When Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' Watchmen first hit comic book stands in 1986, it was an immediate hit that became a critical darling both in and outside of comics circles. Come on, it made the cut on Time's list of the 100 best novels published in the English language between 1923 and 2010, for crying out loud. Zack Snyder's 2009 film adaptation of the source material came and went without much fanfare, but Watchmen has always been primed for a television series more than a movie. And now, a Game of Thrones-less HBO has given Damon Lindelof, the man responsible for the twists and turns of Lost and The Leftovers, carte blanche to do what he will with the realistic look at vigilantism - and he is really going to town with it.
In addition to the show, which airs on HBO, Lindelof and his team have created supplementary material in the form of a website called Peteypedia that houses things like internal FBI memos and newspaper articles from the alternate universe of the show. This list collects the most interesting and surprising details about the world of HBO's Watchmen revealed in these supplementary materials. We are trying to stay away from information that is explicit or overt in the episodes themselves, so no squid rain here, folks. We are talking about everything from interesting facts about the characters to the weird and surprising inclusion of real-world people like Ezra Klein and Robert Mueller into this alternate 2019. Let's jump on in.
According to a memo from FBI Director James Doyan titled "The Computer and You" on Peteypedia, tobacco is a controlled substance in the world of Watchmen.
It feels safe to say that banning tobacco would go over quite poorly with many Americans. However, the idea has garnered more support in recent years, with a July 2018 Gallup poll showing that one-fourth of Americans support a "total smoking ban."
In case you were wondering why Regina King's Angela was using a pager in episode 1 and have been a bit confused about the general lack of advanced technology on the show, here's your answer. Following Adrian Veidt's successful plan to fake an alien attack (with a giant, disgusting squid!) in order to unite the world and stop an atomic conflict, many citizens of the planet turned their backs on technology in fear.
FBI Director Doyan lays this out in "The Computer and You." He explains that the majority of technology was wiped out due to concerns that technology was what brought the squid to Earth in the first place. Doyan ends his memo with a plea: "Our fear of technology was for naught. Don’t be like me. Don’t be stupid. The future is here again. Don’t fear it. Embrace it."
According to interviews with Watchmen showrunner Damon Lindelof and "The Computer and You" memo, the internet isn't really a thing in the show's version of 2019.
Lindelof has explained that the government saw "the writing on the wall" with social media and the internet and shut them down.
In the middle of a newspaper article about Adrian Veidt being declared deceased, there is a throwaway reference to the White House press secretary. This being Watchmen, a series known for its parallels to our own reality, the press secretary is someone you might have heard of.
President Robert Redford - yes, the famous actor - and his administration have hired Vox co-founder Ezra Klein as press secretary in the show's universe. Well, with no internet to speak of there was obviously no Vox to co-found, but Klein clearly seems to have found success anyways.