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It’s October 21, 2019. The Hollywood Reporter publishes an interview with Regina King the morning after the Watchmen series premiere, presented in the style of how Doctor Manhattan experiences time. It’s October 2 when the interview with King takes place in a Manhattan hotel room, as the once and future Angela Abar admires the poster for the HBO drama: “Now that is freaking cool.”
It’s December 13, two days before the first (and potentially only) Watchmen finale airs on HBO. THR speaks with showrunner Damon Lindelof, who reveals the key to the ending was hiding in plain sight all along: that same poster, featuring King’s Sister Night bathed in blue light, standing in front of a yolkish yellow clock. It’s December 16, two days after the finale, and speaking once again with THR, King finds herself in newfound awe of the poster.
“I’m not even going to lie: I surely did not,” King says when asked if she had known all along that the poster pointed to Angela’s fate as the egg-eating heir apparent to Doctor Manhattan. “I was on social media yesterday and saw a lot of people with the poster up saying, ‘It was right in front of us all along!’ And I went, ‘Oh my god, it was right in front of me all along!’ Jesus, I didn’t even see it!”
It’s December 16 when THR publishes this second conversation with King, in which she surveys the events of Watchmen now that the story has been told. The interview is once again presented in the Doctor Manhattan style, until it’s not — even if King herself is still contemplating Watchmen in that same time-displaced way.
“I feel like I was part of a huge group of virtuosos,” she says. “I couldn’t have had a better band, as far as this cast. I still pinch myself. I’m still pinching myself over episode two and the work I got to do with Lou Gossett. I still pinch myself over episode four and the work I got to do with Jean Smart. These are the moments as an actor where you walk home at the end of the day and go, ‘Yup. Thank you, God. Thanks for that opportunity.'”
Ahead, the most powerful person in the Watchmen universe takes a few quick moments to reflect on the end of the series, and why she’s reluctant to entertain the notion of a second season.
What were your first reactions to the ending?
I was heartbroken. I’m like any other person out there who loves a good love story. I just didn’t want to see the love story end between Doctor Manhattan and Angela — or “Calhattan,” as we called him. I didn’t want to see the love story end. But I also felt like there was a bit of hope that this pain and trauma that has been passed down for generations…if for some reason you would get to see what Angela and the kids’ relationship was going to look like [moving forward], this discovery of each other’s stories, this legacy that Angela has and that she’s discovered, will help these kids that she inherited. It may help them with their trauma.
What did you make of her decision to eat the egg?
Initially, my interpretation of eating the egg was more wrapped up in the love story of it all. I kept looking at it as more of Angela seeing this as one last hope of being able to feel Doctor Manhattan again. That was my thought of it. It wasn’t until I was having a conversation with Chris Cuevas, our A-camera operator, and he was like, “You’re going to be Doctor Manhattan!” And I was like, “No!” I didn’t even realize that was the ending. He said, “What do you think is going to happen, if we come back?” And I said, “She’s going to fall in the pool!”
Do you still feel that way?
No, because not too long after that, I talked to Damon. I told him the same thing. I thought that it was just a continuation of the love story, this idea of ultimate love. This is the greatest love of all! And he was like, “Hm. Interesting.” (Pauses) But no, she’s totally inheriting his powers. (Laughs)
What’s your interest level in seeing Angela as Doctor Manhattan, and your interest in a second season?
I can see myself being involved in a season two if it was really smart. I would need to know the beginning and the endgame, unlike how this season was. I did not know what the endgame was. I just totally trust Damon. I don’t know. There’s a part of me that feels like…it’s just really hard to think we could top season one, you know? There’s that part of me, probably the ego side, that thinks, “Yeah, I want to see what I can do with all those powers.” But the storytelling lover in me, the side that loves watching and reading a good story, wouldn’t want it to [happen] unless it was so smart, with a possibility of hiding Easter eggs, creating new places to go, that it made sense and still connected to the world that was created in the first season. That would have to happen. I don’t know. It seems kind of hard to accomplish that.
Damon has said he doesn’t have the idea for a second season yet but would be open to someone else taking a crack. Would you be open to returning without Damon?
I couldn’t even begin to speak on that. All I can say is if season two came back, I would want it to be comparable to season one. That sounds like a tall hill to climb!
What are your reflections on the totality of what you created in this first season, if this is where it ends?
I have to be honest. I haven’t watched the last three episodes yet. I obviously know what they are because I read them and I shot them, but I haven’t seen the final cuts of them yet. I don’t know, I might feel something different when I actually watch them! I doubt it, but I could! I can tell you how I felt from reading script to script: it just got better. While this was a story based in an alternative history, I just felt like every time we kept moving, especially by the time we reached episode six, it just felt like a story that needed to be told. It needed to be told, and it needed to be told in the way that it was told, so people could take it. You know how people say “a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down”? This didn’t come with a spoonful of sugar.
The interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
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