One of the writers of the Watchmen movie revealed plans for a modern-day story with an alternate ending. David Hayter co-wrote the film and told Script Apart about some of the huge changes that occurred. Long ago, Paul Greengrass was tabbed to bring the Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons graphic novel to life. But, he departed before things got as far along as they did under Zack Snyder. In that earlier version, Nite Owl would end up saving the day by killing Ozymandias with the Owlship. Also, another big change would come from the heroes broadcasting an altered video that showed Doctor Manhattan as the one behind the attacks on major cities. If you toss in the fact that the movie would have taken place in the present-day instead of the 1980s, you’re dealing with an entirely different story.
“We knew it was going to be very difficult to do the ending of the book,” Hayter told the podcast. “Plus 9/11 had happened and I didn’t think we should have images of bodies in Times Square, I felt that was not appropriate. So that inspired me to say, people should just be blown to shadows, like the Hiroshima shadows that are painted in the comic book.”
Snyder has stepped up numerous times to defend his vision for the movie. In a previous interview, he tried to lay out his message as cleanly as possible.
“It’s just using elements that are in the comic book already, that’s the only thing I did. I would not have grabbed something from out of the air and said, ‘Oh, here’s a cool ending’ just because it’s cool,” Snyder said. “And that’s the problem with genre. That’s the problem with comic book movies and genre. And I believe that we’ve evolved — I believe that the audiences have evolved. I feel like Watchmen came out at sort of the height of the snarky Internet fanboy — like, when he had his biggest strength. And I think if that movie came out now — and this is just my opinion — because now that we’ve had Avengers and comic book culture is well established, I think people would realize that the movie is a satire. You know, the whole movie is a satire. It’s a genre-busting movie.”
“The graphic novel was written to analyze the graphic novel — and comic books and the Cold War and politics and the place that comic books play in the mythology of pop culture,” he added. “I guess that’s what I’m getting at with the end of Watchmen — in the end, the most important thing with the end was that it tells the story of the graphic novel. The morality tale of the graphic novel is still told exactly as it was told in the graphic novel — I used slightly different devices. The Gilliam version, if you look at it, it has nothing to do with the idea that is the end of the graphic novel. And that’s the thing that I would go, ‘Well, then don’t do it.’ It doesn’t make any sense.”
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