Watchmen debuted Sunday night on HBO with Damon Lindelof's sequel/remix series firmly set in the world established by Alan Moore and David Gibbons' original comic. While there were many little nods tying the series to its comics forebear, there was one clever nod that connected to real life entertainment as well: the American Hero Story: Minutemen series appearing within Sunday's "It's Summer and We're Running Out of Ice". Many fans quickly picked up on the American Horror Story and American Crime Story vibes the series-within-a-series was giving off and as it turns out, there was almost another nod -- an appearance by Ryan Murphy himself.
In an interview with Paste, Lindelof explained there had been early talk of including post-credits scenes that would be reminiscent of the "ancillary materials" that were part of the comic series. One of those scenes would have included a faux featurette about American Hero Story and that featurette? Would have included an interview with the "creator" of American Hero Story, none other than Murphy who would, of course, be playing himself. However, that never happened.
According to the piece in Paste, the show didn't ultimately go through with the Murphy cameo simply because it would have changed how the show approached American Hero Story. Lindelof explained that while the inspiration for the show-within-a-show was Murphy's work, particularly American Crime Story, Watchmen's take was meant to be a bit cheesier. If they'd stuck to plane, they would have had to make American Hero Story something that is up to Murphy's standards.
"It can't actually be Ryan Murphy, because then I would start feeling like the show actually has to be up to Ryan Murphy standards," Lindelof said.
Just because Murphy won't actually be making a cameo appearance in Watchmen doesn't mean that fans won't get more about American Hero Story as the series progresses. Lindelof indicated that there will be more things released over the course of Watchmen that expands on American Hero Story as well as the world he’s working with in the series.
“Damon Lindelof has a very specific approach to that material,” production designer Mark Worthington told ComicBook.com last month. “I can't tell you what that approach is. What I can say is we are guided more by that than anything else. Damon is a geek, too. He was obsessed with the Watchmen series as a kid. I think we all were. That was a watershed graphic novel for the whole form, as we all know. You're inspired by all of it. There it is. There's the original object and it's what you get excited about, passionate about it. I think Damon's take will be different, is different. It inherently has the DNA of the original Watchmen with a very specific take that he will put on it."
“Yes, of course, we're inspired by the original." Worthington continued. "Yes, of course, we're respectful of what that meant and what it is as an object. But then Damon has his own way of extending that and taking it to a new place because he's not redoing it, he's creating something that's other than that. I don't know. We'll see how people respond. I think people are going to like it.”
Watchmen airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.