HBO’s ‘Watchmen’ Trailer Tick Tocks Behind The Masks While Preparing For War

HBO’s Watchmen series (its first voyage until the superhero realm) will refashion its graphic-novel source material in unexpected ways. That’s been the promise, although series creator Damon Lindelof and the premium cable network have been super secretive about exactly how this will happen. From the tick-tocking teaser and a featurette, we know that the series will be grim, and Don Johnson (Sonny Crockett, represent) revealed that the story moves far beyond its comic book origins as written by Alan Moore (who has nothing to do with this series). Well, Johnson wasn’t joking because this new trailer really doesn’t resemble any form of Watchmen that we’ve ever seen. So, this will be an ambitious approach, maybe even feel like a brand new story with an old label? That might be for the best after the Zack Snyder movie treatment.

Johnson plays the Tulsa Police Chief. Yes, Tulsa Oklahoma. HBO had previously confirmed that setting, and Lindelof recently told reporters that he settled upon it after learning about the 1921 torching of Black Wall Street in the Oklahoma city. That historical event was inaccurately framed for decades as a “race riot,” and Lindeloff said that he was aghast to learn the truth — that angry white mobs burned down wealthy Black neighborhoods, killing an unconfirmed number of people (anywhere from dozens to 300). However, we’re clearly in “alternate universe” territory because this trailer doesn’t take place in the 1920s. Athough that might be what Lindelof was getting at when he expressed hope to connect the past and present with a timely air.

Regina King takes center stage in this trailer as Tulsa Police detective Angela Abar (who might also be a vigilante), who enters into a discussion about what it means to wear a mask. Jeremy Irons is playing a character who resembles Ozymandius, there might be a Rorshach-esque mask in the mix as an interrogator, and there’s ominous talk of Calvary “terrorists.” The series will also star Jean Smart, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Tom Mison, Tim Blake Nelson, Louis Gossett Jr., Lily Rose Smith, Adelynn Spoon, and more.

Watchmen will premiere on October 20.