During a conversation with Reese Witherspoon for Variety, Watchmen star Regina King gave her take on a potential second season of HBO’s superhero series:
“I don’t know … I feel like I think HBO would want it back in a heartbeat, but if [showrunner] Damon Lindelof doesn’t see an entry point for Season 2, I think that the possibilities are infinite. But I feel that if Damon doesn’t see it, then it’s going to be a no for me.”
Lindelof has previously stated that he doesn’t have an idea to continue the story (which was designed to be self-contained), and if HBO decides to continue the series, he probably wouldn’t be involved, meaning that we’ve likely seen the last of Regina King as Angela Abar.
Watchmen has seen something of a resurgence recently, the story and aesthetic proving eerily prescient; HBO even made the series free to watch last weekend, in honor of Juneteenth.
While the series ended with a revolutionary plot twist, some fans have speculated that the show could continue by emulating True Detective, telling new stories set in the same universe, unconnected to the events of the first season.
It’s an intriguing thought – the weird world of Watchmen, first constructed in Alan Moore’s comic and expanded by Lindelof, is perfectly designed to explore unbalanced power dynamics; corrupt institutions, masked vigilantism and obscenely wealthy supervillains are always going to remain relevant.
But perhaps there is a way for Regina King and Damon Lindelof to reunite, even after that earth-shattering season finale. Warning – major spoilers ahead.
Watchmen’s story of corrupt, racist cops ended, somewhat paradoxically, with a policewoman, Angela Abar, ascending to the role of demigod, tasked with doing a better job than her predecessor. This is implied to be a good thing, despite the character’s history of anger issues, and excessive use of force while dealing with shady suspects.
Depicting police brutality as a necessary evil is in exceedingly poor taste, despite its ubiquity in pop culture, and the unfortunate inclusion of that terrible trope in Watchmen undermines the message of the series. But a second season could always rectify that mistake, by depicting Angela’s newfound powers as a dreadful burden, rather than a magic cure-all.
The original story of Watchmen (the comic book) was a condemnation of not just existing institutions, but authority itself, and if Angela has acquired godly superpowers, able to collapse the Earth into a supernova without breaking a sweat, than a second season could see her struggling to shape a new world, without resorting to the use of force, or control.
Creating a utopia of mindless automatons would be easy, but Angela is tasked with fixing the human world, with all its existing prejudices, ignorance and corruption, without burning it all down in a fit of frustration.
There’s an opportunity there to expand on the themes of the first season, without contradicting that memorable ending; otherwise, HBO’s Watchmen leaves the viewer with the impression that what the world needs, more than anything, is a violent cop who possesses superpowers.
The series might be prescient (and surprisingly informative), but the message of that finale has never felt more inappropriate.