watchmen set photos

Damon Lindelof‘s Watchmen TV series is currently filming, and set photos have started popping up online as a result. The set photos don’t reveal any major details about the HBO adaptation, but they do hint at a much more grounded world than you might expect.

Birth.Movies.Death. has several photos from the Macon, Georgia set of the film, which you can see here. You won’t see any costumed superheroes roaming around in these images. What you will see are a series of locations redecorated to exist within the world of the show. There are store fronts for locations called “Millennium”, “Milk & Hanoi Bakery” and “Treasure Island.” The “Treasure Island” store will be familiar to readers of the original Watchmen comic series from Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons – it’s a comic book store. Here’s a comic panel for reference.

treasure island comic book store

There’s also a pic of a gastropub named “Pale Horse.” Pale Horse is both a biblical reference – one of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse rides a pale horse – and also a reference plucked from the comic. Although in the comic, Pale Horse is a band, not a pub. Beyond that, there’s an image of some taxis done up in red, white and blue.

The most interesting pic, in my opinion at least, is a bus ad for a TV show called American Hero Story: Minutemen. This is obviously a play on American Horror Story and American Crime Story, and suggests that in this world where superheroes are a reality, their exploits have been turned into peak FX TV shows. And as the Watchmen Wiki helpfully explains to those of us who haven’t picked up the comic in a little while, “The Minutemen were the premier group of superheroes throughout the 1940s. They were founded in 1939, largely through the actions of Nelson Gardner (Captain Metropolis), Sally Jupiter (the first Silk Spectre) and Sally Jupiter’s agent Laurence Schexnayder. Schexnayder also provided the group’s publicity. After several public controversies, the group finally disbanded in 1949.”

Elsewhere on the web, images of cast members Don Johnson and Regina King have surfaced. Neither of them are in standard superhero garb, which suggests that maybe neither of them are playing superheroes, unless we’re just seeing them in their off hours.

The Don Johnson images can be seen here. They show Johnson in a police uniform (standing with other actors in police regalia), indicating he’s a member of law enforcement. Regina King’s set photos are here. King is playing the lead character in the show, and these images show her on a bridge, clearing rainwater off her car. Not very exciting, I know, but we’ll take what we can get for now.

This new take on Watchmen won’t be a direct adaptation of the comic. Instead, Lindelof calls the series a “remix”, with the story set decades after the events of the Watchmen comic. “The Comedian died. Dan and Laurie fell in love. Ozymandias saved the world and Dr. Manhattan left it just after blowing Rorschach to pieces in the bitter cold of Antarctica,” Lindelof said in a letter to fans, adding:

“Some of the [show’s] characters will be unknown..New faces. New masks to cover them. We also intend to revisit the past century of Costumed Adventuring through a surprising yet familiar set of eyes…and it is here we will be taking our greatest risks.”

So what can we learn from all these set photos? Not a whole lot. The biggest takeaway here is that the world of the show (based on these photos, at least) is a lot more grounded in reality than Zack Snyder‘s hyper-stylized Watchmen movie. Of course, we’re seeing these images before post-production, so there’s always a chance digital effects will be added to enhance the aesthetic.

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