Although the Watchmen panel itself didn’t yield many answers as to what would be happening with all of the extra footage being shot for Watchmen, such as the Black Freighter comic book and various text essays from the graphic novel, Zack Snyder did end up revealing his current game plan later on in the day at the Entertainment Weekly Visionaries session.
It was already announced that there would be an animated Black Freighter movie being released around the time when Watchmen hits cinemas, but apparently the extent of its involvement in the Watchmen mythology won’t end there. Snyder made mention that they’ve also filmed the transitions featured in the graphic novel that take the main storyline into the Freighter comic. So even though those wouldn’t be a part of the theatrical cut, they would show up the “super duper director’s cut,” as would the other creations they’ve been working on.
Being that the film is already running at about 3 hours, and Warner Bros. wants to cut it down to 2 and a half, this makes me wonder if they’ll actually be releasing two different director’s cuts: one with the original cut of the film, and one with the extended new cut. If that were the case, that would mean the extended version would probably be running at about 5 hours or more. As much as I love all things Watchmen related, that does not sound ideal. I would love to see Snyder’s full 3 hour cut, but adding in more content beyond that seems excessive. I understand the desire to incorporate the outside footage, but I don’t want to see the flow of the storyline get repeatedly chopped up by hopping between that and stuff that’s only thematically related. I assume it’s issues like these that made creator Alan Moore claim the graphic novel was unfilmable. Some of the things he did with the comic are things you just cannot translate straight to a movie. Which isn’t to say I’m not excited to see the extra footage; I just think the segments will operate more smoothly as its own entity.
When asked about the running time debacle, Snyder had this to say:
“I want to make the best movie I can. I want to put pressure on myself as a filmmaker and say, “What’s the coolest movie?” And if the coolest movie is 3-hours long then that’s the coolest movie. I understand and respect my partners at Warner Bros. I want them to have financial success with the film. You know, when you look at it that way, they invested a lot of money into it, they want it to be good. But on the other hand, I would tell them that I think the very things they think are too long, or too violent, or too sexy are the very reasons to go to the movie.”
Snyder was also quick to point out a noticeable development since the release of the film’s trailer.
“[The graphic novel] is #1 or #2 on Amazon right now, and that’s awesome. I think that if in the end the movie is a 3-hour advertisement for the book, then so be it. I succeeded.”