching conspiracy involving their shared past and catastrophic consequences for the world's future."
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In 2012, DC Comics revived the Watchmen property in a series of miniseries titled Before Watchmen and set in the world of the original series but before the apocalyptic events of Watchmen. There have been persistent rumors that Warner Bros. may try to develop those comics into a film as well, but none of those rumors have proven credible.