HBO Will Release Series to Challenge the MCU & Disney+

With Disney+ coming soon — and set to inundate MCU enthusiasts with content spanning across their favorite comic book characters — the streaming platform has virtually cornered the market on superhero TV. While Netflix boasts The Umbrella Academy and the CW retains its set of easily digestible superhero stories, Disney+ will be on a different level — with silver screen supers set to steal the small screen. 

HBO vs MCU
HBO | Photo by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

From WandaVision and Hawkeye to She-Hulk, Ms. Marvel, and Falcon and the Winter Soldier, fans will be able to endlessly binge these shows, jumping from one to the next, as they follow multiple interweaving narratives, all contributing to what’s destined to become the most impactful cross-conversation between cinema and home-entertainment ever. 

Will Disney+ become the new Netflix; will Amazon prime and Hulu suffer under the weight of unsurmountable competition? Maybe, but there’s one premium channel taking a significant stand — with a superhero soiree all its own.

HBO is currently developing a series, set to premiere in October that, if executed with finesse, may take some superhero spotlight from the media behemoth that is Marvel. The question is: who will be watching the Watchmen?

Can HBO’s ‘Watchmen’ combat Marvel’s Avengers: DCEU vs. MCU?

Watchmen will premiere on HBO in October and, if executed well, fans of the graphic novel will issue an audible sigh of relief. Back in 2009, Watchmen hit the silver screen with a cast including Patrick Wilson (The Conjuring), Carla Gugino (The Haunting of Hill House), Billy Crudup (Where’d You Go Bernadette), and Jackie Earl Haley (Alita: Battle Angel, The Bad News Bears). While the movie was visually stunning, the complex narrative and intricate structure failed to transfer well to the screen. Though successful overall, it was a bit hard to follow. 

With an entire Watchmen series, HBO will be able to deliver the graphic novel’s narrative intricacies across several episodes, hopefully laying a solid foundation, as opposed to squeezing multiple complexities into a drawn-out 3 hours and 35 minutes. 

For those of you who did not watch the movie, and aren’t graphic novel and/or comic book aficionados, here’s the lowdown. First off, if successful, HBO will not only rival some of Marvel’s superhero content, the premium channel will do so with DC source material, satisfying DCEU fans who condemn the superiority complex some MCU fans have developed. 

Taking place after the events of the graphic novel, Watchmen will occur during a period of civil unrest, as costumed vigilantes emerge in greater than normal frequency. A domestic terrorist group, known as the Seventh Cavalry, wages war on the police; the cops, fed up with the group’s actions, decide to put on their own masks to retaliate. In this alternate world, Robert Redford has been president since 1992, and Americans are still obsessed with heroes from decades past. 

While the series will be setting its own course, and straying from comic book canon, it will retain the novel’s dark and gritty undertone. This is not a Marvel story; it’s far too sexual, violent, and psychologically taxing for that. With a strong narrative in place — one that will likely ask viewers to reflect on society and contemporary culture — all the show needs now is a solid cast, and boy does it have one. 

Regina King, Jeremy Irons, Don Johson, Tim Blake Nelson, Adelaide Clemens, and more are all set to take the reigns, with a large focus on King — a cop who dons a mask at night. Be sure to give this one a chance, as the cast alone is worth watching.  Will it rival the MCU’s top talent? All remains to be seen.