Watchmen season 2

HBO’s Watchmen is off to a terrific start, thanks to showrunner Damon Lindelof taking the unusual approach of crafting a sequel to the seminal 1980s graphic novel instead of a direct adaptation of it. But it turns out the nine episodes in the first season may be all viewers get from Lindelof, because in a new interview, he indicates that if there is a Watchmen season 2, there’s a chance he could step down so a different person can tell their own story. Read his comments below.

In an interview with Paste Magazine, Lindelof says that in order for this show to feel akin to the graphic novel, the first season had to feel like a complete whole instead of an ongoing story:

“I felt that if these nine episodes end without feeling like we completed a story, in the same way that we feel that at the end of a season of Fargo or True Detective, you know, then it’s not really Watchmen. It’s just another continuing show where you have to come up with a cool cliffhanger for the finale.”

Nicole Kassell, who worked with Lindelof on The Leftovers and also directed Watchmen‘s excellent pilot episode and served as an executive producer on the new show, chimed in with her own thoughts on the future of the series, saying, “Seeing is believing, I guess. I feel like as a fan, I just can say I truly hope for more, and there’s undeniably more story that could be told. But this will be satisfying as a single season, too.”

Here’s where Lindelof indicated that he may not be up for returning for more. After Kassell’s quote, he responded:

“It’s also not my story, right? I appropriated it. And so the idea that someone else could come along and do a another season of Watchmen, that’s really exciting to me too. I would watch the fuck out of that. These nine episodes are sort of everything that I have to say at this point about Watchmen, and then we’ll kind of go from there.”

Lindelof is a massive Watchmen fan, citing it in multiple interviews over the years as one of his primary inspirations as a storyteller and a hugely important piece of media to him on a personal level as well. He’s been thinking about this property for decades (you can read this thoughts on Zack Snyder’s movie and some of his more specific thoughts about the graphic novel here), so it’s not unreasonable to think that this is the whole story he wanted to tell, the only contribution he wanted to make to the comic’s legacy. And if the rest of the season is as warmly received as the pilot, that may be another reason for him to just dust off his hands and walk away. Who wants to be the guy who comes back and screws things up when after having a chance to go out on top?

But then again, after reading a few interviews with him over the past few days, it seems like he learned a lot from his writers’ room and he really started to feel the show come to life when he stopped looking at it as his show and more like it was theirs, so perhaps that dynamic is attractive enough to return for another batch of episodes. Either way, if the show does continue past season one, I’m expecting a significant gap between seasons regardless of who’s at the helm.

When the interviewer asked if Lindelof would like to see a second season overseen by Ryan Murphy, whose American Horror Story franchise serves as the stylistic inspiration for Watchmen‘s show-within-a-show American Hero Story, Lindelof was excited at the prospect (“Oh my God. Yeah. Sign me up,”), but then offered a different suggestion for who he’d want to see take over: “Ryan Coogler’s Watchmen.”

And as much as I want to see Lindelof come back for more (at least right now, not knowing how the rest of season one plays out), I have to admit that I’m very intrigued to see what Coogler might do with this world, too. We’ll let you know as soon as HBO makes an official announcement about the show’s future.

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