Speaking at Vulture Fest LA on Saturday, Lindelof revealed why he’s interested in adapting Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon’s seminal comic book series on television.
“Watchmen – it was dangerous,” said Lindelof. “And you can’t be dangerous for dangerous’ sake, but the reason that I’m doing this is these are dangerous times, and we need dangerous shows.”
With superheroes being more present than ever in the entertainment landscape, Lindelof feels that Moore and Gibbons’ deconstruction of the genre is more relevant than ever.
“What we think about superheroes is wrong,” he said. “I love the Marvel movies and we saw Justice League this morning and I’m all for Wonder Woman and Batman and I grew up on these characters, but we should not trust people who put on masks and say that they are looking out for us. If you hide your face, you are up to no good.”
Moore has famously absolved himself of any connection to adaptations of Watchmen, which was adapted into a movie directed by Zack Snyder in 2009, or any of his other work, but Lindelof still thinks of Moore as, “the greatest writer in the history of comics, maybe one of the greatest writers of all time – and he most certainly doesn’t want us to be doing this and we’re trying to find a way to do it that honors him … That comic was written in the mid-80s. It is more timely now, in 2018, 2019, whenever the show airs, if it airs, that it needs to be told. For a superhero junkie, I’ve never done a superhero movie or a superhero TV show, and now is the time.”
Lindelof credits his father, an obsessive comic book collector, with getting him into the genre and specifically recalls when his father handed him the first issue of Watchmen when Lindelof was just 12 years old.
“It just crackled with electricity,” recalled Lindelof. “It dealt with the psychological realism in the superhero genre that I had fallen in love with...When we were growing up in the 80s, our generation, we all tell these stories of ‘Oh, I saw Poltergeist; I saw Jaws; I saw Porky’s, I saw things on HBO that were too inappropriate for me. And one way of looking at it is that scarred us and it was completely and totally bad for us, but we talk about it in this very romantic way, that we were sort of looking above our pay grade, in terms of the material.”
The Watchmen television series is still in the early stages of development at HBO, with no timeline for release.