The future of HBO’s critically-acclaimed Watchmen is uncertain, but perhaps not as settled as one might think.
News broke yesterday from USA Today, trumpeting that “HBO won’t pursue a second season of Watchmen after creator bows out.” This is … not entirely accurate. Let’s break it down:
As part of HBO’s appearance at the TCA Winter tour, HBO programming chief Casey Bloys spoke to USA Today, and other publications, and said to USA Today of a second season: “It’s really in Damon’s thinking about what he wants to do. If there’s an idea that excited him about another season, another installment, maybe like a ‘Fargo,’ ‘True Detective’ (anthology) take on it, or if he wants to do something different altogether. We’re very proud of ‘Watchmen,’ but what I’m most interested in what Damon wants to do.”
The idea that HBO is waiting for showrunner Damon Lindelof to think of something is consistent with what Bloys told other outlets, like The Hollywood Reporter in a different interview: “I think Damon did a brilliant job. It is so much from his brain — obviously I know there was the underlying IP — but the reinvention and the world is so much from his brain that it’s hard to imagine somebody else doing it…Not to say it can’t be done, but right now I’m just giving Damon the time he needs to think about what he wants to do, creatively, next.”
Both of these quotes show that HBO is waiting for a decision from Lindelof. Here’s where it gets murky. USA Today reports that: “Lindelof told USA TODAY this week that he’s told the story he wants to tell and has no interest in a second season, though he’s “given my blessing” to HBO should it want to pursue a new installment with another writer-producer.”
USA Today is jumping to conclusions here. This isn’t an official statement from Lindelof about him not wanting to do season two. It’s not even a complete statement. And the idea that Lindeloff is done sounds like it’s news to HBO, since Bloys was talking about the possibility of season two. It would be extremely strange if Lindelof gave the official news to USA Today before he gave it to his bosses at HBO.
Two Watchmen writers took to Twitter to seemingly confirm, or at least commiserate on this news.
Actually, some things *do* end, and that’s okay. https://t.co/JuzzPIYxL5
— Lila Byock (@LByock) January 16, 2020
Watchmen is one of the highlights of my professional life and I will miss it and I think this is a good decision by Damon. https://t.co/XuCnGhkAa7?
— Cord Jefferson (@cordjefferson) January 16, 2020
But Casey Bloys himself had a different take, tweeting an article from Decider with a pretty clear message:
— Casey Bloys (@Caseybloys) January 17, 2020
It would be extremely bad if USA jumped the gun on this and in doing so made people assume they had lost a job, along with calling the death of a beloved series too early. But I think that’s what they did.
Lindelof has been open about the fact that Watchmen could be a one season and done series, and that he as someone who adapted the original material is comfortable with someone doing the same, but he’s also stated that he’s open to doing season two if the right idea comes to him. He told Vanity Fair right after the finale that he was taking time to rest and “…when I show back up in January, hopefully the antenna will be back up again. If it receives something that feels like it could be a another season of Watchmen, I would definitely be inclined to pursue it. There is no guarantee of if and when that’ll happen.”
This is consistent with what Lindelof also told Variety: “I’m going to put up my antenna, see if it’s receiving anything. If it’s not receiving anything in a reasonable period of time — and I’ll just say off the top of my head, it feels completely and totally arbitrary, but like a couple of months doesn’t feel unreasonable, you know, January, February, maybe March — then I think we move on to your question, which is, if not me, then who?”
So … nothing has changed. Lindelof is just finishing up a well-deserved vacation with his family, and who knows if or when he’ll be struck with inspiration. We sincerely hope he does, because while Watchmen’s first season was a perfect, precise object, there are still many stories to tell in that world. What’s sad here is that USA Today jumped to a conclusion that wasn’t there and caused a lot of turmoil doing so.
It may well be that Lindelof is done with Watchmen and HBO won’t pursue a second season without him, but it’s far too early in the process to say if that’s certain. These shows take time and we’re willing to wait for another thermodynamic miracle like Watchmen‘s first season, but we do hope it happens. And that hope isn’t gone.
(ivia: USA Today, Image: HBO)
Want more stories like this? Become a subscriber and support the site!
—The Mary Sue has a strict comment policy that forbids, but is not limited to, personal insults toward anyone, hate speech, and trolling.—
Have a tip we should know? email@example.com