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Damon Lindelof Has Some Choice Words for Alan Moore’s Disinterest in His Watchmen Show on HBO

Who watches the Watchmen writers?

A cult dedicated to Rorschach menaces the country in the new teaser for Watchmen.

For those of us excited for Damon Lindelof and HBO’s upcoming Watchmen series, let’s not get our hopes up that original co-creator Alan Moore is involved. Lindelof has made it clear that, despite personal efforts to reach out and explain the show to him, Moore wants nothing to do with the series.

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“I don’t think that I’ve made peace with it,” Lindelof said at the Television Critics Association, as reported by Entertainment Weekly. “Alan Moore is a genius, in my opinion, the greatest writer in the comic medium and maybe the greatest writer of all time. He’s made it very clear that he doesn’t want to have any association or affiliation with Watchmen ongoing and that we not use his name to get people to watch it, which I want to respect.”

“As someone whose entire identity is based around a very complicated relationship with my dad, who I constantly need to prove myself to and never will, Alan Moore is now that surrogate … I do feel like the spirit of Alan Moore is a punk rock spirit, a rebellious spirit, and that if you would tell Alan Moore, a teenage Moore in ’85 or ’86, ‘You’re not allowed to do this because Superman’s creator or Swamp Thing’s creator doesn’t want you to do it,’ he would say, ‘F— you, I’m doing it anyway.’ So I’m channeling the spirit of Alan Moore to tell Alan Moore, ‘F— you, I’m doing it anyway,'” he joked before saying that quote was clickbait.

So no, technically Lindelof did not tell Moore to fuck off, though … oh, to be a fly on that wall if he had. Instead, he’s taking a rather Moore-esque approach, though it does open the door to discussions about what to do when a creator publicly distances themselves from adaptations of their work.

Authors have a right to be publicly dismissive of adaptations of their work that they are not a fan of. Rick Riordan, author of the Percy Jackson series, famously speaks out about how Hollywood butchered his books. Moore famously asked for his name to be scrubbed from Zack Snyder’s 2009 adaptation of Watchmen and for his share of the profits to go to Watchmen co-creator Dave Gibbons. It’s worth noting that Moore’s name is absent from press materials for the show, and that Gibbons’ name is the only one listed.

Moore famously said about the adaptation of V For Vendetta, which might be the most successful adaptation of his work to date, that the graphic novel was about fascism and anarchy, and “Those words, ‘fascism’ and ‘anarchy,’ occur nowhere in the film. It’s been turned into a Bush-era parable by people too timid to set a political satire in their own country.”

“As long as I could distance myself by not seeing them, enough to keep them separate, take the option money, I could be assured no one would confuse the two. This was probably naïve on my part,” Moore told CBR. However, he also expressed a dislike of cinema as it currently stands and said that when Constantine was adapted, he asked for his name to be removed from the project and the money to be given to the artists.

As I said above, there is something a bit Moore-esque about telling Moore to fuck off and doing his own thing anyway. From the trailers, it seems as though Lindelof and his writing staff have created something fascinating that holds true to the original in certain ways (the idea of a violent cult of white men worshipping the image of Rorschach is probably the only way to adapt Rorschach for a modern era). However, it’s a little less punk to be making a remix/sequel to a graphic novel in the modern era, when everything is a reboot or remake or sequel.

Hopefully, the series will prove to be a positive quasi-adaptation of Moore’s work, rather than the mixed to disastrous previous adaptations. If not, Moore will have the last laugh, ultimately.

(via Entertainment Weekly, image: HBO)

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Kate Gardner
Kate (they/them) says sorry a lot for someone who is not sorry about the amount of strongly held opinions they have. Raised on a steady diet of The West Wing and classic film, they are now a cosplayer who will fight you over issues of inclusion in media while also writing coffee shop AU fanfic for their favorite rare pairs.

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