Go Deeper Inside the World of Watchmen
If you were familiar with the Watchmen graphic novel prior to the premiere of Damon Lindelof’s new series, then you know it was filled with additional inserts and articles that not only helped contextualize the main story, but also added to the overall reading experience.
In a similar vein, there’s more to the Watchmen show beyond its central storyline. The episodes have jumped 30 years from where its source material ended, and a lot has happened in-between. If you are looking to become a superfan or just love a deep dive, here’s how to experience the complete world-building of Watchmen.
Declared “equal parts insightful and exciting,” the episodes are, of course, the first must-see stop for world-immersion. Set in an alternate version of 2019, where cops wear masks, and the terms “good guy” and “bad guy” are too black and white, the series is full of both small and large differences from today’s real-life America, and includes fun easter eggs for graphic novel fans.
FBI Agent Dale Petey is a character from the series with a passion for history — specifically what happened to the masked vigilantes. Designed with the graphic novel’s style in mind, and updated after every episode, let these files full of memos, newspaper clippings, essays and other artifacts shed light on some of your biggest questions.
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross of Nine Inch Nails are responsible for the score you hear in the series, but they’re also behind some pretty incredible supplemental materials. They’ve worked with Lindelof and writer Jeff Jensen to release three albums (two of which are available now) known as Volumes 1, 2, and 3, that give viewers even more to consume from the Watchmen universe.
The first, The Book of Rorschach, is presented as a reissue of a 2000 LP by band Sons of Pale Horse, a reference to a band playing in New York during the squid attack on November 2, 1985. The album’s world-building goes well beyond the music, with critics reviews, Instagram posts from Fingerprints Music, and even a story about Nine Inch Nails attempting to sell commemorative t-shirts, only to be halted by a trademark dispute. Those who buy the album are in for an additional treat with extensive liner notes complete with remarkable imagery.
Volume 2 goes a different — but no less immersive — route, delivering the soundtrack to in-story television series American Hero Story. This vinyl includes an interview with the show’s in-world creator, J.T. March III, episode synopses, and an extra bonus “newspaper clipping” about Hooded Justice.
Released as a record by fictional band The Nine Inch Nails, The Manhattan Project, the third and final album, offers a perspective (complete with art, essays, and liner notes) on what NIN may have been in the alternate timeline the series exists in. If the music isn’t enough of a step into the Watchmen universe, fans can also purchase a limited-edition t-shirt, and check out a post for “Blue Sunday” dust on the band’s website (FDA regulations prevent you from taking it home though.)
While you don’t have to visit every link and read every page mentioned above to enjoy the show, exploring the world of Watchmen beyond the show can only add to your understanding of what you see on the screen. Every episode is now available to stream.