“Nothing Ever Ends,” goes the famous Watchmen tagline.
But HBO’s Watchmen series might end sooner than fans expected.
Despite the show’s critical acclaim, showrunner Damon Lindelof currently feels … well … compacting his detailed answer into just a few words risks missing all his nuance, so perhaps it’s best to just turn the mic over to him (and don’t miss our other interview with Lindelof where he breaks down the season finale).
“I feel for someone who’s wildly inconsistent in general, I’ve been fairly consistent on this point,” Lindelof says. “When we first went public with the pilot at New York Comic-Con, I wanted to make sure that everybody who was going along for the ride knew what the design of the season was. Especially after what happened with Lost, and the way that a lot of serialized dramas unfolded, where the audience doesn’t know how thick the book is when they pick it up. This is a love letter and an examination of the original Watchmen … I wanted everyone to know this is not the middle of the trilogy, this is not the beginning of a seven-season run. In my opinion, the best iteration of any season of Watchmen would mirror the original [graphic novel] in that it would be a self-contained story with the resolution of a fundamental mystery. There’s always going to be space for more Watchmen. I feel like this world is so expansive — hopefully more expansive now than it was before. You could call something “Watchmen” and not even feature any of the characters who were in the original or in this season as long as they all occupy the same world.”
“When I first spoke to HBO about [Watchmen], I used examples like True Detective and Fargo,” Lindelof continued. “True Detective is a franchise, it has a feel and a tone. Does it need to have Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson in it to call itself True Detective? And I would argue as much as I love what [True Detective showrunner Nic Pizzolatto’s] writing, it doesn’t even need to be written by Nic, or directed by Cary Fukunaga. It’s bigger than that. And when I first heard about [FX’s Fargo series], that the Coen Brothers weren’t really involved and it was going to be [Noah Hawley’s] show, I was like, ‘How is this going to be any good? How is this going to feel like it’s the original Fargo?’ And lo and behold, that’s exactly what it was.”
“I think particularly when it comes to Watchmen or Fargo where we’re knocking the creators of the original, it’s sacrilegious and really hypocritical to say, ‘Nobody else can come along and do another season of Watchmen.’ If I was going to do another season of Watchmen, I would need to have a really cool idea and a justification for doing it. I don’t have either of those things right now. It doesn’t mean that they won’t come at some future point. I just finished the show four weeks ago. My antenna is up, but it’s like only getting static. I can’t say that there will definitely not be a second season and I can’t say there definitely will be. That’s kind of where my head’s at.”
EW then asked about the show’s actors, as what they’re told is usually a tell-tale indication of a network and/or producer’s future intent. Are the actors still being held under contract for a season 2 or have they been released to take on other projects?
“That’s an HBO/Warner Bros. question,” Lindelof replied. “That’s a good question. Contractually speaking, I don’t think it’s come up yet. I don’t know what the rules of the hold are. [Regina King] is directing a movie right now and I think will be doing so for the foreseeable future. If any of the actors wanted to do another TV show or movie, I think that they would be free to do so. We’re now basically in a realm where Jean Smart can do Legion and Watchman simultaneously if you can figure out the scheduling. It’s not like the days of Lost where it’s, ‘Sorry Matthew Fox, you’re on lockdown for six years.’ As for the writers … they’ve gone on to other things. I guess I have it in the back of my mind where if I called them up and they were available and I could be like, ‘Hey, we’re putting the gang back together for another heist, and they would be able to do it.’ But maybe I’m naive about that.”
(Sources say the deals with the show’s top actors were made for an ongoing series).
At least fans won’t be left hanging much — Sunday’s finale actually serves as a very suitable series closer and not just a season-ender. Still, Lindelof answered many of our remaining post-finale burning questions (such as — spoiler alert — What about Lube Man? And why did Dr. Manhattan allow himself to be killed?) and you can read all his answers here.