Jeremy Iron's 'Watchmen' role confirmed, but what does it mean for the HBO series?

Sam Ashurst
Zack Snyder’s 2009 adaptation of the Alan Moore comic divided fans. (Warner Bros.)

It was confirmed yesterday that HBO’s upcoming Watchmen series has added Oscar-winner Jeremy Irons to the cast. The Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice actor will play an older version of Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias, the character played by Matthew Goode in the 2009 film adaptation.

HBO also announced that Jean Smart, best known by telly fans for her work on Legion and Fargo, will be joining the cast as an FBI agent investigating a murder. We can thank /Film for breaking the story in the first place.

Actor Jeremy Irons poses for photographers at the photo call for the film ‘Red Sparrow’ in London, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. (Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)

Both additions are significant, and give us major clues about what to expect from Damon Lindelof’s adaptation of Alan Moore’s classic graphic novel.

For one thing, it’s confirmation that this won’t be a straight adaptation along the lines of Zack Snyder’s movie version. Lindelof’s talked about this in the past, describing the series as a contemporary tale. Jeremy Irons’ casting confirms that’s the approach they’ll be taking.

“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 said in an open letter on Instagram. “It has to vibrate with the seismic unpredictability of its own tectonic plates. It must ask new questions and explore the world through a fresh lens. Most importantly, it must be contemporary.”

“The Old Testament was specific to the Eighties of Reagan and Thatcher and Gorbachev. Ours needs to resonate with the frequency of Trump and May and Putin and the horse that he rides around on, shirtless. And speaking of Horsemen, The End of the World is off the table…which means the heroes and villains–as if the two are distinguishable–are playing for different stakes entirely.”

Jean Smart arrives at the premiere of “Legion” season two at the DGA Theater on Monday, April 2, 2018, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

But what will those stakes be? Jean Smart’s casting as an ‘FBI agent investigating a murder’ probably reveals the driving force of the narrative – much like the original book, the new mystery will have a murder as its inciting incident.

Will Ozymandias be a suspect?

One of the biggest dangling plotlines of the original Watchmen comics involved Rorsharch’s diary – which provided firm evidence of Adrian Veidt’s crimes and was delivered to a right-wing newspaper in the final moments of the series.

How will that factor into the TV sequel? We imagine that Veidt got away with it, with a new Rorsharch taking up the investigation into potential new crimes.

In a world of Trump, InfoWars and fake news, Watchmen feels more prescient than ever. Swap out the threat of alien invasion for a caravan of illegal immigrants and we’re basically living in the plot of the book.

Let’s hope the world doesn’t continue to get so surreal the HBO series will feel like a documentary when it eventually airs in 2019.

WATCH: Original Watchmen star Patrick Wilson wants to return in HBO series…

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