It’s been nearly three years since Watchmen, HBO’s acclaimed sequel to the original graphic novel, finished its run. Created by Lost veteran Damon Lindelof, the live-action series took place 34 years after the events Alan Moore’s seminal masterpiece, and served to explore similar themes as the 1986 classic in the modern world. Since its release, Moore has remained mostly quiet about the continuation of his world. The creative has a long history of disliking adaptations of his work, and in a recent interview with GQ, he revealed that HBO’s Watchmen did nothing to change this.
As a disclaimer, Moore confirmed that he has not actually seen the series, which starred Regina King in the lead role. He explained:
I would be the last person to want to sit through any adaptations of my work. From what I’ve heard of them, it would be enormously punishing. It would be torturous, and for no very good reason.Alan Moore
According to Moore, showrunner Lindelof sent him a letter during the show’s production in which he stated – “Dear Mr. Moore, I am one of the bastards currently destroying ‘Watchmen.’” The comment was possibly in reference to the aforementioned idea that Moore does not like seeing his writing adapted, but even if it was made in jest, it didn’t sit well with the V For Vendetta creator. He claimed that the letter resulted in him telling Lindelof and the folks at Warner Bros. not to contact him again:
That wasn’t the best opener. It went on through a lot of, what seemed to me to be, neurotic rambling. ‘Can you at least tell us how to pronounce “Ozymandias”? I got back with a very abrupt and probably hostile reply telling him that I’d thought that Warner Bros. were aware that they, nor any of their employees, shouldn’t contact me again for any reason.Alan Moore
Moore elaborated to GQ that he was upset by Watchmen using his characters and concepts to tell its own story, and that he wanted to disown the series so it wouldn’t be associated with him in the minds of viewers:
I explained that I had disowned the work in question, and partly that was because the film industry and the comics industry seemed to have created things that had nothing to do with my work, but which would be associated with it in the public mind. I said, ‘Look, this is embarrassing to me. I don’t want anything to do with you or your show. Please don’t bother me again.’Alan Moore
HBO’s Watchmen had a heavy focus on white supremacy in the United States, something that wasn’t present in Moore’s comics. The writer continued to explain that he was mortified by the show’s success, worried that it may come to replace his work as the definitive version of Watchmen going forward, despite – in his words – not fully representing the message of the franchise:
When I saw the television industry awards that the ‘Watchmen’ television show had apparently won, I thought, ‘Oh, god, perhaps a large part of the public, this is what they think “Watchmen” was?’ They think that it was a dark, gritty, dystopian superhero franchise that was something to do with white supremacism,” Moore said. “Did they not understand ‘Watchmen’? ‘Watchmen’ was nearly 40 years ago and was relatively simple in comparison with a lot of my later work. What are the chances that they broadly understood anything since? This tends to make me feel less than fond of those works. They mean a bit less in my heart.Alan Moore
HBO’s Watchmen is currently available in full on HBO Max, while Moore’s graphic novel can be found online or in comic stores around the globe.