Find out why the ending of Watchmen in the movie is different from what happens in the comic

A behind-the-scenes look at Watchmen reveals the complexities of bringing the iconic comic to the big screen.

The saga of Watchmenone of the most revolutionary works of comics, written by Alan Moore and drawn by Dave Gibbons, has been the subject of debates and controversies since its publication. However, their film adaptation in 2009 left many fans questioning: why was its ending altered so much?

The genesis of an alternative ending

In 1988, Sam Hamm was commissioned to adapt Watchmen for the big screen. Although his script attempted to be faithful to the source material, there was one significant deviation: the ending. While in the comic Ozymandias creates a giant monster to simulate an alien invasion, in Hamm’s script he opts for a time twist involving Doctor Manhattan.

Zack Snyder Watchmen

Zack Snyder Watchmen

This radical change was due to multiple factors, including the perception that the original ending would not resonate with audiences at the time., saturated with more conventional and less problematic heroes. Hamm considered that the alien monster plot was not only incredible, but it repeated an old cliché already explored in series like The Outer Limits.

Ozymandias and his temporal machination

Hamm’s version shows us an Ozymandias who is not satisfied with deceiving the world with an extraterrestrial threat. His new plan is to travel back in time and prevent Jon Osterman’s transformation into Doctor Manhattan.. This change promised to resolve the nuclear tension without the need for continued deception or threats of invasion.

Despite Hamm’s innovations, The decision to alter the ending was not only creative, but also legal. The ending of the comic bore similarities to the episode “The Architects of Fear” of The Outer Limitssomething Moore openly admitted. This revelation posed a significant legal risk for producerswho could face copyright lawsuits.



The 2009 adaptation and its controversies

When finally Watchmen hit theaters in 2009, director Zack Snyder and screenwriters David Hayter and Alex Tse opted for a middle ground solution. Instead of the monster, they used explosions in key cities around the world, attributing them to Doctor Manhattan. This change, although less drastic than the one proposed by Hamm, still generated division among fans.

The attempt to adapt Watchmen during the Cold War and the challenges faced by filmmakers reflect the complexities of transforming a complex and deeply metaphorical work into a film. The final decision to alter the outcome of Watchmen was based not only on creative considerations, but also on avoid potentially devastating legal complications for the development of the film.


This analysis of the development of the alternative ending of Watchmen uncovers the intricate behind-the-scenes decisions that shape adaptations cinematographic. Although the 2009 version failed to fully capture the essence of the comic, it offered a unique perspective on the challenges of adapting complex narratives to a completely different medium.

In addition to film adaptations, Watchmen It has also been brought to television through a miniseries on HBO. This version, released in 2019, not only adapts the original comic but also expands it, offering a continuation of the story set decades after the end of the original miniseries. Unlike the 2009 film, the series addresses issues of racism and justice, focusing on new characters and further exploring the ethical and social implications of the vigilantes legacy. The series has been praised for its narrative depth and its ability to adapt and respond to contemporary problemsshowing the continued relevance of Watchmen in popular culture.

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