Home Entertainment Terry Gilliam's WATCHMEN would have had a very different ending

Terry Gilliam's WATCHMEN would have had a very different ending

3 min read


By the time that Zack Snyder had finally released Watchmen upon the world in 2009, the film had gone through development hell and back. Directors, writers and all manner of producers over the years had tried to make the movie, while writer Alan Moore sat in a corner and was a genuine pain in the ass.

At one point, Terry “12 Monkeys” Gilliam was going to direct the movie. And his version would have had a very different ending.For those of you who don’t remember, Snyder’s film was, beat for beat, one with the source material. The only real change however, was in how Ozymandias murdered millions, preferring to use a Dr Manhattan inspired energy bomb instead of psychic mutant bomb squid thingy. An understandable change, really.

Gilliam had a far more insane ending however, something which his producer at the time Joel Silver feels was far superior to the Snyder version. Speaking to Coming Soon, Silver felt that Snyder was ” too much of a slave to the material.” The Gilliam ending, would have given the film a whole new twist:

What he did was he told the story as-is, but instead of the whole notion of the intergalactic thing which was too hard and too silly, what he did was he maintained that the existence of Doctor Manhattan had changed the whole balance of the world economy, the world political structure. He felt that THAT character really altered the way reality had been. He had the Ozymandias character convince, essentially, the Doctor Manhattan character to go back and stop himself from being created, so there never would be a Doctor Manhattan character. He was the only character with real supernatural powers, he went back and prevented himself from being turned into Doctor Manhattan, and in the vortex that was created after that occurred these characters from “Watchmen” only became characters in a comic book.

Silver explained further:

So the three characters, I think it was Rorschach and Nite Owl and Silk Spectre, they’re all of the sudden in Times Square and there’s a kid reading a comic book. They become like the people in Times Square dressing up like characters as opposed to really BEING those characters. There’s a kid reading the comic book and he’s like, “Hey, you’re just like in my comic book.” It was very smart, it was very articulate, and it really gave a very satisfying resolution to the story, but it just didn’t happen. Lost to time.

Crazy. I’m not saying that it’s a bad ending and I quite dig it, but I still reckon that Zack Snyder knocked a helluva homerun with his version of Watchmen. Long considered to be unfilmable by its co-creator Alan Moore, Snyder didn’t just prove him wrong. He shut him up with a breath-taking production and effort. It’s worth watching the director’s cut of the movie, to really appreciate what Snyder pulled off here.

Last Updated: February 28, 2014

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