Three months after the end of The Leftovers, Damon Lindelof has confirmed that he’s adapting Watchmen for HBO.
Lindelof on Tuesday posted a photo of a statue of Hollis Mason with the inscription “In Gratitude.” This statue is seen on the cover of Watchmen‘s eighth chapter. A miniature version of it is pictured in a writer’s room in Lindelof’s photo, and he indicates in the caption that today is his first day of work on the show.
It was reported back in June that Damon Lindelof was going to adapt Watchmen for HBO as his next project. At the time, The Hollywood Reporter quoted sources as saying that the project was in early development stages. But Lindelof subsequently said that he actually hadn’t talked to HBO about Watchmen yet.
“All I can say at this time is, I haven’t had any meetings with HBO about Watchmen,” he said. “I’ve been very vocal about my love for those 12 issues that eventually became a graphical novel. They were completely and totally inspiring for all the storytelling I did subsequently, and that I owe a debt to. Is that a piece of material that’s really interesting to me? Yes, but I feel I have to weigh the balance of should it exist before I decide to take it on. I’m sort of in that process now.”
Lindelof was acting fairly cagey in that interview, though, and so it sounds like he might have just not yet had a deal in place and didn’t want to say anything until he had officially signed with HBO.
The 44-year-old Lost and The Leftovers showrunner has previously discussed the fact that he is a huge fan of Watchmen, having read it one issue at a time back in 1986 when he was 13 years old.
“My dad and I would buy it at Forbidden Planet on Broadway in Manhattan,” Lindelof told Comic Book Resources in 2009. “And on the floor of my bedroom in his place (my folks were divorced at that point) I put each issue face down in order to slowly build the clock puzzle.”
Lindelof also told Entertainment Weekly back in 2005 that in his opinion, Watchmen is “the greatest piece of popular fiction ever produced.”
The last we saw of Watchmen on screen was in 2009, when Zack Snyder directed a film adaptation of the comic book. This 163-minute version was fairly faithful to the source material, although there were some limitations considering it was being adapted as a movie. Lindelof himself has said he was relatively happy with this version.
“I think that Zack Snyder made the best possible movie adaptation considering the fact that he was really out to not revise things, the fans really wanted a literal adaptation,” Lindelof said in 2009. “That’s exactly what he delivered. He delivered that with an incredible amount of grace and skill. But I think that, for those of us who basically said “How do you do Watchmen in a two and a half hour movie?” He has now answered: “This is how”. You just have to kind of leave it at that. Over time, I think history will basically tell whether the movie was brilliant or less than, but all I can say is how incredibly impressed I personally watching what Zack had accomplished.”
Damon Lindelof served as showrunner on Lost for six years before transitioning into film work on movies like Prometheus and Tomorrowland. He returned to television in 2014 with The Leftovers, an adaptation of Tom Perrotta book of the same name. Though the ratings were never particularly great, The Leftovers was praised by critics, and its final season was widely considered to be a masterpiece.