This article contains Watchmen spoilers.
HBO’s Watchmen was a perfect season of TV. Nine episodes, with hardly a wasted moment, that answered every single question they had set out to by the time the credits rolled on the final hour. It took almost 35 years to get a true Watchmen sequel or an adaptation worthy of the name, but Damon Lindelof, Nicole Kassell, and an incredibly talented team of writers, directors, and actors made it happen. If this is all we ever get, it would be enough.
But the hell with that, we all know you want to see Watchmen season 2 as badly as we do. Maybe it’s a mistake, but there’s just enough out there to make us believe that in the event that HBO decides that Watchmen season 2 needs to become a reality, they’ll be able to pull it off.
Here are a few of our Watchmen season 2 story ideas. Which we know we’ll probably never see in reality.
The Trial of Adrian Veidt
Adrian Veidt murdered three million people and traumatized countless millions more by unleashing a giant squid in midtown Manhattan on Nov. 2, 1985. And while Laurie Juspeczyk may have been willing to turn a blind eye to that for the sake of the greater good three decades ago, FBI Agent Laurie Blake has seen her perspective shift, so she placed Veidt under arrest to bring him back to stand trial on three million counts of first degree murder (and hell, let’s throw in a Keene Act violation since he was wearing a costume when he did it). Just the process of bringing him to trial once that information becomes public would lead to violence in the streets.
What would a courtroom drama look like in the Watchmen universe? We’ve never really gotten much of a look at the inner workings of the legal system in this world. Then again, the trial of Adrian Veidt wouldn’t exactly be some intimate legal procedural, it would be the highest profile criminal proceeding since Nuremberg, focused on a mad genius with a flair for the theatrical in the hot seat, trying to avoid a literal hot seat. Set the action in Washington, DC and let the drama of how nearly 30 years of the Redford administration seems poised to come to an end as the political pendulum inevitably starts to swing back to the right simmer in the background.
One of the key witnesses for the prosecution would have to be the one major character who was left out of this first season: Dan Dreiberg, better known as Nite Owl.
The thing is, Dan is in prison. HBO’s Peteypedia supplemental materials revealed that Dan and Laurie were both picked up by the FBI in 1995 for violating the Keene Act while stopping Timothy McVeigh from carrying out the Oklahoma City bombing. Laurie cut a deal with the FBI and eventually became an agent. Dan, apparently, told the feds to get bent and got a long prison sentence for his troubles. But Dan was there moments after Veidt unleashed the carnage on New York City, heard Veidt’s confession firsthand, and worked with the man for years when they were both superheroes. He’d be a hell of a witness.
And while Dan wasn’t willing to cooperate with the government in 1995 (presumably because he didn’t see anything wrong with his activities and saw the Keene Act as an unjust law), he might feel differently about bringing Veidt to justice now, especially if there’s any smoldering embers left to his relationship with Laurie (although, considering he’s the one who designed that Dr. Manhattan dildo we saw her brandishing in episode 3, that would appear to be a longshot). It would be a hell of a thing to see Nite Owl brought to live action again, and HBO would have to cast carefully to find someone who not only has chemistry with Jean Smart but could match her onscreen energy.
In fact, Dan is so relatively unexplored now in the context of this brave new Watchmen world, that there’s a danger he could overwhelm the narrative, which would be pretty counterproductive considering how much new ground the first season broke and how brilliant Regina King was as Angela Abar. But just as we’ve never seen in detail how the court system would work in the world of Watchmen, what’s a federal prison like? Who else is in there with Dan? There must be super-criminals as well as vigilantes who were taken down by Blake and her Anti-Vigilante task force, right? Maybe Oz with superheroes isn’t the best pitch, but HBO already did the impossible, so they can do whatever the hell they want as far as I’m concerned.
We wrote more about the fate of Dan Dreiberg and why Nite Owl wasn’t on this show here.
Looking Glass and Agent Blake
“It’s Looking Glass.”
While the trial of Adrian Veidt is happening, why not put Wade Tillman and Laurie Blake together to investigate some nefariousness. The impossibly dry comedic energy that Tim Blake Nelson and Laurie Blake shared onscreen together is too much fun to never explore again. OK, so maybe this is way too conventional, but there’s certainly more than enough weirdness to go around, right?
Especially with Lube Man still on the loose! We wrote in detail here about how FBI Agent Dale Petey actually has a secret identity as the mysterious and well-lubricated, silver bodysuited runner glimpsed back in episode 4. Dale Petey is a superhero fanboy, and has been dismissed from his job in the FBI for disobeying orders, and is apparently now on the run, wearing his absurd costume and spying on people. Is he a central character? Absolutely not. But can you imagine the absolutely withering lines that Laurie would hit him with once she realized it was him in that costume? That’s worth the price of your HBO subscription right there.
OK, fine, maybe not.
The Apotheosis of Angela Abar
We’re pretty certain that yes, Angela is going to receive godlike powers from eating the egg found on her kitchen floor. That was clearly Dr. Manhattan’s intention, and what Dr. Manhattan wants, he gets (as long as he doesn’t see it as preordained or whatever). Of course, Angela would be inheriting these powers in a very different way than Jon Osterman ended up with his. Jon was torn to atoms and had to reassemble his physical being while he was nothing but a disembodied consciousness. It might account for some of the loss of his humanity.
Angela has no such concerns. She didn’t have to die in order to gain these powers. Her mindset makes her more grounded in the here and now than Jon was,and it’s just possible that she would be able to stay a little more focused and perhaps do some more immediate good than he was often concerned with. Maybe. Or perhaps it’s best to let this story, as perfect as it was, be.
The True Detective Approach
Watchmen would be perfect if we never saw anything beyond these nine episodes ever again. Why spoil it, right? But while we don’t necessarily need to see the continuing adventures of Wade Tillman or Angela Abar, the Watchmen universe is vast, and so many hints were seeded throughout this series about the state of the rest of the world.that maybe it’s time to just head elsewhere (or even elsewhen) to explore them. Turn Watchmen into an anthology series, you cowards!
In theory, the “Nite Owl in prison” drama could satisfy this requirement. But that’s way too conventional and it would be inevitable that other characters from the book would have to come into his orbit. So take it further out.
We learned in episode 5 that New York City is still recovering from the events of 11/2/85, and is still likely underpopulated. What’s that like? A half-deserted NYC, traumatized from a horrific science fiction nightmare event from over 35 years ago sounds like a genre TV pitch all on its own.
For that matter, what would Los Angeles be like in the Watchmen universe? What does the entertainment industry look like in a world where superheroes are real, pirate stories are the dominant form of pop culture entertainment, and humanity has had to deal with the existence of (basically) god and a genocidal extradimensional squid that was actually unleashed on them by the person they thought was one of their greatest heroes? You think Hollywood is weird now? Just you wait!
Or what about the rest of the world? Headlines glimpsed on newspapers in the backgrounds of scenes have revealed that there is continued civil unrest in Vietnam, even though it is now technically part of the United States. There was a headline that may have hinted that Vatican City has fallen into disrepair, perhaps because religion isn’t much of a thing in a world where Dr. Manhattan exists.
But again, it’s hard to imagine anything being as compelling (or timely) as the journey of Angela Abar and Will Reeves in this season. So why not do something completely fucking bonkers…
A recurring theme in this season of Watchmen is Fogdancing, a work of literature that only exists in the Watchmen universe. Fogdancing has been adapted as movies twice, once directed by none other than David Cronenberg. It’s such an influential work that Dr. Manhattan’s infamous “nothing ever ends” line is apparently a quote from Fogdancing (note: Fogdancing doesn’t exist in the real world). It’s a tale about a traumatized veteran government agent, a “fogdancer” who wears a silver suit and commits horrific acts of war, who returns home to find his life has been a lie, and he embarks on a drug-fueled mission to expose the truth.
Basically, what I’m saying is, screw Watchmen, adapt Fogdancing as an HBO original movie or series. HBO creating a full length adaptation of a fictional book (as in, a book that doesn’t exist, not a work of fiction) would be the most meta thing imaginable, and I think I gave myself a migraine just thinking about it.
Nah, maybe we’ll be better off if they just let this show be the rarest of things, even in the peak TV era, a perfect narrative with a completely satisfying finale. But if they change their minds and decide Watchmen season 2 really is in the cards, we’ll be watching.
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