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Watchmen is getting an R-rated animated adaptation, will we ever know peace

Until morale improves, the Watchmen adaptations will continue

Rorschach in Watchmen #1, DC Comics (1986). Artwork: Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons/DC Comics

For a very long time, an animated version of Watchmen was basically a joke, the sort of ill-advised idea that seemed so bad that even DC, a publisher that has never met a lousy Watchmen idea it wouldn’t at least consider, wouldn’t do it. Well, time makes fools of us all, especially internet bloggers who think themselves clever: DC has just greenlit an animated adaptation of Watchmen.

According to reports from San Diego Comic-Con, DC announced its next two animated films at a screening of its newest release, Justice League: Warworld. Those two movies are Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths and Watchmen.

Few details were revealed beyond logos for both projects, although DC confirmed Watchmen would be rated R, as any reasonably faithful adaptation of Watchmen can be expected to be (and was rumored to be the case when whispers of the project first emerged way back in 2017).

An animated Watchmen is a bafflingly strange choice, and that’s without even getting into the well-established history of DC’s exploitation of Moore and Gibbons’ comic. For one, Zack Snyder’s 2009 film, while divisive, is still fiercely faithful to the source material, barring a controversial third-act change. For another, HBO’s acclaimed follow-up casts a long shadow, reconsidering the comic in a modern context while also remaining faithful to its spirit.

And finally: Watchmen is a lot of comic book, the sort of story that is longer than DC’s 90-minute animated films tend to be. In the past, DC has adapted lengthier stories across two films, like The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Hush, which could be an option here, since the DC animated films named after comics tend to be relatively true to the source material.

Otherwise, we might be looking at a new take on Watchmen entirely, which will definitely go over well.

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