Who watches the “Watchmen,” you ask? Right now the answer appears to be everyone.
DC Entertainment announced Wednesday (February 1) that a new “Watchmen” prequel series is officially in development. Titled “Before Watchmen,” the project spans seven different miniseries starring popular characters from Rorschach to Doctor Manhattan. The continuation of “Watchmen” had been rumored for quite some time, but today’s announcement turns rumors into facts — and the reaction to those facts is divided, to say the least.
Some fans believe that more “Watchmen” is a great idea, especially considering the involvement of top-tier comic book talents including Darwyn Cooke and Brian Azzarello. For others, even excellent creative teams won’t wash away the panic some are feeling at the prospect of revisiting the most successful, self-contained graphic novel of all time. Indeed, “Watchmen” writer Alan Moore has already spoken out against the existence of “Before Watchmen,” telling the New York Times that it’s “completely shameless.” Artist Dave Gibbons’ stance, meanwhile, is considerably warmer: “I appreciate DC’s reasons for this initiative and the wish of the artists and writers involved to pay tribute to our work. May these new additions have the success they desire.”
From fans to creators and all the onlookers in between, arguments about whether or not “Before Watchmen” should even exist are sure to rage on in the coming days, weeks and months. But the MTV Movies Team is focused on a different question: Will “Before Watchmen” lead to more “Watchmen” movies?
Up front, it should be noted that the film adaptation of Moore and Gibbons’ graphic novel wasn’t a smash success at the box office, only yielding $185 million worldwide against a $130 million budget. But the film’s high-profile release drew renewed attention to the “Watchmen” brand, propelling its ranking as the top-selling graphic novel for 11 straight months. “Watchmen” also pulled in strong initial DVD sales and rental figures. An unconventional success, perhaps, but success all the same.
Even with all those factors considered, would the “Watchmen” movie’s creative team be on-board for sequels? Actors Patrick Wilson and Malin Akerman , who played Nite Owl and Silk Spectre respectively, spoke with MTV News about the topic in 2009, and both expressed skepticism. “I just don’t know where you would go,” Wilson said. “You would need one good idea.”
“I don’t really know how [a sequel] would ever be possible,” Akerman added. “Because ’Watchmen’ is ’Watchmen,’ and we covered pretty much the whole novel.”
Clearly, there is now more ground to cover than Akerman once realized, so future “Watchmen” movies based on original comics material are certainly possible. But if “Watchmen” does have a future on the big screen, director Zack Snyder will not be involved — if comments he made three years ago still hold weight, that is.
“I know that I wouldn’t have anything to do with it,” Snyder said in February 2009. “It would be like me going to [’No Country for Old Men’ author] Cormac McCarthy and going, ’I have an idea for a [sequel]:
You write a book, and I’ll write a movie, and you can release it. You’ll win a Pulitzer; I’ll win an Oscar. It’ll be awesome.’
“The attitude toward comic books, they show their hand a little bit,” he added. “They would never say that about a real novelist, but they would about a comic book.”
So will we see more “Watchmen” on film? At this point, it’s simply too early to say. But where one would have thought the prospect impossible just three years ago, the possibilities are virtually endless today.
Do you want to see new “Watchmen” movies? Tell us what you think of “Before Watchmen” in the comments section!
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