'Watchmen' Videos Tease The Black Freighter, The Show's Alternate America Setting, And More

Showrunner Damon Lindelof (Lost, The Leftovers) is bringing an all-new version of Watchmen to life for HBO later this year. It's not a direct adaptation of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' seminal graphic novel, but a sequel of sorts that picks up the story 30 years later.

We've seen a couple of extremely brief glimpses of footage from the new show in sizzle reels and the occasional Instagram post, and now there are three new equally brief Watchmen videos which give us some hints about what we can expect from Lindelof's take on this superhero story.

Watchmen Videos

This shot seems to indicate that The Black Freighter will factor into this story somehow. Tales of the Black Freighter was a comic within Moore and Gibbons' original comic. Wikipedia has a concise synopsis:

In "Marooned", a young mariner (called "The Sea Captain") journeys to warn his hometown of the coming of The Black Freighter, after he survives the destruction of his own ship. He uses the bodies of his dead shipmates as a makeshift raft. When he finally returns home, believing it to be already under the occupation of The Black Freighter's crew, he kills an innocent couple and then attacks his own wife in their darkened home, mistaking her for a pirate. After realizing what he has done, he returns to the seashore, where he finds that The Black Freighter has not come to claim the town; it has come to claim him. He swims out to sea and climbs aboard the ship.

Years after Watchmen's original publication, Moore explained how he thinks Tales of The Black Freighter relates to the larger story:

"I mean yes, it eventually does end up being the story of Adrian Veidt but there's points during the pirate narrative [where] it relates to Rorschach and his capture; it relates to the self-marooning of Dr. Manhattan on Mars; it can be used as a counterpoint to all these different parts of the story."

We know that an older version of Adrian Veidt will be in this show, as played by actor Jeremy Irons. Perhaps that connection will be drawn this time as well. And maybe, instead of The Black Freighter being a comic book inside of a comic book, it will be a TV show or movie within this new TV show.

This visual and the caption's invocation of Mars makes us instantly think about Doctor Manhattan, the only character in the original Watchmen who possessed literal superpowers. (In a classic comic origin story, the physicist gained his powers after being disintegrated during a laboratory accident.) The Watchmen graphic novel ends with Doctor Manhattan leaving Earth on a hunt for "a galaxy less complicated than this one," but does this short video indicate that he might still be alive and have a role to play in this story?

And finally, this last shot confirms that the show takes place in an alternate version of America, one in which our flag's design has clearly been altered. But take note of the person standing in the bottom left corner of the frame, too. He's just standing in a suburban street, creepily not moving. Wonder what his deal is?

Set in an alternate history where "superheroes" are treated as outlaws, this drama series from executive producer Damon Lindelof embraces the nostalgia of the original groundbreaking graphic novel of the same name while attempting to break new ground of its own. The cast includes: Regina King, Jeremy Irons, Don Johnson, Jean Smart, Tim Blake Nelson, Louis Gossett Jr., Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Andrew Howard, Tom Mison, Frances Fisher, Jacob Ming-Trent, Sara Vickers and Dylan Schombing. Produced for HBO by White Rabbit in association with Warner Bros. Television, based on characters from DC; executive producer/writer Damon Lindelof; executive producer/pilot director, Nicole Kassell; executive producer, Tom Spezialy; executive producer/director, Stephen Williams; executive producer, Joseph Iberti.

Watchmen debuts sometime in 2019.