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a fanedit by Flixcapacitor!
(updated March 6, 2014)!
Since its first publication, Hollywood producers wanted to adapt Alan Moore and Dave
Gibbonss Watchmen (1986-1987) comics for the screen. Dissatisfied with past adaptations of
his work, Moore refused any association with a Watchmen film and has argued that Hollywood
has a detrimental effect on the comics industry:!
There are three or four companies now that exist for the sole purpose of creating not
comics, but storyboards for films. It may be true that the only reason the comic book
industry now exists is for this purpose, to create characters for movies, board games and
other types of merchandise. Comics are just a sort of pumpkin patch growing franchises
that might be profitable for the ailing movie industry. ! (Alan Moore, 2008)!
Although Zack Snyders production of Watchmen (2009) was billed as a faithful treatment and
its design was uncannily similar to the world drawn by Dave Gibbons, there were significant
alterations made to Moores characters and story, including a fundamental change to the
genocidal plot and the climactic scene. Regardless of the degree of its authenticity, Snyder
stands by his work:!
I couldnt be prouder of the movie. Its exactly as I intended it. I dont get it anymore, but I
think people have seen the reality. I used to get Oh you changed the book. Its not 100%
pure Watchmen. And Id say, Are you kidding me? Are you crazy? 300 allowed me
to make this movie exactly how I wanted it. I had a stranglehold on the studio that
allowed me to make a super-personal love letter to that graphic novel. Its funny that
Alan Moore has said hes against Watchmen the movie. But its the strictest rendering
of his work, by far, in movie form Im incredibly proud of it and I wouldnt change it at
all. ! (Zack Snyder, 2012)!
However, Snyder has made several changes to his film over time. Watchmen was released in
three commercial versions: the theatrical cut (162 minutes), the Directors Cut (186 minutes),
and the Ultimate Cut (215 minutes). With each iteration, Watchmen grew closer to the nature
of its source material, but there were still many aspects of the film that missed the mark.!
Scenes from Watchmen have been reorganized to more closely represent the narrative
structure of the comic book, with each chapter framed by their appropriate inter-titles and
quotations. The quotations have been drawn from Watchmen: The Motion Comic (2008-2009)
and the new inter-titles are based on their appearances in the comics.!
Many of the film sets and costumes were inspired by the colors in the original comics and its
unfortunate that much of that work is obscured by a blue tint that permeates Zack Snyders
Watchmen. Hollywood action/superhero movies seem to rely on this inexplicably dark blue
aesthetic but in Watchmen it distorts skin tones and makes the sets look rather bland. This
version of Watchmen: Midnight includes color grading that reduces some of the blue tint in the
film, thereby restoring natural skin tones and revealing some of the incredible production design
Instances of super human feats by mortal characters and gratuitous gore have been trimmed.
Using the comic books as a guide, many scenes have been re-edited or removed. For example,
the prison fight scene with Nite Owl II and Silk Spectre II has been completely removed and
their lovemaking scene has been heavily trimmed. Other subtle and significant changes are
made throughout the film, for example: Nite Owl IIs goggles no longer scan fingerprints and
instances where characters are actually referred to as the Watchmen have been removed.!
Certain scenes have new music cues in order to alter tone or avoid inappropriate film
references, such as the Comedians funeral, Dr. Manhattans Vietnam flashback, and the
lovemaking scene. The original film versions of Watchmen borrow music from the Koyaanisqatsi
(1982) film score by Philip Glass, and additional music for Watchmen: Midnight comes from his
Naqoyqatsi (2002) film score. Many of the pop songs have been replaced in order to maintain a
tone for the film, except for a few songs that are appropriate for scenes and respective historical
periods, such as 99 Luftballoons for the 1980s and Im Your Boogie Man for the 1970s.!
Re-edited segments from the Under the Hood (2009) mockumentary have been composited into
shots of Hollis Masons television set; these are presented in the film as if they are being viewed
by Mason on an old video tape. Similar to the Under the Hood excerpts and other diegetic
documents at the end of each issue of the original comic, these segments provide a great deal
of character back-story, draw parallels between characters, and act as meditations on the larger
themes of Watchmen.!
The Ultimate Cut of Watchmen on DVD/Blu-ray included a segmented version of the animated
Tales of the Black Freighter (2009) but its appearance was less effective because the original
film deviated from the comic book narrative structure. The 2011 version of Watchmen: Midnight
did not include any portions of Tales of the Black Freighter because I initially opposed the use of
animation for representing the comic-within-the-comic. Later, I learned that director Zack Snyder
originally intended to produce these sequences in a visual style reminiscent of his film 300
(2006) but the projected budget of $20 million made a 300-style Tales of the Black Freighter
cost prohibitive. Synders compromise was animation. Realizing that Tales of the Black Freighter
is integral to Watchmen, I have re-incorporated it into the fanedit based on their appearance in
the comics in order to provide a more accurate representation of these juxtaposed narratives.!
The original slow-motion opening credits sequence has been moved from the start of the film
and placed at the end. Now the film begins with the smiley face pin as in the comics. A new
opening title appears super-imposed over a wide shot of the New York skyline after the police
detectives search the Comedians apartment.!
At the end of the film, after the final chapter quotation, the slow-motion credits sequence serves
as the beginning of the end credits. Music for this elegiac sequence is The Beginning is the
End is the Beginning by The Smashing Pumpkins, which was used in the teaser trailer for
Watchmen. In Watchmen: Midnight, the song complements the historical and fictional images of
characters experiencing war, chaos, and fear in this narrative world. By appearing at the end of
the film instead of the beginning, the sequence looks once more at the origins of the characters
that we have met; we see the rise and fall of the first generation of masked vigilantes with
empathy and greater narrative context, and we observe the formation for the second generation
of Minutemen with knowledge of their eventual fates. Thus, the viewer observes these vignettes
similar to the way Dr. Manhattan perceives past, present, and future simultaneously. Finally, this
nostalgic ending sequence reflects Dr. Manhattans statement that Nothing ever ends,
suggesting that the tenuous peace at the conclusion of Watchmen could be broken.!
Chapter 1: At Midnight, All the Agents!
Added moody opening samples from "The Comedian is Dead" and "Dan's Apocalyptic Dream"
from the Tyler Bates's original score.!
Restored 1980s-era DC logo and rotated it so the stars are North-South-East-West as on the
covers of the Watchmen comics.!
Removed scene in The Comedian's apartment of television watching or fight with mystery man.
Instead, the opening logos segue into vertical pull-back shot from smiley pin on the street to
Comedians apartment.!
Intercut flashbacks to attacker kicking in the door and throwing Comedian out the window during
police detective speculations. This scene is significantly shorter in all filmed versions than in the
comic, so not as many flashbacks were possible. The booming shot from the street level to the
high-rise apartment is unfortunately too short to add Rorschach's narration.!
Added new Watchmen title superimposed over shot of New York skyline.!
Added Chapter 1 title card: Tonight, all the agents when Rorschach enters Blakes
apartment, approximating its appearance in the comics.!
Removed Rorschachs fight with police, so there is no longer an awkward moment with a police
officer shooting and missing Rorschach at short range.!
Removed mention of Rorschach when Dan Dreiberg/Nite Owl II visits Hollis Mason.!
Removed Dan's reference to Rorschach on television back at his brownstone house.!
Removed Dan and Rorschach dialogue: Watchmen are over / Says tricky Dick / Says me.
This removes an instance where the group is actually called The Watchmen. Now Rorschach
suggests fighting back against the mask killer but Dan silently rebukes Rorschach before
reminding him that he could retire with anonymity.!
Trimmed first part of Dan visiting Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias fade to black with Rorschach
walking on street with narration about so little time and fade in with close-up of newspaper
headline Doomsday and Midnight etc. Used second half of the scene between Dan and
Adrian, thereby removing an awkward scene with journalists and several mentions of the
Added Chapter 1 end-quote after Dan says, The Comedian is dead.!
Added first Under the Hood segment, which makes a thematic bridge from optimism of the
1940s Minutemen to the somber aftermath at The Comedians funeral in the 1980s.!
Chapter 2: Absent Friends!
Replaced Simon and Garfunkel song "The Sounds of Silence" at Blakes funeral with the Philip
Glass song, New World from the Naqoyqatsi (2002) film score. The Simon and Garfunkel song
is distractingly reminiscent of The Graduate (1967) and seems too sentimental for the way the
characters remember the Comedian. The new Philip Glass song also introduces some of the
musical themes that will play at the end of the film, after the genocidal plot has succeeded; in a
way, the death of the Comedian is the first step toward orchestrating Ozymandiass new world.!
Added Chapter 2 title: Absent friends when the casket is lowered into the ground,
approximating its appearance in the comics.!
Replaced Richard Wagner song Ride of the Valkyries with excerpts from Tyler Batess songs
Who Murdered Hollis Mason? and Dans Apocalyptic Dream from the Watchmen score
because the Wagner song is a distracting homage to Apocalypse Now (1979). The twisted glee
of the Wagner song might have been appropriate if the scene came from the Comedians
memory, but this scene was Dr. Manhattans reminiscence. The chaotic Vietnam scenes
establish Dr. Manhattans increasing disaffection with the human race, but the use of the
Wagner song in the original version added misplaced humor to what should be a horrifying
sequence. The irony of heroism and massacre in the use of the Wagner song worked in
Apocalypse Now, but it was misused in Watchmen film audiences often laughed during the
scene when it screened in cinemas and they were probably reminded of the Looney Toons
operatic Kill the Wabbit" cartoon. With new music, this scene resembles something more like a
nightmare. Sound effects of exploding people and cries for help are intentionally removed to
emphasize the altered state of memory.!
Removed Comedians over-the-top line: Medic!! from the Vietnam flashback.!
Removed Comedians line that references the Watchmen as a group name during Adrian's
Added Chapter 2 end-quote after flashback of the Comedian falling during the Rorschach voice-
Added second Under the Hood segment which ends with Culpepper asking a rhetorical question
about whether Mason had the right to take law in to his own hands. This creates a segue into
the question of Dr. Manhattans personal and political responsibilities in the following chapter.!
Chapter 3: The Judge of All the Earth!
Opens with the first Tale of the Black Freighter segment.!
Added chapter title: The Judge of All the Earth during the scene with two Bernies at the
newsstand, approximating its appearance in the comics.!
Recut the sequence according to the comics, thus returning to Tales of the Black Freighter after
the elder Bernies interruption. This is contrary to the Ultimate Cut of Watchmen on DVD/Blu-
ray, which does not continue the animated narrative until later in the film and does not follow the
same narrative order as the comics.!
Inspired by the comics, created visual parallels between the sailor caressing the ships
figurehead in Tales of the Black Freighter and Dr. Manhattan/Lauries intimate moment at home
as we transition back to the main narrative.!
Trimmed gore and cartoony violence/stunts during Dan and Laurie Juspeczyks fight with the
Knot-Top gang.!
Removed Lauries line, Its a tough world out there, after fighting with knot-tops in order to
smooth out the transition to the following scene where Dan visits Hollis Mason. In the
subsequent scene, Mason mentions Dr. Manhattan losing it on live television, then cut to: scene
on street corner of a man complaining about Dr. Manhattan disappearing from Earth. The
sequence continues to the scene with Laurie arguing with government agents about Dr.
Manhattan and includes her flashback to first New Minutemen meeting. This sequence
concludes with Richard Nixons first appearance in the film since the prologue attack scene at
the Comedians apartment was removed.!
Added Chapter 3 end-quote after Nixon says things are in the hands of a higher power.!
Added third Under the Hood segment which ends with Sally Jupiter saying it was important to
know when to retire/move on/etc This segues into the next chapter dealing with Dr. Manhattan
choosing to retire from humanity and leave Earth.!
Chapter 4: Watchmaker!
Begins with Dr. Manhattan landing on Mars.!
Added Chapter 4 title card: Watchmaker when Dr. Manhattan starts to remember his past.!
Trimmed gratuitous gore in mobster restaurant when Dr. Manhattan causes a man to explode.!
Added Chapter 4 end-title after Dr. Manhattan says, Too late.!
Added fourth Under the Hood segment which ends with the Psychiatrist discussing the human
qualities of masked heroes, including hopes, desires, and love. This connects with the romantic
relationships of Dr. Manhattan, as well as the romance between the Nite Owls and Silk
Spectres. The psychiatrist also expresses concern about the borderline sociopaths who
actually think they are doing good for the world, as well as his desire to psycho-analyze one of
them. This connects with the Adrian's meeting with the industrialists where he expresses his
altruistic goals and eventually the Psychiatrists unsatisfying interview with Rorschach.!
Chapter 5: Fearful Symmetry!
Opens with a Tales of the Black Freighter segment in which the sea captain builds a raft from
dead bodies and the bloodstain on his sail resembles a Rorschach inkblot. This segment ends
with the sea captain taking a bite from a dead seagull.!
Added Chapter 5 title card: Fearful Symmetry during Adrian's meeting with the industrialists.!
Removed the gratuitous shot of the secretarys hand exploding during the assassination attempt
on Adrian.!
Added the next Tales of the Black Freighter segment. The preceding scene in the main narrative
ends with the assassin vomiting foam from a poison capsule, and this Tales of the Black
Freighter segment begins with the sea captain vomiting after eating the seagull, thinking about
how human beings exist on the whim of murderers. This connects with the eventual revelation
that Adrian orchestrated a fake assassination attempt and was responsible for the deaths of
many more people. This segment concludes with the corpse of the ships first mate telling the
sea captain that his attempts to save his family are futile, that he will fail. This also connects to
the main narrative because in the next scene with Dan and Laurie at the Gunga Diner, Dan
explains that Adrians would-be assassin was dead before he hit the ground.!
Added Chapter 5 end-quote after Rorschach is unmasked. The audio during this end-quote
comes from a television news report about Rorschachs arrest, revealing his birth name. This is
is the best approximation of the supplemental documents about Rorschach provided at the end
of this issue in the comics.!
Chapter 6: The Abyss Gazes Also!
Added Chapter 6 title card: The Abyss Gazes Also during Rorschachs meeting with the
Psychiatrist, approximating its appearance in the comics.!
Trimmed gratuitous violence during Rorschachs flashback about the child killer. The final swing
with meat cleaver makes a sound-bridge back to Rorschach in present day.!
Added Chapter 6 end-quote after Rorschachs fight in the prison cafeteria.!
Added the final Under the Hood segment in which Hollis Mason muses about his unrequited
love for Sally Jupiter. This connects with the following chapter in which their crime fighter
successors, Dan and Laurie, finally express love for each other.!
Chapter 7: A Brother to Dragons!
Opens with Big Figure taunting Rorschach in prison. In the comics, this scene appears in the
following chapter and is intercut with a scene in which a police detective questions Dan at
home. The questioning scene was not filmed or otherwise does not appear in the Watchmen, so
its appearance in the film is unchanged, maintaining the tension that Rorschach is facing in
prison before Dan and Laurie decide to break him out.!
Added Chapter 7 title card: A Brother to Dragons when Dan extinguishes the fire set by Laurie
outside the Owl Ship.!
Trimmed the scene in which Laurie tries on Dans goggles. In this version, the goggles do not
digitally scan fingerprints.!
Added fade out after first lovemaking attempt between Dan and Laurie, then cut to: Dans
apocalyptic nightmare, then cut to: Laurie finding Dan naked in basement. No other scenes are
intercut with this segment and thus it proceeds more like the comic book.!
Removed little girls bad line reading of Is that Jesus? during building evacuation. The scene
replaced by version of the rescue from the theatrical cut of the film.!
In all the official film versions of Watchmen, Silk Spectre II falls backward twice in the Owl ship
after the building explosion. This mistake has been corrected in Watchmen: Midnight.!
Significantly trimmed down the sex scene in the Owl ship. After dropping off the rescued people,
Dan and Laurie originally shared some ineffectual dialogue before a smarmy and overlong sex
scene. In this version, Dan acts on his sexually confidence after they drop off the rescued
people by putting the ship into auto-pilot and kissing Laurie. They undress and begin to
embrace, but the scene ends with the ship hovering in the air. The sex is implied, and its rather
romantic. The Leonard Cohen Hallelujah song has been replaced with a piece of the Tyler
Bates song Well Live Longer from the Watchmen score. This music theme originally plays
during Dan and Lauries dinner date in Chapter 1, and it serves to round out their romance.!
Added Chapter 7 end-title after the lovemaking scene. The quote from the Book of Job mentions
my bones are burned with heat, and this connects nicely with the following chapter, in which
the action is triggered by the death of the prison inmate that Rorshach burned in the cafeteria
Chapter 8: Old Ghosts!
Opens with a segment from Tales of the Black Freighter, in which the sea captain fights off
sharks. The segment ends with the sea captain falling, near death, to the ocean floor. This
potentially connects to the death of the burned prison inmate, while the sea captains visions of
his hometown devastated by the Black Freighters crew and encroaching figures of death may
foreshadow the horror of Ozymandiass devious plan and Rorschachs fatal refusal to comply.!
Removed the establishing shot of prison riot because of an awkwardly executed bit with a
stuntman on fire.!
Added Chapter 8 title: Old Ghosts during arm severing scene and trimmed down gratuitous
gore. In the original comics, the chapter title appeared with panels of trick-or-treating children
outside Hollis Masons house, but these were not included in the film adaptation.!
Removed the big fight between Nite Owl II and Silk Spectre II and the prison inmates. In the
comics, the scene had just one punch, and so in this version Silk Spectre II simply punches an
overzealous prison guard.!
Near the newsstand on the street, the Knot-tops talk about going after Hollis Mason, then cut to:
Mason telephoning Sally about the reunion of Nite Owl and Silk Spectre that night.!
Added Chapter 8 end-quote after the knot-tops kill Hollis Mason.!
Chapter 9: The Darkness of Mere Being!
Added Chapter 9 title card: The Darkness of Mere Being after Dr. Manhattan teleports with Silk
Spectre II to Mars.!
Edited together all of the Dr. Manhattan/Silk Spectre II scenes on Mars so it plays more like the
Added Chapter 9 end-quote after the camera reveals the Galle (smiley face) crater on Mars.!
Chapter 10: Two Riders Were Approaching!
Opens with a scene between the two Bernies at the newsstand. In the comics, there were more
scenes involving the military gearing up for a nuclear strike but these were not included in the
film. However, the newsstand scene does remind the viewer of the escalating political tensions
with a newspaper headline, Soviets Invade Afghanistan, and the elder Bernie sighing, God
help us.!
That scene continues into a Tales of the Black Freighter segment in which the sea captain is
washed ashore at his home port. His paranoid delusions of murderers during this sequence
reflects some of the confusion of friends and foes at the heart of Rorschachs suspicions and
foreshadows the violence ahead for Rorschach and Nite Owl II when they pursue Ozymandias.
The sequence ends with the sea captain fleeing from an angry mob after murdering his family,
and the main narrative follows with Rorschach expressing frustration about hiding from
Added Chapter 10 title card: Two Riders Were Approaching after Nite Owl II and Rorschach
shake hands and decide solve the mystery together.!
Trimmed gratuitous violence/obvious fake teeth close-up shot when Nite Owl II attacks the Knot
Edited together all of the Nite Owl II/Rorschach sleuthing scenes so its more like the comics.
This also moves the story forward rather than having an A storyline resolve itself while the B
storyline (Silk Spectre II/ Dr. Manhattan on Mars) still trudges on.!
Added Chapter 10 end-quote after Ozymandias notices Nite Owl II and Rorschach approaching
his Antarctic compound in the video monitors.!
Chapter 11: Look On My Works, Ye Mighty!
Added Chapter 11 title card: Look on my works, ye mighty when Nite Owl II and Rorschach
break open the doors to the Antarctic compound.!
Trimmed down superhuman martial arts during Rorschach/Nite Owl II/Ozymandias fight scene.!
This chapter includes the final Tales of the Black Freighter segment, in which the sea captain
realizes his defeat and accepts his fate aboard the Black Freighter. During this segment, the sea
captain narrates: How had I reached this appalling position with love, only love, as my guide?
Noble intentions had led me to atrocity. The righteous anger fueling my ingenious, awful
scheme was but delusion. Where was my error? And gradually I understood what innocent
intent had brought me to The unspeakable truth loomed, unavoidable, before me All my
well meaning plans had come to this. The world I tried to save was lost beyond recall I was a
horror; amongst horrors must I dwell. This realization connects with the following chapter in
which the main characters wrestle with their acceptance of Ozymandiass genocidal plan in
disgust, Nite Owl II will remark: You havent idealized mankind, youve deformed it, youve
mutilated it. Thats your legacy. Thats the real practical joke. Ozymandias will be left alone in
his palace.!
Added Chapter 11 end-quote after the attack on New York.!
Chapter 12: A Stronger Loving World!
Removed Nixon/Kissinger scene in War Room because it is redundant we already know that
it was supposedly Dr. Manhattans energy signature because Ozymandias already explained his
plan, and eventually Nixon reveals this same information to the public during the television
address he makes.!
Added Chapter 12 title card: A stronger loving world when Dr. Manhattan and Silk Specture II
survey the wreckage in New York.!
Cut Rorschachs narration: Tonight, a Comedian died in New York so the scene plays more
like the comic.!
Added Chapter 12 end-quote and Who watches the watchmen? Latin quote.!
Added revised slow-motion title sequence with "The Beginning is the End is the Beginning" by
The Smashing Pumpkins. Also replaced the My Chemical Romance song during end credits
with Philip Glass songs chapter Massman and New World from the Naqoyqatsi film score.