Is there a trailer for Watchmen?
After releasing a teaser in late May 2019, HBO finally dropped a full-length trailer for the San Diego Comic-Con crowd in July. Up until this point, audiences were given only a glimpse at the ominous group dressed as Rorschach -- real name Walter Kovacs -- and the police officers hiding behind their own yellow cowls. Now, upon closer inspection of the Watchmen trailer, it's looking like those wearing the iconic inkblot masks are not heroes -- instead, a white supremacist group known as "The Seventh Cavalry" who are using the Rorschach mask as their own symbol of hate.
Series creator Damon Lindelof explained this choice during HBO's presentation at the TCA Summer Press Tour. "What in 2019 is the equivalent of the nuclear standoff between the Americans and the Russians?" he asked, comparing the subject matter in the new series to the main conflict explored in the comics. "It is race and the police."
Of course, the world of Watchmen is different from ours in a few notable respects, and Lindelof fleshed out some of the series' mythology ahead of its premiere in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. In Watchmen, fossil fuels have been completely eliminated and all cars run on electricity or fuel cells, and that's on top of the fact that there's no internet or cell phones to speak of. More central to the plot is a piece of legislation called Victims Against Racial Violence, which provides reparations to victims and direct descendants of racial injustice in America's history through providing lifetime tax exemption. After terrorist organizations targeted police officers who protected the victims of the initial act, the government legalized police masks via the Defense of Police Act. Set in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the series addresses the history of the 1921 Tulsa Race Riots and the ways the two fictional pieces of legislation interact with the city's history.
That's a lot to chew on, even before taking into account the slew of Easter eggs and hints on full display in the trailers, including the appearance of Hooded Justice, one of the original members of the Minutemen. He shows up in what looks like a fictional made-for-TV movie, titled "American Hero Story," that may explore the lives of the original heroes.
A brief glimpse of The Tulsa Sun newspaper and its cover story titled, "Veidt Officially Declared Dead," the biggest connection comes in the form of Jeremy Irons' Adrian Veidt. In the comics, it was revealed that Veidt -- aka Ozymandias -- staged an alien invasion that caused the death of The Comedian, kicking off the whole 1986 story. A squid shower, alluding to Veidt's history with the Alien Monster, makes us certain he'll still be pulling the strings.
Hidden identities are another common theme in both of the trailers, showing both law enforcement officials, vigilantes and members of the Rorschach-themed Seventh Cavalry all hiding behind masks. The theme of duality in human nature -- light and dark, good and evil, etc. -- will surely be explored here. And we suspect the moral lines will get quite muddied.
Aside from the hint that Dr. Manhattan will be returning to earth and the quick appearance of Night Owl's Owlship, there are a few visuals that allude to Robert Redford as the sitting president, which transpired towards the original paneled story's end as well as the comic sequel, Doomsday Clock. In fact, as Lindelof revealed at the 2019 TCA Summer Press Tour, Redford has been president for years after the United States abolished presidential term limits. "One of the things we're exploring is, what would happen if a very well-intentioned white man, a liberal, was president for way too long?" Lindelof said, per The Hollywood Reporter.
The second full-length trailer more explicitly digs into the plot of the series. The police masks are a matter of protection -- under threat of being doxxed and attacked by The Seventh Cavalry, law enforcement donned masks of their own. Certain officers, like Regina King's Angela Abar and Tim Blake Nelson's Looking Glass, have more distinctive costumes than the police's stock yellow masks.
Of course, things don't work out as planned -- as seen in the trailer, The Seventh Cavalry manages to get ahold of police identities and targets their homes. On top of that, there's the series' lingering question: Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who watches the Watchmen? While the masks protect the police from being targeted, wouldn't they also make it harder to hold the police accountable?
Lindelof has somewhat addressed the issue: "If you're asking if police are presented in a heroic light, having just seen the first episode, I think the answer is almost certainly no," he said. "It is an examination of institutions and culture and politics and things that inform our society."
Then, there's the matter of FBI agent Laurie Blake, whose name is just a bit too close to that of Laurie Juspeczyk (a.k.a. Silk Spectre II and the daughter of The Comedian, Eddie Blake) to be a coincidence. Indeed, Lindelof confirmed to IGN that Blake was indeed an older Silk Spectre.
How many episodes will there be?
Season 1 of the series is nine episodes long, though at this point the series hasn't been green-lit for a second season. Lindelof isn't banking on one, focusing instead on making sure that the first season has a cohesive story. "Our job was to just deliver nine episodes that deliver a complete and total story," he said at a 2019 New York Comic Con panel.
Who are the showrunners?
Lindelof, who was behind one of HBO's best series, The Leftovers, as well as ABC's 2004 game-changer, Lost -- among a whole gang of other projects -- is spearheading Watchmen as the show's creator/writer/executive producer. He's working along with Nicole Kassell (The Woodsman, The Americans) and Stephen Williams (Lost, Westworld) who will both direct and executive produce, and Tom Spezialy (The Leftovers) and Joseph Iberti (Mr. Robot) will also executive produce.