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WATCHMEN

About The Production
New York, 1985—a world darkened by fear and paranoia. Where regular human beings who once donned masks to fight crime now hide from their identities. Where the ultimate weapon—an all-powerful superbeing—has tilted the global balance of power, pushing the world implacably closer to nuclear midnight. Where desperate men conjure desperate measures in the stark face of Armageddon.

This is the world of "Watchmen,” the big-screen adaptation of the most celebrated graphic novel of all time, brought to life for the first time by visionary director Zack Snyder.

Spray-painted across a wall in the shadows of a dark, gritty New York alley is a question that pervades "Watchmen”: "Who watches the Watchmen?” Snyder offers, "Who has the right to say what's right and what's wrong? And who monitors those who decide what is right and what is wrong?”

Watchmen first appeared as a 12-issue limited comic book series. It was originally published by DC Comics from 1986 to 1987, then republished as the now legendary graphic novel. The blood-stained "smiley face” on the cover, the image of a clock face advancing one minute closer to midnight, and the twelve-chapter structure are all emblematic of the richly complex work that has long been credited with elevating the graphic novel to a new art form: Watchmen is the only graphic novel to win the prestigious Hugo Award or to appear on Time magazine's 2005 list of "the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to the present.” It also earned several Kirby and Eisner Awards.

When it was released, Watchmen resonated with a generation raised with the prospect of nuclear war, not as an abstraction but a palpable reality. It has been praised for giving voice to the anxiety and unease of the times, the fear and awe of power and its abuses, and the cloud of paranoia and impotence experienced every day by average people considered insignificant to the power brokers. In the decades since its publication, it has garnered a legion of diehard fans from all walks of life that continues to grow.

"In the '80s, there was a lot of paranoia about the Cold War—was it going to escalate and what would happen if it did—and how fragile our society was, how very little would have to be done to completely wipe out everything that we had,” the graphic novel's co-creator and illustrator Dave Gibbons comments. "That was very real to me. And though it has receded a bit, there are new fears of mass destruction, so I think that paranoia is always going to be there.”

Subverting and deconstructing the concept of superheroes, the story introduced a handful of characters that have been called "more human than super”—real people who deal with ethical and personal issues, who struggle with neuroses and failings and who, aside from Dr. Manhattan, are without superpowers. The original team of heroes, the Minutemen, was comprised of The Silhouette, Silk Spectre, The Comedian, Hooded Justice, Captain Metropolis, Nite Owl, Mothman and Dollar Bill. The next generation of masked adventurers—those at the heart of the graphic novel's mystery—are Silk Spectre II, Nite Owl II, Rorschach, Dr. Manhattan, Ozymandias, and The Comedian, who is the only holdover from the Minutemen. Each is a symbol of a different kind of power, obsession, and psychopathology. A different kind of superhero.

Adding to the book's mystique—with its intricate, multi-layered storytelling and dialogue, symbolism and synchronicity, flashbacks and metafiction—Watchmen has long been considered both in a class of its own…and virtually unfilmable.

For over a decade, producers Lawrence Gordon and Lloyd Levin held the faith that it wasn't the latter, nurturing the project and waiting for the right moment and the right filmmaker to bring the book to life in a manner worthy of the work itself. "I read Watchmen when it fir

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