New HBO 'Watchmen' Teasers: WTF Is Damon Lindelof Planning?

HBO's upcoming Watchmen looks more ominous by the week. Two new teasers released on Instagram Tuesday afternoon only raise more questions about the state of vigilantism in Damon Lindelof's adaptation.

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Masks Save Lives. #WatchmenHBO

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The first video shows policemen, with yellow masks covering everything but their eyes, lined up on both sides of a hallway. "Masks Save Lives," the caption reads. The second teaser shows a single officer in front of headlights in pitch dark. "Hiding in plain sight," says the caption. The official HBO account commented underneath, "Sometimes it's easier to hide in plain sight than in dark corners."

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The first teaser debuted the policeman donning the yellow masks, and posed an age-old question raised in the original graphic novel: Who watches the Watchmen? Why doesn't the law protect the people it's meant to serve? Where's the oversight to balance out the corruption that inevitably comes with absolute power? That's where the vigilantes come into play. But then, who's watching them? Not unlike the police, they follow their own rules, hence the driving inspiration for Alan Moore's original story.

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Who Watches The Watchmen? #WatchmenHBO

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This leads us to the "hiding in plain sight" tease. The most obvious (though Lindelof isn't known for obvious, as one of the creators of Lost and The Leftovers) explanation is the vigilantes in the new Watchmen universe protect their identities by blending in with the police. Instead of hiding their identities, the new generation of vigilantes keep their enemies closer in order to to protect the people they aim to serve. The original Watchmen ultimately suggests the very natures of both a police uniform and a mask are problematic, and it looks like the series will explore what lies between, which was largely left up to interpretation when the graphic novel ended. Perhaps in response to vigilantism, cops now use masks to hide their identities, just like vigilantes used to?

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The only official graphic for HBO's 'Watchmen.' HBO

The new landing page for Watchmen on the HBO website also spotlights a quote from original Watchmen creator Dave Gibbons. "The reality it inhabits is one that feels quite authentic. It's not here, it's not now, it's something slightly sideways," he told Deadline in September. We may not know much, except for the fact this show is poised to be wild.

Adding more fuel to the fire, last week's set photos showed what appeared to be an in-story docuseries called American Hero Story: Minutemen. An advertisement on the side of a bus includes an image of Hooded Justice, the first-ever masked vigilante in the Watchmen universe. His identity was never revealed, but his actions inspired the early costumed heroes. Consider him another of Watchmen 's many lingering mysteries. (You can read more about the importance of Watchmen's story within a story, here.)

Emmy-winner Jean Smart (Fraiser) is the latest actor to join the cast, playing an FBI agent investigating a murder. Early speculation points to her character being related to the Comedian somehow, since her last name is Blake. Oscar-winner Jeremy Irons (Reversal of Fortune) is rumored to play an older version of Ozymandias. The rest of the cast is relatively unknown. Take a look at the full list below.

Regina King (The Leftovers), Golden Globe-winner Don Johnson (Miami Vice), Tom Mison (Sleepy Hollow), Frances Fisher (Titanic), Jacob Ming-Trent (Superfly), Tim Blake Nelson (HBO's Warm Springs), Oscar-winner Louis Gossett Jr. (An Officer and a Gentleman), Andrew Howard (Boardwalk Empire), Yahya Abdul-Matteen II (First Match), Sara Vickers (Endeavor) and James Wolk (Tell Me a Story). Also, are young actors Dylan Schombing (Sharp Objects), Lily Rose Smith (The Vampire Diaries), and Adelynn Spoon. Nine Inch Nails is creating the original score for the series.

Watchmen comes to HBO in 2019.