Watchmen season 2 was never a consideration when creator Damon Lindelof took on the task of updating Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ classic graphic novel for television.
In speaking with Den of Geek prior to the Watchmen series premiere, Lindelof explained that the show was created to tell a singular story and not exist as part of a larger series.
“We designed these nine episodes to feel like we are telling a story. We are presenting a mystery and we are resolving that mystery,” Lindelof said. “It doesn’t mean that it can’t continue, because of course it can, it always can. But it wasn’t designed to have a cliffhanger, where it’s like ‘Wait til you see what we do next season!’ It’s just not built that way.”
Watchmen may not have been built for a season 2 but that doesn’t mean it might not get a season 2 all the same. We’ve all been around these pop cultural parts long enough to know that successful things often get sequels. And HBO’s Watchmen is unquestionably a success. The show has generated plenty of online commentary and social media impressions, sure, but it’s also a hit in the more traditional ratings metrics. HBO reported that an average of 7.1 million people watch the show weekly, whether through linear airing or via HBO’s streaming apps. That makes it the network’s biggest series since Big Little Lies…you know, the other HBO show that was designed to be a miniseries and ended up getting a second season anyway.
Part of the appeal of the original Watchmen is how simultaneously closed and open-ended it is. The comic’s conclusion leaves many questions lingering in the readers’ mind like whether Veidt’s plan worked, what will Doctor Manhattan do next, and how the world will react to Rorschach’s journal? Even with all those questions though, the story still very much ends on the page. There was never a risk of Moore and Gibbons penning a sequel. That level of finality was unusual for the comic book medium and helped endear people like Lindelof to the text.
“When I was a 13 years old and the 12th issue ended, I wasn’t sophisticated enough to realize that the story was over, and that’s the way that it was intentionally designed, because things didn’t end,” Lindelof said. “Comic books continue, there’s no like final issue of X-Men. It just keeps going and going and going and going. I love that about the original Watchmen – as contradictory and hypocritical as that may sound, now that I have continued that story against the wishes of one of its initial creators. I love the idea of close-endedness.”
Now Lindelof and the cast and crew of Watchmen have done such a good job of telling that singular story that HBO will likely want more – call it “The Showrunner’s Paradox.” In Variety‘s feature on Watchmen that was published in advance of the finale, the question of a Watchmen season 2 comes up again. While Lindelof repeats his perspective on the show’s singular nature, other people interviewed are seemingly more open to a second season with Regina King saying “Absolutely!” and director Nicole Kassell saying she needs more time before saying what season 2 should be.
“Where we left it with Damon was he’s thinking about what he wants to do and I’m taking his lead on that,” HBO chief Casey Bloys told The Hollywood Reporter at the TCA Winter Tour. “If he has an idea that he’s excited about, then I’m excited; if he wants to do something else, then that’s what I want to do.”
Perhaps more importantly, Bloys admits that Lindelof could be considering continuing Watchmen season 2 in an anthology series format. “Originally, my hope was it would have been an ongoing series but where Damon is thinking about it, I think maybe it’s more like a Fargo where it comes back completely different,” Bloys told THR.
Reading the tea leaves it seems almost certain that Watchmen season 2 will eventually exist in some capacity. Perhaps the show will go the direct sequel route or spinoff into an anthology series that takes place in Moore and Gibbons’ universe. Should Watchmen season 2 come to be, however, there’s no telling when HBO might announce it. It took the original Watchmen roughly 23 years to get a movie adaptation, 26 years to get a comic book prequel, and 33 years to get a TV sequel.