‘Watchmen’ Creator Damon Lindelof Was Convinced Everyone Would Hate the Show After Episode 2

Watchmen was one of the most popular television shows on HBO, but creator Damon Lindelof feared people would hate it after the second episode. Damon Lindelof, the creator of Lost, was used to having early success only to see it fail as it continued. Lost was one of the highest-rated shows on television, but the ending disappointed many of its core fans at the end. Lindelof did not want to face that all again.

Watchmen was going to be risky as it was not a typical superhero television program. It dealt with topics that America is still coming to terms with, including racism, the role of the police in society, and possibly political scandal. But Lindelof’s project showed that America was more mature than he feared and was ready to face that there is still racism in the country.

Regina King and Damon Lindelof smiling in front of a 'Watchmen' logo
(L-R) Regina King and Damon Lindelof | Leon Bennett/Getty Images

Why was Lindelof nervous ‘Watchmen’ would be hated after episode two?

Lindelof told Variety that he was nervous as he waited to speak at the New York Comic-Con He had shown the show’s pilot and gotten a good response. He then took questions on the show during the convention’s panel. He explained that he was shifting focus from the ’80s fear of nuclear annihilation to our current major problem: race relations.

He felt he made a good connection with the fans and that they were ready to go along with his vision, but he still couldn’t shake the feeling that something would go wrong. Lindelof said, “I was intensely afraid that they would watch the second episode and start hating it.” He knew the show was experimental, and he knew it would be controversial. He had faith in the product, but he wasn’t sure the US was ready to accept the show’s vision. 

Comic book fans are notoriously difficult to please, and Lindelof would be changing the canon of a revered source. He’d be revealing who Hooded Justice was and greatly aging the main characters from the comic book. He was not sure the fans would accept the change he wanted to make to the source material.

How did the memory of ‘Lost’ affect how he felt about ‘Watchmen’?

Lindelof had learned many lessons from Lost, but one of the biggest ones is that although the fans may start on your side, they would not necessarily stay there. Lost was one of the most popular television shows of its time. Still, it will largely be remembered for its unpopular ending than its groundbreaking television, and Lindelof was nervous that Watchmen would suffer the same fate.

Cinema Blend explained how he’d be filming Watchmen and Lost in similar ways:

“First, the idea of nonlinear storytelling. Then, in [the comics], there is Doctor Manhattan, who experiences time all at once. The idea of the island moving through time was hatched out of Watchmen. Also, the Lost episodic construct of [focusing on one character’s story came] from the Watchmen model of each issue focusing on one character.”

Lindelof was nervous as he was creating Watchmen that, once again, fans would reject his vision. That his non-linear storytelling and controversial themes would, once again, not resonate with his audience. Luckily, Lindelof did not need to be worried as Watchmen was an extraordinary hit, but that did not mean he was not anxious about his pet project.

Will there be a second season of ‘Watchmen’?

Watchmen was a rating hit and extremely popular with the fans but, Lindelof says that he does not imagine a season two. Lindelof feels that he would need to have a story he wanted to tell in that same universe and lacks inspiration. However, this is the world of comic books, and Lindelof makes it clear that if he can think of a story that needs to be told in the Watchmen universe, he’d be happy to pick up the camera again.

RELATED: ‘Watchmen’ Showrunner Has the Perfect Idea for Christian Bale’s Fourth ‘Dark Knight’ Movie