Len Wein, The Outer Limits And Rewriting Watchmen

Tomorrow, DC Comics publish Before Watchmen: Ozymandias #5 by Len Wein and Jae Lee. Wein was one of the three editors of the original Watchmen, with Dick Giordano and Barbara Kesel also editing the book for periods of time. Because Wein resigned over the ending.

Len Wein has spoken out about his unhappiness over it in the past, where Ozymandias creates a mullti-dimensional being, drops it on New York killing millions and scaring the planet into peace. Specifically its similarity to an episode of The Outer Limits, The Architects Of Fear, in which scientists create an alien creature to scare the world into peace. It doesn’t work. In Watchmen… it might. Depending on what happens with Rorschach’s journal.

Spoilers, I should have said.

Around issue 10, I came across a guide to cult television. There was an Outer Limits episode called ”The Architects of Fear.” I thought: ”Wow. That’s a bit close to our story.” In the last issue, we have a TV promoting that Outer Limits episode — a belated nod. – Alan Moore

“I kept telling him, ‘Be more original, Alan, you’ve got the capability, do something different, not something that’s already been done!’ And he didn’t seem to care enough to do that.” – Len Wein

Reportedly, Len Wein quit the book over this. Of course, he is now writing Before Watchman: Ozymandias. So he has a chance to “put right what once went wrong”. He isn’t changing the ending. But he is changing a certain bit of narrative. Or motivation. Of inspiration.

Basically, he is having Ozymandias steal the ending of Watchmen from The Outer Limits. Literally. Look at this four page preview from Paste Magazine.

Of course, he doesn’t address the similarity of the ending of Watchmen with Rorschach’s book on the desk, and the ending of Kind Hearts And Coronets with the book of confessions being picked up by the prison guard, but maybe that will come in another prequel. The Further Adventures Of Seymour!