“Watchmen”: 5 Key Takeaways from President Robert Redford’s Timeline [PREVIEW]

Now that HBO‘s wonderfully authorized pseudo-sequel to [REDACTED] and Dave Gibbons‘ celebrated comic book series Watchmen has been unveiled to the world – it seems the world’s liking what they’re seeing so far from Damon Lindelof‘s “remix”. Even die-hard Watchmen purists appear to be slowly coming around – and they should.

Bleeding Cool didn’t exactly pull any punches when praising just how powerful the Nicole Kassell (Castle Rock)-directed series premiere “It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice” was (check out our review here). The Kassell-helmed, Lindelof/Nick Cuse-written “Martial Feats of Comanche Horsemanship” keept the momentum going by deepening the conspiracies at play (review here).

watchmen
HBO

Jean Smart‘s Agent Laurie Blake took center stage in “She Was Killed by Space Junk”, elevating the tension while serving as “devil’s advocate” for the viewer (review here). “If You Don’t Like My Story, Write Your Own” (review here), introduced us to trillionaire Lady Trieu (Hong Chau), saw Angela (Regina King) look to Wade aka Looking Glass (Tim Blake Nelson) for help when Laurie’s investigation started hitting a little too close to home, and revealed how Adrian (Jeremy Irons) “trains” new servants – as he attempts to escape wherever he is

We learned Wade Tillman aka Looking Glass’ “origin story” – and possibly his final days – in “Little Fear of Lightning” (our review here), as Agent Blake places Angela under arrest… but not before Angela starts feeling a little “nostalgic”. It’s under the influence of his memories, Angela comes to understand her true past and the truth about “This Extraordinary Being” Will (Louis Gossett Jr. – review here) – truth that starts with the formation of the Minutemen.

watchmen
HBO

Now before we take a look at this week’s episode, we thought we’d share five interesting facts about Robert Redford‘s alternative timeline, the one that lead him to The White House – directly from noted modern Watchmen historians Jeff “Doc” Jensen and Lindelof. ‘s conversation with /Film here:

● President Redford has a very “interesting” history with vice-presidents:

“President Redford has had several VPs over the duration of his multiple terms. In his failed bid to oust Nixon in ’88, his running mate was Jerry Brown. Recalculating in ’92 to appeal to more centrist voters, Redford selected Nebraska Senator Bob Kerrey, who served as his V.P. until 2000. With the beginnings of a liberal Supreme Court starting to take shape and with his approval in the mid-sixties, Redford made the bold move of replacing Kerrey on the ticket with Illinois Senator Carol Mosely Braun. V.P. Braun held office until 2009, at which point she resigned for reasons unknown.

With his popularity slipping in the middle of the country and under incredible pressure from the right and the Independents who elected (and re-elected and re-elected) him, Redford appointed Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura to the Vice Presidency. Despite rumors that Ventura had leveraged the Administration with evidence about the government’s involvement in 11/2, the gambit paid off and Redford/Ventura eked out a victory in 2012. Unfortunately, V.P. Ventura passed away two weeks after the election (under mysterious circumstances to say the least), forcing yet another appointment. Again, appealing to the center, Redford appointed Delaware Senator Joe Biden, who remains his Vice President to this day (and is most certainly going to run in 2020!)”

● If you’re a fan of Sneakers, we’ve got some bad news:

“‘Sneakers’ was never made, as “hacking” never became a pop culture thing in the nineties due to the absence of computers and Internet in mainstream society. But one might assume that it might become a thing in years to come as the Internet rolls out.”

● Author John Grisham (The Pelican Deposition) was appointed and confirmed to the Supreme Court in 2002 – but the confirmation battle was a contentious one.

Scarlett Johansson has her own “swashbuckler-spy” film franchise as Black Sash in Charlton’s “Marauders” series – with Crisis On Infinite Seas currently in production.

● President Redford’s final film as an actor was Out of Africa, and stepped down from any leadership role in the Sundance Film Festival and the Sundance Institute.

For a more extensive look at key periods in the Redford Administration, check out the original report at /Film.

The Road to HBO’s “Watchmen”

Which brings us to the first of the final three episodes of the series/season, “An Almost Religious Awe”:

“Watchmen” season 1, episode 7 “An Almost Religious Awe”: Under Lady Trieu’s care, Angela undergoes an unconventional treatment while Agent Blake chases down a lead. Elsewhere, The Smartest Man in The World delivers a stunning defense of his past actions.

From Damon Lindelof and set in an alternate history where masked vigilantes are treated as outlaws, this drama series embraces the nostalgia of the original groundbreaking graphic novel of the same name while attempting to break new ground of its own. The cast includes Regina King, Jeremy Irons, Don Johnson, Jean Smart, Tim Blake Nelson, Louis Gossett Jr., Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Hong Chau, Andrew Howard, Tom Mison, Frances Fisher, Jacob Ming-Trent, Sara Vickers, Dylan Schombing, and James Wolk.

watchmen
Watchmen/HBO

In the following featurette, Lindelof explains how the original comic book series influenced him to take the core themes of the series and find a way to apply them to a modern society. King offers more details on both the terrorist group at play during the season as well as the personal conflicts that arise when one dons a mask in the name of the law:

In the following clip, King takes us behind the scenes on production with a set visit to show us anything and everything Watchmen – or at least what Lindelof will allow:

HBO’s Watchmen stars: Regina King as Angela Abar, Don Johnson as Chief Judd Crawford, Tim Blake Nelson as Det. Wade Tillman aka Looking Glass, Louis Gossett Jr. as Will Reeves, Adelaide Clemens as Pirate Jenny, Andrew Howard as Red Scare, Jeremy Irons as Adrian Veidt / Ozymandias, Frances Fisher as Jane Crawford, Jacob Ming-Trent as Panda, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Cal Abar, Adelynn Spoon as Emma Abar, Jean Smart as Agent Laurie Blake, Tom Mison as Mr. Phillips, Sara Vickers as Ms. Crookshanks, Dylan Schombing, James Wolk as Senator Keene, Hong Chau as Lady Trieu, Dustin Ingram as Agent Dale Petey, and Lily Rose Smith.

Watchmen is produced for HBO by White Rabbit in association with Warner Bros. Television; executive producer-writer Lindelof; executive producer/director Kassell; executive producer Tom Spezialy; executive producer-director Stephen Williams; and executive producer Joseph Iberti.

Based on the iconic graphic novel co-created and illustrated by Gibbons and published by DC.

Nine Inch Nails duo Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross are on board to compose music for the series.

cobra kai

In May 2018, Lindelof shared a series of Instagram posts to update fans on progress on the project (with a pilot directed by Kassell) and to emphasize that his vision was not a direct adaptation of the original graphic novel, but rather a “remix” that utilizes important elements from the original story while telling its own narrative. Here are some excerpts from those posts:

View this post on Instagram

Day 140.

A post shared by Damon (@damonlindelof) on

“We have no desire to ‘adapt’ the twelve issues Mr. Moore and Mr. Gibbons created thirty years ago. Those issues are sacred ground and will not be retread nor recreated nor reproduced nor rebooted.

They will however be remixed, Because the bass lines in those familiar tracks are just too good and we’d be fools not to sample them. Those original twelve issues are our Old Testament. When the New Testament came along it did not erase what came before it. Creation. The Garden of Eden. Abraham and Isaac. The Flood. It all happened. And so it will be with ‘Watchmen.’ The Comedian died. Dan and Laurie fell in love. Ozymandias saved the world and Dr. Manhattan left it just after blowing Rorschach to pieces in the bitter cold of Antarctica.”

“This story will be set in the world its creators painstakingly built…but in the tradition of the work that inspired it, this new story must be original. It has to vibrate with the seismic unpredictability of its own tectonic plates. It must ask new questions and explore the world through a fresh lens. Most importantly, it must be contemporary. The Old Testament was specific to the Eighties of Reagan and Thatcher and Gorbachev. Ours needs to resonate with the frequency of Trump and May and Putin and the horse that he rides around on, shirtless. And speaking of Horsemen, The End of the World is off the table…which means the heroes and villains–as if the two are distinguishable–are playing for different stakes entirely.”

“Some of the characters will be unknown. New faces. New masks to cover them. We also intend to revisit the past century of Costumed Adventuring through a surprising yet familiar set of eyes…and it is here we will be taking our greatest risks…”

About Ray Flook

Proudly serving as TV Editor, Ray started with Bleeding Cool in 2013 as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought aboard as staff in 2017. Counting John Cusack as his pop culture "spirit animal," his "word fu" stays strong as he continues trying really hard to be the sheppard...

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