Watchmen Star Yahya Abdul-Mateen II Confirms He Had No Idea He Was Doctor Manhattan

Throughout the past handful of episodes, HBO's Watchmen has introduced various characters from deep within the established Watchmen comics mythos. That includes the glowing blue god Doctor Manhattan, as previously teased in teaser trailers and episode previews. Before we get too far, full disclosure: spoilers up ahead for some big Watchmen twists! Proceed with caution if you have yet to play catch up.

Last week ended with Angela Abar (Regina King) seemingly killing her husband Cal, only for his corpse to start radiating a blue hue. Confirmed by tonight's episode, Cal (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) is actually Doctor Manhattan, who's been posing as a human for the safety of humanity. Now the cat's out of the bag, many involved with the production of the show have started speaking about the massive twist. In one recent interview, Abdul-Mateen II didn't even know he was going to end up playing the iconic comic character.

"I went into it not knowing I was playing Dr. Manhattan," the actor revealed to EW. "I went into it knowing I was playing Cal. He did say it would be a good role and worthwhile, so I thought maybe Cal would go on some type of adventure, but I never imagined it turning into something like this."

It was once the first episode had been filmed Watchmen showrunner Damon Lindelof pulled the actor aside to inform him of the impending twist. "Somewhere between the second and third episodes, I had another conversation with him where he wanted to talk to me more about Cal’s journey and I came to his office and sat down on the couch," Abdul-Mateen II continued. "I think his words were, 'Cal is Dr. Manhattan.' We had a long conversation about what that meant. I remember being on the couch and keeping it cool."

He added, "He was very relaxed and matter of fact and that’s how I was receiving the information on the outside. But on the inside I was tearing up the room, I was all over the place. I couldn’t believe that I was going to be the person embodying Dr. Manhattan. I said, 'I guess I got to get in shape.'"

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Lindelof himself previously said he thought of the twist from a fan perspective, saying the character was necessary in a show donning the iconic Watchmen name. "I started this whole journey from the perspective of a fan — what would I have to see in a television show daring to call itself Watchmen? Dr. Manhattan was near the top of that list," the writer said.

The season finale of Watchmen airs on HBO next Sunday, December 15th beginning at 9/8 p.m. Central.

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