‘Watchmen’ Artist Helped Zack Snyder Envision New Ending

Dave Gibbons says he's 'very relaxed' about film's departure from graphic novel.

We’ve spoken to the director and the stars — hell, we’ve even spoken to Lee Iacocca! But it feels like one key “Watchmen” voice has been missing from MTV’s countdown to the movie — and, as we all know, Alan Moore ain’t talking.

We were just as eager to sit down with Dave Gibbons, Moore’s legendary collaborator on “Watchmen.” The comic book artist has since tackled classic characters such as Green Lantern and Superman and is happy to play good cop to Moore’s grumpy grandfather. Gibbons was eager to talk to us about the movie, the madness and where it all began:

MTV: What was it like to finally see the “Watchmen” movie, 23 years after you and Alan created the comics?

Dave Gibbons: It was completely surreal. When you draw a comic book, you see a movie in your head. You watch the action, you freeze it, you think, “Yeah, that’s the frame we’re gonna draw.” So, when you see the movie, it’s like that — except it’s really happening, and everybody else is watching the movie as well.

MTV: How much new stuff did you contribute to the movie?

Gibbons: I gave them notes on an early draft of the script. I did some storyboarding for Zack. There’s a scene in the movie that isn’t in the graphic novel, and Zack wanted to see what it would have looked like if I had drawn it in the graphic novel — so I drew it as three pages of “Watchmen.” I even got John Higgins — the original colorist — to color it.

MTV: The scene that you drew, was that the controversial new ending ?

Gibbons: It was. Yeah, I drew the squid-less ending.

MTV: What did you think about it?

Gibbons: What did I think about the squid-less ending? Well, I’m very relaxed about it. Alfred Hitchcock used to call things like the squid a MacGuffin — they’re the thing, the device, that drives it, the gimmick. But they could be anything, in a way. … The ending [Zack Snyder] put on is a different MacGuffin, but what I particularly like is it tied back into the story — it’s not like, “Take that out, and slice something else in.” It actually brings together threads that are in [either version of] the story.

MTV: Do you think Alan will secretly go and watch the movie?

Gibbons: Well, Alan has said that he doesn’t want to see the movie, so who am I to doubt that? But the influence of [the ad campaign] is impossible to escape. At the little place I live at in England, there’s movie magazines in the little corner shop with “Watchmen” pictures of Dr. Manhattan. But Alan’s a man of principle. It certainly isn’t my place to phone him up and go, “You’ve gotta see it, Alan, it’s great!” I think it’s unlikely that he will see it. I know he hasn’t seen “V for Vendetta,” and I don’t think he’s seen “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” either.

MTV: When you and Alan Moore were working on “Watchmen,” did you have the idea that it would become an iconic graphic novel?

Gibbons: Absolutely not. All Alan and I wanted to do was do the best comic book we could and the kind of comic book we would have liked to have read. We thought it would be 12 monthly issues of a comic book, and when it came to the end of its run, it would go to the back-issues bin, go out of print, the copyright would revert to us, and that would be the end of it. … The fact that it has sold consistently for more than twenty years is just incredible.

Want more “Watchmen”? Check out our in-depth look at the original characters that inspired “Watchmen.”

Check out everything we’ve got on “Watchmen.”

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