Alternative Watchmen Ending – Zack Snyder Responds to Joel Silver


Following criticisms by Joel Silver that his Watchmen film was “too much of a slave to the material” as compared with Terry Gilliam’s unmade version, Zack Snyder has defended his directorial choices, saying that he adapted Watchmen himself in order to “save it from the Terry Gilliams of this world”.

Silver, whose producing credits include Die Hard, Predator and Sherlock Holmes, was once attached to work on a very different Watchmen movie, with Terry Gilliam as director working from a script by Sam Hamm and Charles McKeown. His initial comments emerged during an interview with Coming Soon, in which he spoke about their never-realised plans. According to Silver, 

“instead of the whole notion of the intergalactic thing, which was too hard and too silly, what he did was maintain that the existence of Doctor Manhattan had changed the whole balance of the world economy, the world political structure. He felt that THAT character had really altered the way reality had been. He had the Ozymandias character convince, essentially, Doctor Manhattan to go back and stop himself from being created, so there never would be a Doctor Manhattan character. And in the vortex that was created after that occurred, these characters from Watchmen only became characters in a comic book”.

watchmen smileyThough Silver did insist that he had liked Snyder’s movie “very much”, he felt that Gilliam’s version would have been a “MUCH much better movie” which “gave a very satisfying resolution to the story”. 

Naturally though, Snyder himself was inclined to disagree. In a separate interview with the Huffington Post this week, he described his own film as having retained the graphic novel’s strong satirical message, while,

“the Gilliam version, if you look at it, it has nothing to do with the idea that is the end of the graphic novel. And that’s the thing that I would go, ‘Well, then don’t do it.’ It doesn’t make any sense.”

Silver’s comments are interesting given that one of the things Snyder’s film is most often criticised for is changing the original ending as written by Alan Moore. Arguably, however, Snyder’s ending is tighter, tying up loose ends more neatly than did Moore’s, a change which he and many others view as a positive improvement. However, in Snyder’s own words, he “would not have grabbed something from out of the air and said, ‘Oh, here’s a cool ending,’ just because it’s cool.”

By contrast, though perhaps more creative and interesting – more “META” as Coming Soon has it – the proposed alternative ending would undoubtedly have made things much more complex and potentially more confusing. One can only speculate, however: whether or not the Gilliam version could have worked in its own right we will most likely never know. Either way though, it’s fairly safe to assume that any change so drastic would inevitably have provoked a backlash from many of the graphic novel’s most loyal fans, and that’s before we even consider the notoriously critical writer’s own reaction.

Ultimately, it’s likely to be something that divides opinion, but do let us know your thoughts. Do you support Snyder’s faithfulness to his source material, or would you have liked to have seen a more imaginative reinterpretation?

Sources: Den of Geek | The Huffington Post | Coming Soon

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