Watchmen Showrunner Explains Why the HBO Series Had to Tackle Racism in America (Exclusive)

HBO's Watchmen series isn't just a follow up to the iconic comic book series of the same name from writer Alan Moore, artist Dave Gibbons, and colorist John Higgins. The series is its own unique tale, one that examines the difficult subject of racism in America as it explores an America 30 years after the events of the comic book. From the series opening moments centering around the 1921 Tulsa Massacre, Watchmen doesn't shy away from America's story of brutal inequality. In a recent interview with ComicBook.com, showrunner Damon Lindelof why it's a story that the series had to take on.

"I think that it sort of all comes back to what I believed and what many of the people who worked on the show believe Watchmen to be," Lindelof said. "I think as a huge fan of comic books my entire life, the reason that... I was around 13 years old was that it was the first comic book that dealt with what we would call here in the real world actual historical events. If you take Superman or Batman or The Flash or Green Lantern or any of the DC characters, they all occupy fictional places like Metropolis or Gotham City or Central City, et cetera. Certainly, the Marvel Universe incorporates New York City, but the idea of dealing with actual presidents like Nixon or the Vietnam War or the assassination of JFK, those are all things that don't really exist in comic books, but yet existed in Watchmen."

He continued, "When I was first contemplating what the world of Watchmen would like 30 years after the events of what happened in the '80s, it felt like it was really important to acknowledge that although watchmen was alt-history, what's happening in our real history. Instead of saying 'Here's what's happening in our version of 2019 or our contemporary history, let's look back into the past,' because I always considered Watchmen was a century story. It takes place in the 1930s and early '40s."

He also explained that telling the very real-world story of Watchmen with any authenticity made diversity in the show's cast, writers' room and production so important.

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"To your point about the diversity and inclusion of acknowledging that I'm a white guy, I'm like, I'm not going to be able to tell this story with any real degree of authenticity until I a) education myself, but b) allow others to tell it," he said. "This isn't about them telling me how to tell it. I have to kind of create a platform for them to tell it. This sort of combined with my recent discovery of the 1921 massacre of Greenwood, the black Wall Street, and that had a feeling to me like it was in the parlance of comic book language."

Watchmen will be available on Blu-ray starting June 2nd, you can watch it all now on the newly launched HBO Max.

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