All The Details You Missed From The Teaser For HBO's Watchmen Series
The first teaser trailer for HBO's Watchmen is finally here, and we've got some questions. With a gang of vigilantes wearing Rorschach masks, the new series seems to be based around the return of superheroes–and the ensuing, potentially-apocalyptic, chaos that happens when gods from the past come back to our society.
We know Jeremy Irons is playing an aging Adrian Veidt, aka Ozymandias. We know Rorschach and the Comedian are dead–and that Doctor Manhattan left Earth at the end of the original run of comics. Damon Lindelof, who created the HBO series, has said that the new show will be the "New Testament" to Alan More and Dave Gibbons' "Old Testament." Other than that, everything is still pretty foggy. The end of the world is coming, but who's bringing it? Could Dr. Manhattan be coming back to Earth?
Here's all the details you missed in the new trailer.
The Rorschach Masks
In the graphic novel, Rorschach's iconic mask morphs into different shapes and formations throughout the pages of his tragic story. Zack Snyder took inspiration from this in his controversial 2009 film adaptation, employing computer graphics to achieve this effect.
But here, the masks do not morph. In fact, they seem very DIY. Unlike the real hero from the comics, their masks even have holes cut out for eyes. And based on all the flannel and muscular white guys in the frames (not a woman in sight), we're getting some serious alt-right vibes as well. Could Rorschach have inspired some white supremacist extremists?
The American Flag
If you're familiar with the Watchmen comics, you know that the events of Doctor Manhattan seriously f*cked up world history. America decimated the Vietnamese, Nixon ruled supreme, and a gigantic squid monster from space fully crushed New York City.
Looking closely at this dilapidated church, though, something's up with the American flag. It first appears to be torn, but on closer inspection, it's definitely a different sort of flag. There are fewer stars, and they're arranged in a circular pattern. If this is the American flag for the reality of the show, could this mean that America's geographical boundaries have been irreparably altered?
The Ozymandias character in the comics is known for his iconic yellow and purple costume. Here, it looks like the American police force is donning yellow scarves that seem reminiscent of the Ozymandias bright yellow. Based on the narration in this moment, these policemen are preparing for the return of superheroes. Adrian Veidt was a Bruce Wayne-esque mastermind in the comics, always trying to stay one step ahead of his super-powered contemporaries. It may be safe to say here that this police force is, in some way, inspired by Ozymandias.
That, or they're trying to hide their identities for some reason. Lindelof has said that the series will be inspired by modern phenomenons–perhaps police brutality is factoring into this story, with violent authorities hiding behind masks to save themselves from accountability.
Police vs Rorschachs
The voice over says "they came for all the police." We see a series of shots showing service funerals, extremist Rorschachs carrying weapons, and Regina King's mysterious new character strapping on what looks to be a police badge onto her vigilante costume. The Minutemen–Watchmen's pitch-black satire of The Justice League (or Avengers), are long gone. Their group folded even before the 1980s events of Watchmen's main storyline. But could this badge be emblematic of the Minutemen getting back together to protect policemen from these extremists? Or is the police force itself enlisting some vigilantes?
The Man With the Metallic Mask
Here's another new face. And by the way the teaser trailer is positioning him, likely not a friendly one. While the gang of Rorschachs seem to be self-run, this dude looks like a leader of something else entirely. He doesn't bear a resemblance to any Watchmen figure directly, but he's definitely got some major comic book inspiration, looking a lot like DC Comics' Black Mask, the reflective skull-wearing villain who's set to be portrayed by Ewan McGregor in the forthcoming Suicide Squad sequel.
The Killing Joke
Alan Moore didn't just write only one seminal comics masterpiece. In fact, he's behind some of the most notable graphic novels of all time, central among them, Batman: The Killing Joke, which sees Batman, at long last, (allegedly) break The Joker's neck. This frame is giving us some serious Killing Joke vibes. The majority of that story takes place in a spooky carnival where Joker has kidnapped Commissioner Gordon's daughter, torturing her, and eventually, breaking her spine, and permanently paralysing her.
Here, it seems a different massacre has occurred. Perhaps Lindelof is taking inspiration from more than just Alan Moore's work in the Watchmen universe.
Return of the Owlship
As far as we know, Dan Dreiberg, AKA Nite Owl is still alive. He was spared at the end of the Watchmen by Doctor Manhattan, though they have been assumed to be killed in the giant squid attack by Ozymandias. There's something tearing through the trees in this frame. And, looking closely, it bears a striking resemblance to Nite Owl's fancy all-terrain aircraft, the Owlship.
It seems like Nite Owl is crash landing here. Based on all the chaos in this trailer, America (and Earth) may need him, even if he has been retired for over 30 years.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk.
* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.