As any viewer of HBO's Watchmen can attest, the first season of the series was expertly paced and had no time to stop and smell the roses. Running nine episodes long, the series shifted its focus in many episodes, allowing characters to take the spotlight while illuminating its story in surprising and thrilled ways throughout. Obviously this was planned all along, but as series creator and showrunner Damon Lindelof has revealed, the series was originally set to be 10 episodes long, but they dropped it when they realized they would be stretching their story.
“The original plan was to do 10," Lindelof revealed to Collider. "And, then, I think around the time that we had written the scripts for four and five, and understanding what episode six was going to be—and six needed to happen exactly when it happened in the season, in our opinion—that we felt like once six ended, that we were closer to the ending than we were to the beginning."
The sixth episode of the series, "This Extraordinary Being," saw Angela succumb to the effects of the "Nostalgia" pills and relive the life of her grandfather Will, learning about his life in New York as a police officer and later as the first superhero Hooded Justice. Furthermore, the plot of the white supremacist group "Cyclops" was unmasked, giving Angela a better idea of what conspiracy was brewing in Tulsa.
"Six didn’t feel like a mid point," Lindelof added. "It felt like, we now know everything that we need to know to move into the endgame. And, every way that we looked at it, it felt like if we were going to do seven, eight, nine and ten, one of those episodes was going to be filler. And I was like, ‘We’re just not doing the filler episode. We know exactly what we need to do in our endgame. It’s time to start doing it. I don’t want to stall.’”
To add further context to Lindelof's decision, the writer previously said that every idea for a story that he had went into the first season, one reason why he has been cautious to say whether he will return for a second season.
“I am deeply, profoundly appreciative for how well received the season has been up until now, and I don’t want to feel like I’m ungrateful, but I still don’t have any inclination whatsoever to continue the story, and that is largely and almost exclusively based on the fact that I don’t have an idea," Lindelof said. "If I’m going to be involved in any more ‘Watchmen,’ I should be able to answer the questions, why, and why now, and the answers to those questions shouldn’t be, ‘Well because that’s what you do, because the first one was good.' I’m not saying there shouldn’t be a second season of ‘Watchmen,’ and I’m not even saying that that season shouldn’t feature some of the characters in this season of ‘Watchmen.’ I just don’t know what it should be.”
The full season of Watchmen is now streaming on HBO's on-demand offerings such as HBO Now and the HBO channel on Amazon Prime.