From the moment the Watchmen HBO series was announced, one question that jumped into fans minds immediately was, “Where does Doctor Manhattan figure into all of this?” Well, in the preview for the rest of the season, it looks like the character will be making an appearance. A figure with blue hands is sitting at a table eerily similar to the one in Adrain Veidt’s house in episode one. Now, earlier in the episode, the viewer clearly sees the figure of Doctor Manhattan on the surface of Mars in the exile he put himself into at the end of the original graphic novel.
The series is firmly established to be in the present day, but the character is still glowing in the background of all the events that have transpired so far. (Metaphorically, people.) But, yes, he still presents the kind of power that could shake an entire planet to its core. His lone appearance here in episode one was building and destroying a structure on Mars with little in the way of effort. He’s basically omnipotent, with powers that make him strangely human and beyond mere mortals at the same time. Understanding what role he has to play in a world after the squid attack will be fascinating.
The show has not named Jeremy Irons as Ozymandias yet, but the allusions are already there. He is motivated by the survival of he and the human race and will stop at nothing to achieve that goal. The preview above should be all the proof you need that Veldt will be a huge figure in the series moving forward just as he was in the original graphic novels. A massive conspiracy is afoot and it's going to be up to Angela (Regina King) to figure out exactly what’s going on and prevent it if she can. There were already some bombs dropped in episode one and that tone is likely to continue throughout the series.
Damon Lindelof serves as showrunner for the series and he definitely has plans for Doctor Manhattan. He told Entertainment Weekly as much earlier this year.
"I started to think that for Watchmen maybe the more interesting point is to think about masking and authority and policing as an adjunct to superheroes," Lindelof began. "In Watchmen, nobody has superpowers — the only super-powered individual is Dr. Manhattan and he’s not currently on the planet."
He continued, "So I felt like we wouldn’t be deconstructing the superhero myth because all the characters in Watchmen are just humans who play dress up. It would be more interesting to ask psychological questions about why do people dress up, why is hiding their identity a good idea, and there are interesting themes to explore here when your mask both hides you and shows you at the same time — because your mask is actually a reflection in yourself."
New episodes of Watchmen air Sundays on HBO.