By Nick Romano
July 20, 2019 at 03:08 PM EDT
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The streets are in shambles. Confetti, party streamers, and plastic cups litter what seems like the remains of a celebration. A man walking along the road, fitted in an impeccable suit, stops to observe a discarded blue mask. He reaches for it, revealing his blue skin. And there’s one person who most comes to mind in the world of Watchmen with blue skin.

HBO’s latest Watchmen trailer, a dramatic look at Damon Lindelof‘s upcoming series adaptation, debuts fan favorite Doctor Manhattan.

Portrayed in Zack Snyder’s 2009 movie by actor Billy Crudup, the god-like entity once went by the name of Dr. Jonathan Osterman, a nuclear physicist. After an experiment gone wrong, he came back as a being bathed in blue, glowing energy with seemingly limitless powers to manipulate the world around him.

There are still a lot of questions about how (and when) the world in Lindelof’s Watchmen operates, but news footage sees Doctor Manhattan flaunting his abilities on the planet Mars. This is where Regina King‘s character, reportedly named Angela Abar, says he’s been living. Only now, it would appear he’s back on earth.

HBO

The Watchmen trailer also reveals additional clues about the plot to this story, featuring Jeremy Irons (reportedly playing an older version of comic character Ozymandias), Don Johnson, Jean Smart, Tim Blake Nelson, and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II.

In events that appear to postdate Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ graphic novel, a group of masked vigilantes, all wearing ink-blot face masks reminiscent of yet another familiar Watchmen character, Rorschach, attacked cops in Tulsa, Okla., in a coordinated attack. Now the police force must wear masks in order to hide their identities (and their families’).

In another big surprise, Jean Smart reveals her character to be F.B.I. agent Laurie Blake. Might this be an older version of Laurie Juspeczyk, the superhero known as Silk Spectre, as played by Malin Ackerman in Snyder’s movie? Juspeczyk’s father was Eddie Blake (a.k.a. The Comedian). Perhaps this is Laurie now taking her biological father’s last name in her later years? Just something to think about as we continue to unpack this mystery box.

More hints come as we see King, blurring the lines between cop and vigilante, speaking with a mysterious man who would like to go by the name Doctor Manhattan. “There’s a vast and insidious conspiracy at play,” he says. “If I told you about it, your head would explode.”

Watchmen doesn’t have a formal panel at Comic-Con this year, but it does have an activation with “a surprise in-world opportunity” in the Gaslamp Quarter. So, for now, we’ll have to keep guessing.

Louis Gossett Jr., Hong Chau, Andrew Howard, Tom Mison, Frances Fisher, Jacob Ming-Trent, Sara Vickers, Dylan Schombing, and James Wolk also feature in the series, which premieres on HBO this October.

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