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Watchmen: More Mysterious Stills From HBO Series Hit The Web

Who watches the Watchmen? Every single HBO subscriber, if the premium cable network gets their way.

The Instagram account for the forthcoming series posted two more enigmatic stills this morning, both expanding on the single teaser image released last month. That pic, of a uniformed police officer with his face obscured by a yellow mask, was enough to ignite intense speculation; the new followup stills should stoke said speculation to a roaring blaze.

The first image features a bakers' dozen of similarly-clad officers standing at attention in a drab hallway. The caption reads simply, "Masks save lives," which could be interpreted one of several ways. Are the officers themselves the "masks," saving the lives of ordinary citizens? Or does the caption imply that wearing these masks somehow safeguards the lives of the officers? Also: who are they standing at attention for? 

The second image depicts a masked officer shining their flashlight in search of... someone, while their squad car — its heavily fortified bumper the same odd shade of yellow as that face mask — looms in the background. This still features the even more enigmatic caption "Hiding in plain sight," which could similarly mean a lot of things. Is the officer hiding (under the mask) in plain sight? Is it the officer's quarry that's hiding, and if this quarry is indeed in plain sight, then why the flashlight? Is it both? Is it neither? 

While these images don't tell us much, that is quite obviously the point. Creator Damon Lindelof has described the series as neither a reboot nor a direct continuation of the original graphic novel series and Zack Snyder's 2009 feature film adaptation, suggesting that the source material is "sacred ground" upon which he and his team will build a new story. "We are not making a 'sequel,'" Lindelof said in an open letter to fans. "This story will be set in the world its creators painstakingly built.... But in the tradition of the work that inspired it, this new story must be original."

Lindelof's statements also seem to throw water on any speculation that all of this law enforcement-based imagery could be building to a look at Hollis Mason, AKA Nite Owl, who began his crime-fighting career as a police officer and perished during the events of the comic series. "Those original twelve issues are our Old Testament," he wrote. "When the New Testament came along, it did not erase what came before it... It all happened. And so it will be with Watchmen. The Comedian died. Dan and Laurie fell in love. Ozymandias saved the world and Dr. Manhattan left it just after blowing Rorschach to pieces in the bitter cold of Antarctica. To be clear. Watchmen is canon."

Of course, Lindelof is no stranger to misdirection and carefully-worded statements obscuring his actual intent. We're talking, after all, about the man who co-created Lost and co-wrote Prometheus, two of the more ambiguous, plot-twisty properties of the last two decades or so. These images seem specifically calibrated to generate buzz and ignite discussion while revealing next to nothing, which is exactly what we all should have expected the moment Lindelof became involved.

Watchmen's fan base tends to be fiercely protective of the property's legacy, and each new announcement regarding the series has been met with an even mixture of excitement and trepidation. But Lindelof and company certainly seem to be operating in the spirit of their source material, and there's no question that they have assembled an absolutely killer cast including Regina King, Louis Gossett, Jr., Don Johnson, Tim Blake Nelson, and Oscar winner Jeremy Irons as an older version of Adrian Veidt AKA Ozymandias.

HBO's Watchmen will premiere sometime in 2019; we'll have additional details as they become available.

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Masks Save Lives. #WatchmenHBO

A post shared by Watchmen (@watchmen) on Nov 20, 2018 at 10:23am PST

View this post on Instagram

Hiding in plain sight. #WatchmenHBO

A post shared by Watchmen (@watchmen) on Nov 20, 2018 at 10:24am PST