As fans speculated, Jean Smart will be playing former Silk Spectre Laurie Juspeczyk (aka Laurie Blake) in Damon Lindelof’s Watchmen series, Lindelof confirmed to IGN at HBO’s Television Critics Association presentation on Wednesday.
A new trailer shown to critics at the panel featured a shot of Smart’s character, previously rumored to be FBI Agent Blake, juxtaposed against a pop art-style painting of the Minutemen that included a costumed Silk Spectre. In the footage, Agent Blake even admits that she used to dress up in costume and punch bad guys too.
The Comic-Con trailer for Watchmen released this past weekend doesn’t include those scenes with Smart but does feature more overt ties to the storyline of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ seminal comic, including several shots of Doctor Manhattan, a shot of Nite Owl’s Owlship, more emphasis on Jeremy Irons’ Adrian Veidt (aka Ozymandias), and acts of violence being perpetrated by the terrorist group known as the 7th Cavalry, who have co-opted Rorschach’s mask for their own political ends.
Lindelof confirmed that the series is a sequel to Moore and Gibbons’ comic, and the plot of the original is sacred. “We re-explore the past, but it’s canon. One of the rules we have is everything that happened in those 12 issues could not be messed with, we were married to it, so there’s no rebooting it. Nixon was still president in ’85, he was reelected in ’88, he died in office and then as his vice-president, Gerald Ford became president and then was defeated in the election of ’92 by Robert Redford.” Fun fact, even though the show is set in 2019, Lindelof confirmed that Redford is still president “and has been since the early ’90s when they abolished term limits.”
Still, Lindelof said, “Whether or not it feels like it’s Watchmen is in the eye of the beholder,” insisting that he loves the source material and has a “tremendous amount of respect for it” but that, “I had to separate myself from this incredible reverence, because if I was too reverent, I wouldn’t be able to do anything that was risky… Hopefully once you’ve seen the grand plan you’ll have a more informed answer in terms of its conversation with the source material.”
Earlier in HBO’s TCA session, HBO programming president Casey Bloys responded to a suggestion that Alan Moore historically hasn’t been thrilled with adaptations of his work by conceding, “I think that remains the case, that he’s not thrilled.” Lindelof expanded on Moore’s relationship with the Watchmen TV series by revealing that he had reached out to the legendary writer to get his blessing on the project and was rebuffed.
“I don’t think that I’ve made peace with it, and that’s the way he would want it too. It’s an ongoing wrestling match, he’s a genius, maybe the greatest writer in the comic medium … he’s made it very clear that he doesn’t want to have any association or affiliation with Watchmen ongoing, and that we not use his name to get people to watch it.” Still, Lindelof pointed out that back when Moore was writing his legendary comics runs in the ’80s, if someone had told him “you’re not allowed to do this because Superman’s creator doesn’t want you to do that or Swamp Thing’s creator doesn’t want you to do that,” Moore would’ve said “f–k you, I’m doing it anyway,” due to his “rebellious, punk-rock spirit.”
“I’m channeling the spirit of Alan Moore to tell Alan Moore ‘f–k you, I’m doing it anyway!” Lindelof laughed.