Watchmen Showrunner Damon Lindelof Explains How Origin Stories Influenced the Series

Watchmen’s Damon Lindelof revealed how the series is heavily influenced by his own experiences with origin stories. HBO posted a “Backstory” on the series with the showrunner as he told the story of his father’s formative event. The older man was a comic collector who had his entire collection thrown out as a child, and took his family to try and reform that collection years later. Lindelof looks back fondly on that day and the moment his Dad handed him Watchmen. (Which might serve as a sort of origin story for him as well.) It’s clear that these events that mold people’s lives are of interest to the HBO show. All the characters have motivations and reasons why they are trying to do what they do, good and bad. Hearing Lindelof put it all into words is very entertaining on its own. But, the animation from Studio Showoff and director Ivan Dixon adds a whole bunch of charm.

“I expected there to be some grandiose celebration… But, life just kind of went on. So, now it’s 1986, I’m 13 years old. My parents have gotten divorced. My dad has had his own place for about three years now. And by that point, he had amassed thousands of other comic books. In addition to his original collection. And so, I’m staying at my dad’s place. He comes up to me, and he hands me these two comic books. And he says, ‘You’re not ready for this.’ And then he just walks away mysteriously.”

“I just could, kind of, feel them crackling in my hands. Almost like they had some sort of charge. These comics looked unlike any comics that I had ever seen before. And my Dad was right, I was not ready for it. I think that my dad wanted to have a friend that he could talk about this thing that he loved with. And so, we treated Watchmen almost like Talmudic scholars. Every single character in Watchmen has an origin story. And it is explained to us why they do what they do. Why they turned out the way that they turned out. And so, I knew that I couldn’t do justice to this incredible piece of culture and writing that inspired me as a kid if it wasn’t about origin stories. So, I wanted to take the same approach. I wanted to, for lack of a worse pun, show what made people tick, tock…

The showrunner has been asked about making another season of the critically acclaimed show numerous times since the first salvo of episodes ended. But, he’s adamant that it’s “someone else’s turn to dance.”


"It's not even about being tapped out, it's more about me wanting to honor what Watchmen was before I became a part of it," Lindelof said. "The legacy of Watchmen is Alan [Moore] and Dave [Gibbons] created it and it sat for 30 years, obviously Zack [Snyder] made his movie which was a pretty canonical adaptation of the 12 issues, and then we made our season of television. That was my turn. I got in the middle of the dance floor for a minute and got to do my move, but then you retreat to the edge of the circle and it's someone else’s turn to dance.”

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