Damon Lindelof Begins Work On His 'Watchmen' TV Show For HBO

Earlier this year, news broke that Lost and The Leftovers co-creator Damon Lindelof was in talks with HBO to adapt Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' seminal superhero graphic novel Watchmen into a TV series. About a month later, Lindelof denied having met with HBO about the project...but now, thanks to an Instagram post from the man himself, we know that he's officially begun work on the Watchmen TV show.

Here's Lindelof's Instagram post announcing today as the first day of work on the project:

Lindelof Watchmen Insta

I've read Moore and Gibbons' graphic novel, but I'd forgotten how this statue factors in; thankfully, Uproxx is here to jog my memory:

For those unfamiliar, that's the retirement trophy given to Night Owl [sic], the WWII-era vigilante who wrote a memoir that appeared in the back pages of the original issues of Watchmen.

My recollection is that this statue isn't exactly a key element of the multi-layered story, but it's the type of prop that's perfect for, say, announcing the existence of a show on a social media platform.

HBO has been wanting to bring Watchmen to the small screen for years, even having discussions with director Zack Snyder – who directed the 2009 film adaptation – about it as recently as 2015. Lindelof is a fantastic choice to bring this story to life, because he has a knack for emotional, character-driven sagas with overarching mythologies weaved throughout them, and that's exactly what Watchmen is.

For anyone who doesn't know, Watchmen is based on original characters inspired by Charlton Comics characters and takes place in an alternate history in which costumed heroes align themselves with the government. The appearance of an all-powerful god-like figure named Dr. Manhattan allowed the U.S. to win the Vietnam War, and that leads to a dark, violent, and grim story that's structured like a murder mystery; when one of the former heroes is found dead, many of the older heroes come out of retirement to try to figure out who murdered him, culminating in a shocking climax.

One of the reasons the comic works so well is in the way it deconstructs superhero tropes, and since there have been so many more superhero properties in pop culture since Snyder made his version in 2009, maybe Lindelof will be able to tap into the zeitgeist in a way the movie couldn't quite accomplish (our current nightmarish political environment will probably help the show, too).

But another reason the comic is so successful is because it leans hard into the idea that it's a story that can only be told in comic book form, using the medium to its advantage by incorporating scraps of fictional supplemental documents like obituaries, manuscripts, and even a comic-within-a-comic called Tales of the Black Freighter, which was made into an animated film as part of a tie-in with Snyder's movie. Here's hoping Lindelof can wrangle this ambitious story into a cohesive television series. Fingers crossed he pulls this off.