Hearsay and Conjecture: Thoughts on film sequel to Watchmen

I, like most people I know, was a big fan of Alan Moore's Watchmen. Granted, I experienced it well after it's heyday but the messages within were no less relevant (save for a few of the fashion choices in the graphic novel). Maybe because I got on the Watchmen train later in its life I wasn't one of those clamoring for a film adaptation. When one was announced though of course I was going to see it, if for nothing else because the mature tones that comic book films have taken as of late (this story was built for maturity). With Watchmen being all about mature tones, it was a match made in heaven right? Well, I saw the film and I was soundly disappointed. Many other fans of the pivotal work joined the chorus of upset and, while there were a few that actually did enjoy it, decried Zack Snyder's version. I don't necessarily blame Snyder here; he was essentially fighting an uphill battle with a property that was more or less a lose-lose scenario for any director. Alan Moore was against the adpation and the film didn't do as well as DC and Warner Brothers would've liked. You would think the perfect storm of Moore, the film's success (or lack thereof) and the Watchmen canon doesn't facilitate a sequel. Or does it? According to Bleeding Cool, new DC head honcho Dan DiDio has made a sequel to Watchmen a pet project of his. This will not end well. The word on the street is that former DC head honcho Paul Levitz personally refused to greenlight a sequel to the film. Why would he? The work is meant to be self-contained and not the creation of a new universe. Further, Levitz felt that Moore and Dave Gibbons would be against their work being bastardized for the sake of profit. (This would definitely be the case for Moore who was vehemently against the film in the first place while Gibbons somewhat accepted and almost embraced the resurgence in popularity in the property due to the film). The film happened though, and thanks to the wonders of cross-promotion, Watchmen became the highest selling comic in DC's history. Levitz stepped down as President of DC and with Levitz gone, DiDio stepped in and wanted to capitalize on the financial success of Watchmen by creating prequel comic miniseries and spinoff ongoing projects. When DiDio was asked about the clause in the original movie contracts with Fox regarding sequels to a Watchmen movie, he responded simply with “Hurm…” I know what you're saying: "Hurm doesn't really count as confirmation of anything." And you're completely right. This is one of those things where you have as many grains of salt as you can at the ready. Doesn't it sort of make sense though? From a business standpoint, DC is trying to make money. Watchmen has made them truckloads of money throughout its duration, and films add even more to their coffers. Doesn't it make sense for them to make a sequel to the original, considering they own the property? Or does the creative integrity of the work (and to some extension Moore and Gibbons take precedent)? Obviously, DiDio is going to be hard-pressed to find any creators anywhere close to being willing to take a property like Watchmen and make it a universe (let alone imprint their name on such a property). Moore and Gibbons could probably refuse the rights to it but honestly I don't think Moore cares that much anymore (they've already destroyed the property with the film so why stop there). Bleeding Cool proposes the most likely scenario to be Gibbons writing and drawing new spinoffs, but that's a lot for one man to do with the grand schemes that DiDio has in mind. Back when Watchmen was being created, Moore and Gibbons actually proposed writing a 12-issue prequel series called Minutemen (pending success of Watchmen), so he clearly wasn't completely opposed to the idea of expanding the universe. He was against chararacter-specific stories however (DC proposed Rorschach's Journal and The Comedian's Vietnam War Diary), but the duo felt that neither would go anywhere and rejected them. Moore would go onto sever ties with DC completely after contractual disagreements: Moore would get rights to Watchmen after they stopped being printed, but DC had no intentions of ceasing printing. Personally, at this point I don't really care. I've read the graphic novel of the original Watchmen, appreciate what it did for comics and have moved on. I saw the film and was disappointed, not because of Snyder's job (or the Dr. Manhattan wang) but because it's a work that's just not meant to be a movie. If DC owns the rights and feels that making a film sequel is in the best interest of DC, Warner Brothers and/or the property then that's a decision they have to make. If that decision doesn't jive with you, don't see it. I will say though that no creator should be forced to sit back and watch their own work twisted for the sake of a dollar. You can bet the comic book fraternity (the majority at least) will be in support of Moore and his position, and I'd strongly recommend though that if you're in the comics business and DC approaches you with work I'd stay as far away from it as possible. Last thing you need is Moore bursting into your place of work and wrecking shop out of anger.