"To Introduce our Guest Star, that's What I'm Here to Do..." The Hensonverse Fan Contribution Thread

I'm responding to your PM right now, on first glance I don't see any conflicts with what I had in my notes for any future Rams updates.
Terribly sorry for the mix up, I'll let you know next time I post anything sports related.
@Geekhis Khan

We're good. Taking Bettis from the Steelers did move stuff around for the AFC ITTL but not in anyway that conflicts with what @MNM041 is going for here. For my own notes, and I'm jotting down that the ITTL St. Louis Stallions beat the Chargers in their September 28, 1997 matchup whereas the IOTL Baltimore Ravens lost that game 21-17 thus giving the Chargers that 3-13 record mentioned in the post.
Here, Kitty Kitty...
Remembering Catwoman (1998)
From Remember When? Netsite, by Hippolyta “Hip” O’Campus
A guest post by @Plateosaurus and @Nathanoraptor with assistance from @MNM041 and Mr. Harris Syed


Most certainly not this.

Remember when DC’s feline thief Catwoman had her own movie? I do, and so should you.

It all began in the late 90’s with DC’s films at a crossroads. Sam Raimi’s exile from the growing DC movie continuity (and subsequent defection to Marvel) still loomed large - with fans outraged by how Raimi had been treated. Garry Marshall had managed to salvage The Justice League - which had been a commercial success and gained mixed-to-positive reviews, despite fan outrage. Despite that, there were fears in the upper echelons of WB that it had been a fluke - so the consensus was made that it was best to do a mid-budget movie without the need for expensive visual effects. The character chosen was Batman’s femme fatale Selina Kyle, AKA Catwoman, who was a popular character in her own right, the popularity of Uma Thurman’s take notwithstanding.

Whilst a Catwoman solo had been banded around during Raimi’s time, current Catwoman actor Uma Thurman declared herself out, angry at how Raimi had been treated. While Raimi’s outline was discarded, the final script, written by Stephen Peters, included many elements of it. The script gave a different tone then the dark, noir and gothic-influenced Raimi films, one more lighthearted and more in the vein of Besson’s Penguin’s Gambit, inspired by classic caper and heist movies of the 60’s like Ocean’s Eleven with witty banter throughout and set in the sunny and lively caribbean city of Santa Gertrudis (named after the patron saint of cats), as well as a jazzy, saxophone and bongos-heavy score, ultimately provided by the great James Newton Howard. However most crucially to the film’s story is that it would be a very self-contained one: references to the previous films would not be outright spoken or brought up. This was intentionally done to be more accesble to general audiences and not cobfuse newcomers.

The story begins with Catwoman after her latest quarry, a rare gem at Gotham's Museum of Earth History. She initially does well and manages to snag the gem, but at the last moment she is alerted and has to make a getaway across the rooftops. She returns home to her penthouse, her cats, and her housekeeper Isabelle (her Alfred as it were). A few days later, Selina hosts a fundraising gala for animal welfare, and learns that billionaire Edward Hundford has a set of gold statues from Thailand. Taking interest, she decides to steal one of them, but Hundford’s security is too much even for her. Realising even she can’t pull off the burglary alone, she decides to assemble a crack team of fellow burglars and thieves, intentionally letting gems in her possession be left out to be stolen to determine who’s best for the job. Sure enough, four other thieves take it, under the guise of being their benefactors. She selects four of the most successful, including art thief and master of disguise Teresa Li Hu, Thomas Blake, a special forces officer turned thief (who in comics is of course the villain Catman), savy hacker and engineer Chuck Browning (a renamed-from-the-comics Kite-Man), and the seemingly-chummy scientist Christina Chiles.

Soon, the classic beats of a caper film play out: casing the joint in the form of the mansion vault that Hundford stores the statues in, planning the heist, infiltrating via a party, the heist itself, one member (that being Chiles to collect a monetary reward she wants) ratting the team out for her own purposes, and finally giving it their all to successfully steal the mark, and a climactic chase scene with the authorities and make their getaway, and succeed with their loot. The script ends with the team going their separate ways, and Catwoman and Teresa driving off together, agreeing for a partnership (in business officially, but the obvious sapphic implications are there, even lampshaded by Thomas and Chuck).

While Quentin Tarantino expressed interest in directing (but had to pass on the film for [spoilers here] and didn’t want execs’ potential interference), and the shortlist included the likes of Brad Bird, Caroline Thompson, and Kathryn Bigelow (right after doing Wonder Woman) among others, ultimately it would be Mimi Leder would get the director’s chair, best known for her TV work at the time. The cast would be fairly small, but included Erika Eleniak filling in for Thurman, with Michelle Reis, Antonio Banderas, Bob Saget, and Parker Posey as the heist members, Rita Moreno as Isabelle, and Eric Roberts as Hundford.

Filming would take place in Queensland, Australia in the southern hemisphere winter of 1997. Unfortunately, production would hit some tight spots: many of the cast and crew didn’t get along (reportedly, Erika Eleniak yelled at both Banderas, Saget, and several members of the crew after being repeatedly teased about Baywatch - to which they later apologised), and a few sets were badly destroyed by a cyclone[1]. It even got to the point Leder and Eleniak considered walking out on it at separate times.

To help alleviate this, the Wachowski siblings were bought in for both rewrites and reshoots in between their own production on Transhuman. They were even offered the full director’s chair for reshoots - in the seemingly likely case Leder quit or was fired. While the Wachowskis declined to work on their project, many scenes do clearly bear their marks in both dialogue and action.

In particular the biggest changes to the script were focusing more on the relationship between Selina Kyle and Teresa, and gave her a character arc and overall exploring the psychology of her. It is here we see the film’s major character arc in question: Catwoman’s transformation from self-interested adrenaline junkie who steals for the thrill of it to a more anti-heroic character - reflecting a shift that was becoming popular in DC media at that time. The corrupt Hundford makes for a logical antagonist for Selina and her crew - his irredeemable greed and corruption making the crew’s nobler qualities shine through. Throughout the film, Teresa acts as a conscience to Selina - bringing out her more sympathetic qualities and getting her to tone down her worse ones.

There was also some debate on whether to include Batman himself in the film as a supporting role: the Execs pushed for this to be a surprise appearance not to be spoiled in adverts and rely on word of mouth to build up hype. However, Mimi and Uma disagreed, saying that the film was Catwoman’s and she was not to be overshadowed in her own movie. In the end, a compromise was created; whilst Bruce Wayne (once again played by Tom Seizmore) does appear in two scenes, Batman is only alluded to - most notably during the opening heist, and when Chuck is voicing his concerns to Selina about the heist that Batman is on their trail.

The film would ultimately be released in March 1998 to fairly mixed reviews. Critics liked the tight retro-styled action and setpieces of it and the fun banter between Selina and her crew as well as Ericka’s performance as Catwoman was as good as if not surpassing Thurman’s. Reception from fans were more tepid: whilst they too commended the film for including obscure characters and Catwoman’s anti-heroic portrayal, they ultimately found it a letdown and were annoyerd at how it was not a solo Catwoman film proper; that’s not getting into the ones who boycotted the film after learning hat was going on behind the scenes. The film was a financial disappointment, grossing just $117.2 million on a $40-turned $50 million budget. The film’s underperformance led many at DC and WB to fear that The Justice League had indeed been an omen of increasingly terrible returns. The same thing also put the kibosh on several planned projects for the universe.

It didn’t help that just three months after release, the tragic death of Robert Downey Jr. would occur, casting a shadow over Catwoman's release. Two years later, the film was overshadowed by Aquaman, which proved to be a commercial and critical success. Catwoman was dismissed at best as a passable and at worst forgettable film - interesting, yes, and fun at times, but rather forgettable if not skippable in the grand scheme of the DC movies.

Fortunately, its legacy would loom surprisingly large: many of its characters, whether new or revised, would appear in subsequent DC comics, like Kitsune[3]. The film's soundtrack would sell platinum, featuring singers like Aaliyah, Kristen Pfaff, and of course, the Tejano legend sharing our lead's name, Selina. And inevitably, LGBTQ+ fans and filmgoers loved the interactions between Selina and Terry. Eleniak was in particular praised as Kyle, perfectly nailing the confident and seductive nature of the character while adding elements of vulnerability and nuance to the character. However, one must not be remiss to mention other performances: Bob Saget's show-stealing portrayal of Chuck turned one of the lamest Batman villains of all time into an anti-hero answer to Oracle (but also with a lame criminal alias).

However moderate, the film’s success would also help spur a wave of other heist stories, many of which would also borrow from the mid-20th century in aesthetics and story, from both remakes of classics like Seven Thieves and The Italian Job to an adaptation of the manga Cat’s Eye. By the 2010s, fans would come around on Catwoman, regarding it as a solid and hardly lesser addition among the DC Film canon, appreciating Ericka’s character, action and themes of it.

Say what you will about the behind the scenes drama, but for being a fun, sensual ride that does her character justice and more, Catwoman is a film worth remembering.

[1] Not one from OTL, but a different one created by random butterflies (HA! Original meaning!).
[2] RDJ’s death doesn’t mean the end of Superman in the DCMU. He will return but stay tuned courtesy of @Nathanoraptor for how.
[3] While its usually with Catwoman, she notably she does partner up with a few other characters for separate runs.
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It just occurred to me, this film would have come out the same year as Dirty Jobs, which Bob Saget directed ITTL, and if I recall correctly that film still exists in a fairly similar form, so this certainly would have been a busy year for him.
On a separate note, if anyone who's not overly familiar with Kite Man is wondering why he's mentioned as being renamed from the comics, that's because he's actual name is Charlie Brown and we figured that would probably cause Charles Schultz to sue.
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Meanwhile, in Wakka-Wakka-Kanda...
Random Superhero Movie of the Week: Lion-Man (1998)
From ComicsCraze.com Netsite
Guest post by @Plateosaurus with assistance from Mr. Harris Syed


Adapted by the director of Fantastic Four (2005) and Barbershop

B-movie producer Roger Corman has never met a film trend he didn’t exploit, and has subsequently racked up one of the most impressive repertoires in Hollywood and in the process launched the careers of dozens of A-list actors and directors, so its no surprise he would make his fair share of superhero films, if ones on the cheap and tacky side[1]. As we have seen, it started with Strix in 1993 and has spawned a whole line of superhero films that were mockbusters of both Marvel and DC while impressively still coming off as their own thing. 1998’s Lion-Man would however differ from them, as not only was it a cash-in of a Marvel movie, it was adapted from a pre-existing work.

Even today, Lion-Man is often regarded even among most fans as just being a ripoff of Black Panther. However, this is simply not true: Lion-Man as a character was created nineteen years before Black Panther and so by definition cannot be so. To clarify, it was published by the now-defunct All-Negro Comics, and only lasted one issue in 1947 before the racist assholes of the time killed its parent comic off. It got forgotten soon after, and entered public domain for the rest of the century, with many artists taking advantage of it. Roger Corman only found out about it in a comic encyclopedia he read in 1995. Ever the savvy guy, he scooped it up alongside some other public domain heroes (although credit’s due since he at least credited Geo J. Evans Jr. as the creators of him). Once word got out about Marvel producing Black Panther as their next Marvel Movie Universe outing, that’s when the idea for Lion-Man was born. To direct the film, a then-unknown Tim Story was chosen after Corman saw an indie film of his. At the time he was mostly just a music video director for hip-hop and rap artists.

The film’s story follow’s Lion-Man’s alter ego (he had no name in the comic), Felix Layeni, a veterinarian at the Memphis Zoo, a kindly man who treats animals and people alike, who goes to Africa (but clearly rural California) alongside his friend Ben “Scramble” Eggers to help out at a wildlife conservancy. While there he decides to meet his grandfather, only he shows him a magic gem, and tell him they come from a long line of warriors who defend the land from a great evil: Taa’Koraa, the Akan spirit of war and conflict[3]. While Felix is reluctant to take up the mantle, he changes his mind when Taa’Koraa is unleashed by a greedy thief, and so he must take up the mantle of Lion-Man to stop him and his underlings, especially when Taa’Koraa follows him back home and plans on targeting the ambassador of the home nation to spark a war to destroy it.

Produced for just $3 million dollars, Lion-Man’s B-movie mockbuster nature shows: Most of the fights and African backgrounds not California are clearly shot on green screened or stock footage, and the costumes for Taa’Korra and his henchmen are evidently made on the cheap from good ol’ foam rubber, although Lion-Man himself ain't too bad by comparison, the costume, best described as Hercules wearing a golden jumpsuit under his nemean pelt, just as cheesy as it sounds. Similarly, the props, which are made up of imitations of assorted African cultures, aren't too good and cheap-looking, many looking like they were bought from a party store (and probably were). Ironically, the budget was actually lower at just $950,000 and to be filmed entirely in the Los Angeles area, but Tim convinced New World Pictures to location shoot many of the American scenes in Memphis, Tennessee and work with local actors as he felt that a black-led superhero film should be shot in a historically significant black city after Atlanta, Georgia was rejected due to budgetary concerns. Corman agreed, and even got an investor from the state to help with the production. For those from the area, you’ll see plenty of local landmarks throughout the film, most prominently the Memphis Zoo’s Egyptian architecture and the Memphis Pyramid (back before it was an amusement park[4]) providing the setting for the climactic battle.

The tone of the film is relatively serious, with the characters and Story giving rather straightforward. However, the low budget naturally creates a campy and unintentionally silly atmosphere that can make some scenes rather hard to take them at face value. However the film is not subsequently like the Silver Age, but more reminiscent of the Bronze Age, especially in regards to the mixture of pathos, grit and wonder. As for themes and commentary... there’s not really any, unlike Black Panther or even Meteor Man. At most, you have some postcolonialism critiques, like Taa’Koraa apparently causing the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade for kicks, but those are pretty minor and aren’t a huge part of the narrative overall.

Castwise, Lion-Man is a mix of obscure actors, up and comers, and veteran character actors. Our hero is played by Jeffrey D. Sams, an actor largely known for his television work and not really film. Similarly, Taa’Koraa is portrayed by Steve Harris of The Practice fame while Lion-Man’s parents are played by Reg E. Cathey and Cassi Davis respectively. You’ve also got Corbie Bernsen as Ben “Scramble” Eggers and Kristin Bauer Van Straten as zookeeper/love interest Audrey Davis complete with an exaggerated Southern accent. Last but definitely not the least, Bill Cobbs, who you’ll recognize in some noteworthy films and television shows, portrays Lion-Man’s grandfather. Much like it’s better known panther counterpart, Lion-Man has a mostly black cast barring extras, Scramble, and June, and even the latter two are only supporting characters at best. Most of the actors’ performances are fine and competent, though hardly remarkable - with the exception of Harris’, who’d as you’d imagine goes over the top and hammy, and its all the better for it.

The film would make have a limited theatrical release just a month after Black Panther, and while it did make its budget back, with a low budget it wasn’t a high bar to clear, only $4.2 million. Thankfully, VHS and VCD sales, if New World’s word is any indication, were better, and aired many times on TV to some success, particularly Sci-Fi Channel and other late-night cable channels.

Overall, Lion-Man is pretty decent, if only as far as cash-ins and Corman’s superheroes go: There is legitimate effort put into the action scenes, Sams gives a pretty good, charismatic performance, and Tim Story does show the flashes of genius he’ll show in his future works. I can see why the film is a bit of a cult classic, but at the end of the day, Lion-Man is still a low-budget cash-in to the much better Black Panther, and otherwise it's not an outright classic. However, the legacy of Lion-Man did not end with the film: It was seen by comics artist Denys Cowan, one of the founders of Milestone Media[5], who developed an interest in the character after seeing the film and subsequently reading about it, and so adapted the character himself for that company alongside Dwayne McDuffie, writing a decent 12-issue series with eventual followups. It stayed a bit closer to the comic’s premise of a college-educated American protecting local resources along Ghana’s Gold Coast, but retained the mystical elements of the film, along with the secret identity of Felix. Worth noting is that due to the way things were written and filed, while Lion-Man continues to be public domain, the Felix Layeni incarnation of the character is co-owned by both Milestone and Corman’s New World. In the end, I give Lion-Man a 6.2/10: hardly up there with even the decent superhero flicks from the Big Two and others, but still a fun experience that does enough competently to peak its head up into enjoyably campy territory.

[1] ITTL, Disney’s earlier purchase of Marvel meant that Roger Corman’s New World Pictures and Constantin Film never got the chance to make the infamous 1994 unreleased Fantastic Four movie and The Punisher (1989). Therefore, Corman turns to making original characters or scooping up obscure comics characters to cash in on the superhero movie boom of the 1990s.
[2] IOTL Roger Corman has produced another superhero film on Showtime, a Made for TV one called Black Scorpion. The film has been butterflied.
[3] His basis Tano Akora wasn’t like this in Akan mythology, but hey, what do you expect from a cheap cash-in B-movie?
[4] How did that happen? Stay tuned!
[5] IOTL, Milestone started to go down the drain around this time due to increasingly poor sales before being folded into DC. However, with the comics industry in a more financially fortunate position in TTL’s 1990s and their comic readership among Whites being higher, its doing much better to keep it afloat.
It's a mockbuster. I just had to submit it in close proximity to Black Panther (in the Hensonverse), just as mockbusters are wont to.
That is absolutely delightful, and it's really interesting how public-domain comic characters are getting a chance at the big screen too. I really like that it's not just Marvel and DC hogging all the stage light
Spider-Man Returns
Happy New Year! And to all you true believers, here is the retrospective for ITTL Spider-Man 3. Enjoy!


Spider-Man’s 3 (1995) Retrospective
Post from Geeks and Capes Net-blog, by Jacob Buller. April 12th, 2018

Often regarded as one of the best Marvel superhero movies of the 1990’s, 1995’s Spider-Man 3 to this very day remains the big fan favorite among Spider-Man fans. Capping off the 90’s Seth Green Spider-Man trilogy, the film saw Spider-Man face off against his greatest nemesis the Green Goblin in a cinematic adaptation of the classic comic The Night Gwen Stacey Died and to a lesser extent Spider-Man No-More, the former of which would be adapted in the film’s climactic final battle over the Brooklyn Bridge and the later being adapted with parts of the film’s ending.


The Night Gwen Stacy Died and Spider-Man No More, two famous comics which would influence the ending of the third Seth Green Spider-Man film. (Image Source: Pinterest)

Plot wise the film saw Peter Parker, now much more experienced as a hero, finding his life becoming much more stable as he has finally been able to master the lesson of the previous film and learn to better balance his double life, even while attending college at Empire State University. As Spider-Man he’s become much more accepted by the people of New York City, while as Peter Parker he’s found himself making a new close best friend in one of his new roommates, Harry Osborn (played by Henry Simmons) [1]. Even Peter’s Aunt May (now played by Diana Rigg, following the passing of the previous actress Jessica Tandy) is healthy and okay, reducing the stress Peter faces over her health.

Of course not everything is hunky dory for our hero, as Peter as Spider-Man has to deal with the threat of a mysterious and terrifying new villain named the Green Goblin. Goblin, as we quickly find out, is attempting to control all crime in New York, taking out old crime boss Silvio ‘Silvermane’ Manfredi (played briefly by Christopher Plummer) in the opening scene of the film and getting into a turf war with Tombstone (Morris Chestnut), Silvermane’s former right hand Hammerhead (Shaun Williamson), and the yet unseen and equally mysterious rising force in the so-called Kingpin of Crime [2], whose mercenary forces are led by the fearsome Shocker (played in a memorable performance by Australian actor Ben Mendelsohn). Worse is that the Goblin, who is later revealed to be none other than Norman Osborn, the father of Peter’s roommate and best friend Harry, has learned Peter’s secret identity thus putting all of Peter’s various loved ones at risk.

Spidey must therefore use all his wits and skill as New York City descends into chaos, forcing the webhead to not only battle all three gangs, but also take out the deadly and terrifying villain who started it all, a villain who not only poses a threat to Spider-Man, but to Peter Parker and those he loves dearly.


The three figures who would battle the Goblin and fight for control over the underworld of New York City following the assassination of Silvermane at the hands of the Goblin: Shocker (under the command of Kingpin), Hammerhead, and Tombstone [4]. While ultimately little more than glorified cameos in the film, their brief scenes do ultimately leave a small lasting impact on the story, driving much of the gang war plot that the first act of the film centers around. (Source: Edited and combined with by @Nerdman3000)

Yet the emergence of what seems to be his greatest foe and a literal gang war isn’t the only issue plaguing Peter at the moment, as for all the relative good things going for him in his personal life, there is one significant dark spot these days clouding everything in the form of his relationship with Mary Jane. Said relationship, to Peter’s lament, seems to be falling apart at the moment as the two find themselves constantly arguing nowadays. Peter, who has grown increasingly concerned by MJ’s obsessive partying lifestyle, finds his efforts to get through to her rebuffed. Eventually the two even break up after a particularly vicious argument, leading to a saddened Peter to have to watch as Mary Jane continues to spiral into a slow breakdown as the defense mechanism she built around herself to get away from the pain of life and her father’s abuse ends up slowly destroying her.

There is however one bit of light for both characters in the form of Gwen Stacy, Mary Jane’s roommate and Peter’s academic rival, who is played by Rachel Blanchard. It is Gwen, rather than Peter [3], who eventually is able to pierce the shield MJ has built around herself and finally get through to Mary Jane and help lead her out of the darkness before she completely destroys herself. It overall becomes a surprising look into the struggles people can have with mental health that was unexpected yet ultimately quite poignantly done.

In regards to her relationship with Peter meanwhile, Marvel chose to reduce Gwen’s role as a love interest to Peter in the film when compared to the comics. Instead the possibility of a eventual relationship between the two is only barely ever hinted at before Gwen’s tragic death at the end of the film, with Gwen ultimately being merely Peter’s academic rival and lab partner, who due to tragic circumstance finds her life taken in the crossfire of a battle between Spider-Man and the Green Goblin. This occurs after Norman mistakes Gwen as Peter’s girlfriend after seeing the two interact at a gala [4] Norman is hosting to celebrate the end of the gang war, leading him to go after her and eventual kill her [5].


Actress Rachel Blanchard during the premiere of the 1995 film. Blanchard’s smart and kindhearted Gwen Stacy would ultimately become a victim of circumstance when she is killed by Green Goblin due to her association with Peter Parker, leading to the latter to quit being Spider-Man (source: imagecollect.com)

Though Gwen still remains an important character in the film and still leaves a strong lasting influence and guilt in Peter going forward, the decision to not have her and Peter ever date before her death was still nonetheless a surprising and significant change made on the part of the filmmakers, even if it was perhaps an understandable one. Not only would it likely have been infeasible to set her up as Peter’s girlfriend amidst an already packed film and then kill her off in the last act while also having Peter and MJ break up all in one film, but doing so probably would have made Gwen seemed quite two-faced if she helps Mary-Jane overcome her demons only for her then to steal the love of Mary Jane’s life.

As director Josh Weadon made clear in a followup interview a few years later, “I didn’t want Gwen and MJ to be another Betty and Veronica love triangle situation like you’d expect to see in most films. We’d already did that in the animated series a few years before and I wanted to do something different here with them. These two aren’t rivals for Peter’s affections. There’s no jealousy between them. The tragedy of Gwen here isn’t that she’s the love interest who dies, it’s that she’s a decent human being who tried to help a friend and that inadvertently led to her death.”

Ultimately however, girlfriend or not, the death of Gwen Stacy remains a pivotal moment in the film and Spider-Man film franchise going forward, even managing to shock the few audience members who weren’t aware of the looming death beforehand. Not only does her death at the hands of the Green Goblin help to bring a grief stricken Peter and MJ closer together again (though they do not get back together until the very end of the film), but it also leads Peter to briefly quit being Spider-Man upon slipping into a depression as he feels like a failure. It’s only upon speaking to Gwen’s father Captain George Stacy (played by Dennis Quaid) when visiting Gwen’s grave that Peter at last gets the motivation to overcome his fatal mistake and take up the suit once more in order to face the Green Goblin, who has now risen to fully take over New York’s criminal underworld, thereby leading to a deadly final battle that ends with Norman’s death at the hands of his own glider.


The Green Goblin, who serves as a dark reflection of Spider-Man and Peter, has a design in the film based on concept art by Alex Ross (source: Pinterest)

Peter thus ends the film in a darker place than where he began it, but nonetheless having overcome his greatest challenge even after having suffered his greatest of defeats. In this way, Spider-Man 3 cements the core theme which lies at the heart of the film: overcoming failure and tough times. Just as Spider-Man 1 was about puberty and Spider-Man 2 was about the growing pains of becoming an adult, Spider-Man 3 is ultimately about Peter Parker becoming a man and learning to deal with setbacks and hardship in a mature, constructive manner. While Peter’s mistake in first not pursuing Goblin after he escapes the fight between him, Shocker, and Goblin later comes back to haunt him when it leads to Gwen’s death, his ability to eventually, after doubting himself and nearly quitting, overcoming that mistake to try to still be a hero stands at the center of what the character himself and story of this particular fan pleasing film is all about.

That is of course not to say there weren’t some small complaints leveled at the film by some dissatisfied fans at the time. While the complaints did mostly center around the decision to not make Gwen a love interest, another common complaint often made towards the film by fans was on the role of the three side villains of the film: Shocker, Tombstone, and Hammerhead. Some fans would complain that all three villains were ultimately little more than glorified cameos who only have less than five minutes of screentime [6]. Other complaints were that most of the gang war in the beginning of the film basically happens offscreen [7], outside of a montage, up until a truce meeting scene between the three gangs that Green Goblin crashes which leads to the threeway fight between Shocker, Goblin, and Spider-Man that ends the gang war. Considering how much of the advertising seemed to mention the inclusion of the three extra villains, it’s perhaps understandable that their ultimately miniscule presence in the actual film would annoy some fans [8].

Yet even the fans who found themselves complaining would prove to be in the minority as Spider-Man 3 became a smash hit at the box office upon premiering in 1995, becoming a massive triumph for Marvel’s budding cinematic universe when it made a then jaw dropping $352 million world wide at the box office. Featuring fantastic and spellbinding direction and writing by Josh Weadon, a memorable score by the film’s new composer Danny Elfman [9], fantastic notable performances by Joe Morton (who brings a deep sense of chaotic menace to the Green Goblin), Seth Greene, and Rachel Blanchard, as well as pushing the very limits of special effects of the day, the film as a whole still manages to hold up strongly as it did then and to this very day it is still considered to be one of the greatest comic book movies of all time and it is certainly among my favorite Spider-Man movies.


An early poster for Spider-Man 3, which featured Spider-Man swinging next to the George Washington Bridge with a brief teasing glimpse of Green Goblin behind him. (Source: Image Created by @Nerdman3000)

As for where fans would get to see Spidey appear next, well while they’d get to see him show up in a few cameos over the next few years, it’d be quite a while before Seth Green returned for a full screen outing despite some early initial plans that fell by the wayside [10]. The Marvel Movie Universe of the 90’s was gearing up and taking off like a rocket, leading Disney and Marvel to reconsider where Spider-Man’s next main appearance would be.

As we all know now, the answer to that would come in a film unlike any other, where Earth's mightiest heroes found themselves united against a common threat.


[1] - Yes, one of his new roommates, as Peter and Harry would also be roommate with Flash Thompson, though it isn’t made as big of a deal outside a few minor scenes. While there was some early consideration given towards making the second roommate Eddie Brock, it was rejected as the idea of both of Peter’s roommates potentially becoming villains if Marvel ever went with Harry Osborn becoming a Goblin was considered too contrived.

[2] - Kingpin will ultimately become the undisputed winner of the gang war, even though his subordinate Shocker is captured by Spider-Man. His victory here allows him to consolidate his control over New York’s criminal underworld, eventually helping to set up his control of New York’s underworld for when he eventually appears in the future Daredevil movie.

[3] - It should be noted however that an early idea for Spider-Man 3, back when production of Spider-Man 2 was beginning and the Marvel ‘Must be alive in the comics’ rule was still in place and Gwen, Harry, and Norman were not meant to be present in the second and third film, Spider-Man 3 would have had Hobgoblin instead of Green Goblin be the films main villain and it would indeed have been Peter who brought MJ out of the darkness.

[4] - On a side note, this gala would be where Stan Lee makes his cameo, as Mayor of New York City.

[5] - For a bit of an explanation into this, after MJ and Peter break up, Peter attends a gala that is being hosted by Norman Osborn after having been invited by Harry. Said gala is meant to commemorate the end of the gang war following the capture of Tombstone, Hammerhead, and Shocker. Gwen, who is also attending as the daughter of the police commissioner, chats with Peter at the party. Norman, who didn’t know who MJ was, only knowing Peter has or rather had a girlfriend from Harry mentioning it early in the film (he doesn’t know Peter and MJ broke up), assumes Gwen is that girlfriend and targets her as a result.

[6] - Mainly Tombstone and Hammerhead are only present because Marvel wanted recognizable characters from the comics to lead the other gangs in the gang war, rather than random crooks.

[7] - In this case it’s because most of the focus of the gang war is from Peter’s perspective and his involvement in it. As a result, most of the gang war is merely talked about and referenced to, minus a few brief scenes where the audience sees it in action or sees the effects of it.

[8] - Kind of the opposite complaint that happened to Spider-Man 3 and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in OTL. Rather than complaining that there were too many villains, fans essentially complain that there weren’t enough of the extra villains and that they were wasted.

[9] - Yes, Elfman ends up finally scoring Spider-Man ITTL like he did in OTL, although there still are a few regular songs thrown throughout the film.

[10] - There would be early consideration following the release of Spider-Man 3 for a Spider-Man 4 (potentially featuring Venom) to be released in 1997, however Marvel would ultimately decide to hold off on any further Spider-Man sequels until at least the 2000’s in order to both not oversaturate the character and not clog themselves with too many films as the ITTL Marvel Movie Universe expands and explodes in popularity the late 90’s.


Hope you enjoyed! Also Happy New Years and a belated Merry Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, and Happy Holidays!
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That Show...you know...the one in the '70s?
A Look Back On The Kids Are Alright (1998-2005)
From Ira Members for Nostalgia Monthly Digital, August 2019
Guest post by @MNM041 with assistance from Mr. Harris Syed, @Plateosaurus, @ajm8888 and @TheMolluskLingers


This but more of a dramedy

Set in the mood ring and polyester decade known as the 1970s, The Kids Are Alright is a retro-hip dramedy about an eclectic group of friends on the verge of adulthood “The Circle”. The group lives in the suburbs of Wisconsin, where they yearn for independence amid the growing pains of becoming adults in an increasingly crazy world. The show was created by the Turner siblings (no relation to Ted Turner) and Mark Brazill and the show's title of course comes from The Kids Are Alright by The Who, which is also played in a couple of episodes by the characters in-universe[1]. The series began as a spec script for a sitcom, but was retooled later due to the success of Roseanne Barr's series Blue Collar. The show would premiere on the Paramount-Fox Network (PFN) on August 23, 1998 and became famous for addressing social issues of the 1970s such as the changing sexual attitudes, generational conflicts, the economic hardships of the recession, mistrust of the American government, and underage drinking/teenage drug use. The series also highlighted developments in fashion trends, the entertainment industry, including the television remote ("the clicker"), reruns of ‘50s shows, VCR, and cable TV; classic video games Pong and Space Invaders; the cassette tape and Disco; MAD Magazine; and Eric's obsession with Star Wars. The show has sometimes been compared to a more serious version of Happy Days, which was similarly set 20 years before the time in which it aired.

The show was very much one about the disillusionment of the youth of America, with main characters who were all old enough to recognize the problems plaguing the country and the world, but too young to really do anything about it. The main cast all dealt with this disillusionment, all trying to make the most of the hand they were given, all while the kids must watch as the world they'll one day inherit gets crazier and crazier. This results in the kids partaking in any act of youthful rebellion they can think of from drugs and raucous parties to sneaking out to attend concerts (with bands like The Clash and The Dead Kennedys getting particular mentions). The show also got surprisingly political at times, being set against the backdrop of Vietnam War protests and the Watergate scandal, and bringing various social subjects from the time seemingly wanting to highlight how little has changed and that in some cases, what has changed isn't enough.

The Kids Are Alright starred Topher Grace as Eric Greensboro, Lisa Robin Kelly as Laurie Hartman[2], Mila Kunis as Jackie Burkhart, Ashton Kutcher as Michael Kelso, Wilmer Valderrama as Fez, Laura Prepon as Donna Pinciotti, Amy Dumas as Marcy Pearson[3] and James Van Der Beek as Steven Hyde[4], with Debra Jo Rupp, Kurtwood Smith, Don Stark, Tanya Roberts and Russell Means, as Kitty Greensboro, Richard "Reef" Greensboro, Midge Pinciotti, Bob Pinciotti and Theo Chingkwake[5] respectively. Despite the presence of the adults, the show’s main focus was on the teenagers who were part of “The Circle”.

Among the members of “The Circle”, Eric was very much the audience surrogate in the early days, a trait that did remain throughout, though his dorkier traits were infused in order to make him feel distinct from the rest of the group. Eric is a nice person, physically slight and somewhat clumsy. He has a fast wit with a very deadpan sense of humor. He is best friends with Steven Hyde, a rebellious anti-establishment type from a severely broken home who uses humor to cope with the trauma of his life. Then there was Laurie, Eric's often manipulative and dishonest twin sister, who enjoys tormenting Eric and manipulating her parents, his neighbor and his would-be love interest Donna, who is tall, intelligent, good-looking and athletic, with everything going for her in life. After Eric and Hyde, there was Jackie who was the youngest member of the group and starts the series as the pretty, spoiled rich, selfish, oftentimes annoying immature girl. She likes to give seemingly thoughtless and superficial advice, which occasionally turns out to be correct. Then there was Kelso, who is introduced as the dumb pretty boy of the group, who seemingly hopes to coast through life on his good looks, but is revealed to have hidden depths to him like everyone else in the cast. Then there is Fez, a Latin-accented foreign exchange student who throughout the series is working various odd jobs (including occasionally selling weed in season one) between classes so he could send money back home to his family. By his own admission, he was hoping to achieve his own American dream when he first came, and "quickly realized I wasn't white enough." And out of everyone in The Circle, Marcy was the most outspoken activist amongst the group, even more anti-authority than Hyde as she would frequently discuss controversial topics much to the bemusement and occasional discomfort of her friends. While Marcy was initially written as a generic drug dealer, when it was decided that the showrunners wanted to do more with her, she quickly became a social activist. Funnily enough, as the drug dealer aspects were phased out of Marcy and Fez, it became a running joke that they were the only two in the group that didn't smoke. All in all, each member of The Circle had their inner demons and unique quirks in spite of these demons.

As for the adults, the two that had the most focus were "Reef" Greensboro, a deeply conservative Navy combat veteran, who served in World War II and the Korean War and his wife Kitty. Reef is frequently hard on Eric and casually insults him, often calling him “dumbass”. Despite his mean exterior, Reef also displays a soft side. His hobbies include working with his power tools, drinking beer (not that he’ll refrain if asked), watching television, reading the newspaper, hunting and fishing. Kitty is a cheerful, doting mother, but can also be assertive when pushed. A nurse by profession, she drinks heavily and is a former smoker who suffers major mood swings. There were also Donna's parents Midge and Bob, the former being a dissatisfied housewife and the latter who is a self-described “veteran of foreign wars". Midge and Bob’s marriage would slowly dissolve over the course of the show. On the lighter side, there was Theo, a hippie and the owner of a Foto Hut at which Hyde once worked. Theo is an Army veteran who served in World War II, where he was awarded a Purple Heart. Despite polar opposite personalities, Reef and Theo always tended to be respectful of each other due to the fact that they both served in the same conflict.

When the show originally began, the main friend group weren't really friends, they were just classmates who saw each other a lot, in some cases more than they'd like. Hell, Eric only meets Marcy because his parents were worried about her hanging out with his sister, thinking she was a drug dealer. Their only real connection is a shared anxiety over their rapidly approaching maturity as the world their generation was about to inherit seemed to stop making sense. Over time, The Circle would develop genuine bonds with each other which eventually got to the point where they would frequently meet and participate in leisurely activities when they weren’t in school. A lot of times, this meant smoking pot though The Circle would do plenty of other activities.

The core dynamic of The Circle shifted and changed a lot from the initial drafts of the show. For example, Marcy was really supposed to just be in the pilot, but producers really liked the performance of Amy Dumas, who was initially brought on as stuntwoman for scenes involving characters falling off the water tower, and the creators decided to expand upon her character, leading her to continue playing Marcy for the series’ entire run. Much of the group’s dynamic came about in a similar manner with a lot of trial and error in the first and second seasons before “The Circle” really became what we all know and love. Once it got there, the show really came into its own with the chemistry between the group being cited as part of the reason the show worked as well as it did.

Despite the sometimes drug fueled antics of the show, the behind the scenes was surprisingly free of actual drugs, as the series began around the time the entertainment industry was in the midst of cleaning up it's act after some high-profile actors successfully gave up on drugs after some brief brushes with death and their subsequent recoveries such as River Phoenix and Chris Farley (of which Farley would later make an appearance on the show towards the end, playing Hyde's father).

The cast of the show frequently joked about the fact that, with the exception of Mila Kunis (who lied about her age to get cast[6]), none of them had any business playing high school students. Lisa Robin Kelly in particular joking, "There were scenes where we'd be standing next to Mila or even just a random high school aged extra, and I swear we look like we're the teachers going through a midlife crisis."

The show was aided by the very natural chemistry the cast had with each other, with the eight actors playing the main characters

One of the most iconic things in the show was Eric’s “Aztec Gold” 1969 Plymouth Fury[7]. Many of the show's episodes featured Eric and the rest of the kids in or around the Plymouth Fury, handed down to Eric by Reef. For the majority of the show, the show's introduction showed the cast inside the Plymouth Fury. The particular car was bought by Wilmer Valderrama at the show's conclusion from Carsey-Werner for "no more than" $700 US Dollars. In June 2007, the show's Plymouth Fury was named second-greatest television car ever by MSN Autos.

In one of the show's major running gags, Reef often threatens to punish Eric with many variations of the catchphrase, "Shove it up your ass" or more generally "Shoving *whatever* up your ass." For example, in "Kitty and Eric's Night Out", Reef mistakenly thinks Eric offended Kitty, so Reef says, "Shove your car up your ass!" In "Neighborly Love[8]", Eric tries to get out of something by claiming he's sleepwalking and Reef says, "And I'm about to be sleep-shoving nyquil yp your ass", and, in "Prank Day", Eric tries to explain away a prank gone "horribly, horribly wrong" Reef says, "Well, I have a prank, too. One where my fist doesn't plow up your ass. Let's hope it doesn't go horribly, horribly wrong!" Several of the running gags were shown in edited clips for the series finale. To a lesser extent, Reef would be accused of being related to narcotics despite being vehemently anti-drugs, right down his nickname is very similar to Reefer and his surname invokes the color of it (“The reef is of the coral kind, Einstein!”). There was also Reef's tendency to call Eric a dumbass though in a reference to the famous 1970s sitcom Sanford and Son, Reef would try to censor himself by saying "dummy" instead if he and Eric were around someone Reef wasn't comfortable with swearing around (young children, clergymen, etc). This joke reached its logical endpoint in the show's final season by having a character played by Sanford and Son star Demond Wilson call Eric a dumbass.

The show also included other notable running gags and catchphrases throughout much of its run. For instance, Fez's country of origin remained a mystery. Sometimes, Fez is about to disclose where he is from, or at least hint at it, but something happens to prevent him from doing so, like someone entering the room as seen in "Stolen Car", or simply because Fez is rambling like in "Love of My Life". Later on in the series, he jokes, "What differences does it make, most of the people in this town couldn't even find it on a map." Eventually, the finale reveals he's from Venezuela, which is also where his actor Wilmer Valderrama is from[9]. Similarly, Fez's real name also was not revealed for the longest time. Even Fez just stood for F.E.S., Foreign Exchange Student. Reef often calls Fez by some exotic foreign names when he is speaking directly to him, including Tarzan a few times. Though in the finale, we eventually learn that his name is Carlos Madrigal[10]. Both of these revelations come courtesy of Marcy, who is revealed to be the only one out of the group that knew either of these facts, much to her confusion. Another was someone, usually Kelso, falls off the Water Tower, yet somehow always ends up being fine. A few episodes instead had another person besides Kelso being flung up instead. For Marcy, her constant social activism is also a notable recurring bit, with her seemingly hyper fixating on whatever issue the writers could come up with[11]. Marcy along with Fez were both often suspected of carrying drugs on them, despite the fact that they are actually the only characters out of the main group who are never shown doing any. Funnily enough, Reef never once suspected either of them, save for once during the pilot with Marcy. Reef also never suspected Laurie of it, though more often than not, she actually would have some kind of drugs on her, typically pot. Last but definitely not the least was Eric's attempted "secret" money stash locations are known by everyone, such as the CandyLand box, as famously, the cast started trying to get each other to break character by sneaking unexpected items into these places.

Naturally, drugs played a large role in a lot of episodes given the time period the show is set, with themes of addiction and using drugs to escape reality being present throughout. Be it pot, heroin or even just the bottle, many of the characters had vices and a lot of the time, it was something destructive and it wasn’t easy overcoming them as they needed help. Even older characters like Red or Theo often need something to help get them through the day when life is perpetually beating down on them. That said, most of the characters were able to overcome their vices in the final season even if they didn’t always make it in one piece.

Over the course of its run, the series was a consistent performer for PFN, becoming one of their signature shows along with Final Girl: The Series, No Worries[12], The X-Files, Salem Falls, Star Trek: Envoy, and Lysia of Amazonia. Its eight seasons, consisting of 200 episodes spanning from 1998 to 2005, made it PFN’s longest running live-action comedy ever surpassing Honey, I’m Home!. That said, it didn't have the same ratings success, and was nearly cancelled; nonetheless, it enjoyed favorable critical reviews and a small but dedicated fanbase that kept the show on the air. Aside from PFN, The Kids Are Alright would also air on the teen-oriented Vixx given the cast and target demographics starting with the third season, after which it slowly became one of the most watched shows on that network.


This but actually good

The Kids Are Alright was successful enough to warrant both a spin-off and a British remake. The British remake, titled Days Like These, would air on ITV in 1999 and used many of the same names (Eric and Kitty Greensboro), or slight alterations (Donna Palmer instead of Donna Pinciotti, Jackie Burget instead of Jackie Burkhart, etc.). The show would star Max Wrottesley as Eric, Rhona Mitra as Donna, Harry Peacock as Steven Jones, James Cartlon as Michael McGuire, Emma Pierson as Jackie Burget, Jamie Beck as Torbjørn Rasmussen (Fez), Olivia Hussey as Kitty Greensboro, Tim Curry as Ron Greensboro, Amanda Abbington as Laura Greensboro, Sara Sockbridge as Midge Palmer and Steve Seen as Bob Palmer[13]. While the series initially started out simply remaking episodes of the mother show, it would eventually find its own footing and went off in a completely new direction separate from The Kids Are Alright, lasting until 2003, all the while exploring the lives of youth in 1970s Britain[14].


This but actually something of quality.

Of course, you can’t talk about The Kids Are Alright without mentioning the sequel series set in the 1980s, Don't You Want Me?[15] which ran for five seasons from 2003 to 2007. The series was greenlit shortly after the resounding success of the first three seasons of The Kids Are Alright. While focusing on a different cast, Don’t You Want Me frequently called back to its predecessor in many ways such as references to specific characters or events from that show. Centering around the employees of a record shop owned by Hyde, the show satirized the Reagan-dominated ‘80s, while the characters from the parent show take on the roles of the adults. Many elements from its parent show would end up being carried over into Don't You Want Me? sometimes with new twists being added.

The new cast included struggling musician Corey Howard (Glenn Howerton), his valley girl environmentalist sister Katie (Tinsley Grimes), punk rocker June Tuesday (Chyler Leigh), Corey's best friend and wannabe yuppie Roger Park (Eddie Shin), Corey's bisexual ex-girlfriend Sophia Bates (Brittany Daniel), Canadian foreign exchange student Owen Milligan (Joshua Jackson)[16] and former farm girl, Annie Lewis (Patricia Stratigeas)[17]. Aside from the principal cast, the show had guest appearances from other actors in minor or small but crucial roles ranging from a single episode to an entire arc such as Rob McElhenney, Thuy Trang, Michael K. Williams, Mark Ralston, Tom Franco[18], Jason David Frank[19], Brittany Murphy[20], Keith Szarabaijka, Morgan Fairchild, Vanessa Johansson[21] and D.C. Douglas[22].

While the showrunners admit that Don’t You Want Me initially had trouble finding its footing, it was able to find a voice that, while distinct, still appealed to fans of The Kids Are Alright. For instance, Hyde ends up becoming something of a surrogate big brother figure to Corey, often trying to help him with advice that would probably go better if it was ever interpreted the right way, and other characters from The Kids Are Alright would make guest appearances every so often. It also similarly touched on issues related to the 1980s, such as the AIDS epidemic, the effects and fallout of Reaganomics, the War On Drugs, and anti-Asian racism, especially Japan bashing (addressed through Roger Park, who is frequently mistaken as Japanese). It would also receive praise from the LGBTQ community for its representation, particularly with the characters of Sophia (and later Katie, as the two would end up getting together by the third season). Famously, Don't You Want Me? was one of the first large-scale works to appeal to 80’s nostalgia, a major trend of the 2000s and 2010s[23] However, Don't You Want Me? stood in contrast to it's parent show, at first seeming to revel in a rose-tinted view of the 1980s, only for the show to slowly peak back the layers of problems that were prevalent during that decade, with the disillusionment much of the main cast goes through being a driving force for much of their development later on in the show.

On a final note, the network considered adding a final series set in the 90’s and focusing on Eric’s family, tentatively titled Smells Like Teen Spirit after the Nirvana song. However, the creators of the show turned down such a work, feeling the whole franchise had run its course and it was too recent, and was canceled. However, insider rumors are spreading that at the very least the concept of a 90’s-set series much like it is in the pipeline. Some have speculated it will be the basis for a reunion special between the shows for direct viewing, but neither idea has been confirmed. Humorously, when rumors of this leaked, WB’s sketch series The MAD Show would create a sketch where the franchise continued on into the present and into the then future of the 2010’s, creating a universe-shattering paradox[24].

The Kids Are Alright and many of the shows that came from it have enjoyed an enduring fanbase over the years, mostly due to its memorable characters and clever writing, as well as their commentary on the decades that they take place in, with many glad that the shows managed to end on high notes[25]. Both thoughtful critiques and loving celebrations of all things related to those decades, the shows ironically became timelines by dating themselves.

It was one of the shows which looked at the traditional sitcom families and the conventions associated with them, and flipped them on their head, while also exploring ups and downs of the '70s and '80s. The Kids Are Alright epitomized the belief that you're not cursed to make the same mistakes as the people who came before you and that you're not alone in feeling like you don't know your place in the world, and that no matter how screwed up the world feels, you still have the choice of what you wanna do with yourself, and how you deal with what the world throws at you. To this very day, many people who grew up in the ‘90s cite The Kids Are Alright as one of their favorite shows of all time and its messages still resonate over 20 years after its premiere on PFN.

[1] The show was called its OTL title because test audiences kept calling it That 70’s Show and the creators liked how it sounded (not to mention avoiding any licensing fees). Here, the creators are able to license the name of a popular song from the seventies like they originally intended.
[2] Aside from the fact that her character's surname is different like her family, her character is noticeably aged down, as Lisa Robin Kelly is part of the main ensemble since Laurie is the seventh teenager here (which was the original intent IOTL) and her miscarriage is butterflied, as the specifics that led to that pregnancy likely didn't happen, which means her later issues and eventual death will not happen. Laurie being part of the main ensemble also means that Kelly will not leave the show after the third season and won’t be replaced by Christina Moore.
[3] Most people who have heard of her probably know her as Lita. Since WWF went under, she ended up going into acting instead. Additionally, Amy’s Marcy is an original-to-TTL character that shares her surname with OTL’s Randy Pearson who doesn’t exist. Similar to Randy, Marcy shares superficial qualities with various people in the group.
[4] Due to the Anita Hill case, Danny Masterson's career doesn't take off since he commits sexual assault against three women a decade early, and here James Van Der Beek, who never played Dawson Leery of Dawson's Creek because the show was butterflied, plays Hyde instead. As a result, The Kids Are Alright ends up being his big break.
[5] Leo/Theo is played by a different actor and is also made a Lakota Native American. While still a hippie/stoner character those tendencies are largely toned down with the character nowhere near as dumb.
[6] This happened in real life too, and I just figured it could still happen since a lot of the same people are involved behind the scenes.
[7] Eric’s car was the Plymouth Cruiser but it’s changed to a Plymouth Fury due to production butterflies.
[8] This episode was called Eric's Hot Cousin in OTL and the lead author fior this post changed it for two reasons. 1. This episode and similar episodes of other shows, don't feel like something like that would fly in post Anita Hill America. 2. I hate that weird trope with absolute burning passion.
[9] The Kids Are Alright’s OTL counterpart That 70s Show had the home country of Fez kept a complete mystery. This is not the case here with Fez revealed to be Venezuelan just like his actor.
[10] In OTL, this was the name of Wilmer Valderrama's character in From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series.
[11] Think of the character of Marcy being somewhat akin to Britta from Community, except it doesn't become a running joke that she's the worst.
[12] Slight retcon to the "As If!" post courtesy of its co-author: "No Worries is actually the second highest rated show on PFN behind only Final Girl since the mention of Tank Girl (the animated show) was back when this show was meant to be on Vixx before it was changed mid-development”.
[13] Aside from the show being a success ITTL, the cast is slightly different as well such as different actors and an analogue to Laura Greensboro.
[14] OTL’s version of DLT was not very good and only lasted one season (or series as the Brits call them).
[15] IOTL, That 80’s Show was an infamous failure, one that felt completely divorced from what it was supposed to be a spin-off of. Here, the writing is notably better, it's better connected to its parent show, and the 80s setting isn't just used as a gimmick (a major flaw of OTL’s T80S), which ends up helping the show in the long run and it gets more seasons.
[16] Since Dawson’s Creek never existed due to the failure of Killing Mrs. Tingle, Joshua Jackson gets a different breakout role in this show much like his co-star Van Der Beek.
[17] You probably know her better as Trish Stratus but since the WWF collapsed prior to her debut, like Amy Dumas, she goes into acting by starting off as a fitness model before she is discovered by a talent agent who convinces her to enter show business and nabs some bit parts in some films or television shows before being cast as Annie Lewis.
[18] IOTL, Tom has acted in films and TV shows but never became as prominent as his brothers James and Dave, being mostly known as the curator of an art gallery in Berkeley, California. Here, he will become more well known in acting circles as he'll appear in more notable films and TV shows though as more of a Poor Man's Substitute to Dave and James (in that order ITTL) and a character actor rather than a bankable leading man, at least initially.
[19] Rest in peace, Green Ranger. ITTL, his appearances here lead Jason David Frank to get a big break that leads to him getting bigger roles.
[20] Since No Worries received a reunion special movie in 2015 titled No Worries: All Grown Up, Murphy will not have a drug overdose and live long enough to participate in this movie along with the rest of the cast since her OTL death is well into the Fiction Zone.
[21] Scarlett Johansson’s older sister who does films almost nobody but the most curious has ever heard of and is nowhere near as famous as her. ITTL, she was cast as Sabe in Star Wars Episode I: A Darkness Rising because of her connections to her younger siblings as Vanessa went into acting much sooner after learning Scarlett would audition for Annie, leading her to nab supporting/bit parts before A Darkness Rising, making her better known than just “Scarlett Johansson’s older sibling”.
[22] Because Don’t You Want Me lasted longer and was more successful than That 80s Show, the show’s writers will create original-to-TTL characters.
[23] That said, 80’s nostalgia will not be the defining nostalgic decade for the latter era. Stay tuned for what is.
[24] Much like this hilarious sketch about VH1 from OTL’s equivalent of The MAD Show, MADTv.
MADtv - VH1's I Love the 00's (Parody)
[25] Since Don’t You Want Me? and Days Like These were actually good, those shows naturally get better endings than OTL, and Topher Grace doesn’t end up leaving The Kids Are Alright, thus meaning that the changes that resulted in a bad finale season are butterflied.

Back in after being taken down, much different the the previois one. This good, @Geekhis Khan ?
Who Watches the Watchmen? You do!
Watchmen (1998)
From the Superhero Wiki Netsite
Guest post by @TheMolluskLingers and @Plateosaurus with assistance from Mr. Harris Syed, @MNM041 and @ajm8888


This but made by Gilliam in the ‘90s

DirectorTerry Gilliam
WritersWinston Groom and Carrie Fisher (Uncredited)
ProducersJoel Silver
ComposerBasil Poledouris
CinematographerNicola Pecorini
Runtime189 minutes
Budget$110 million
Box office$359 million
Production CompaniesBubba-Gump Productions, Warner Bros., Columbia
DistributorsWarner Bros. (US and Canada), Columbia Pictures (international)

Watchmen is a 1998 superhero alternate history film directed by Terry Gilliam and written by Winston Groom based on the 1986-1987 DC Comics limited series of the same name created by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. The film has an ensemble cast including Robin Williams, Arnold Schwarzenegger, “Weird Al'' Yankovic, Demi Moore, Alan Rickman, John Travolta, Adam West and Katharine Hepburn. Like it's source material, the film is a dark, deconstructive take on the superhero genre set in an alternate 1980s during the height of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, as a group of retired superheroes investigates the death of one of their own gradually uncovering a massive conspiracy to tip the balance of power with their morals seriously challenged by the circumstances of their situation.


The film opens with a flashback recounting the rise and fall of superheroes with narration from Laurie Jupiter Demi Moore), the daughter of the original Silk Spectre. Laurie’s narration explains, in short, that after Action Comics #1 was published in 1938, a rise in masked criminals spurned the rise of “costumed adventurers”, or “masks” for short, the first of which was Hooded Justice (Winston Groom), followed soon after by others like Captain Metropolis (Phil Hartman), Nite Owl I (Val Kilmer for the flashback sequences, played in present day scenes by Adam West), and Laurie’s mother Silk Spectre (played in flashbacks by Robin Wright, played in the present day scenes by Katharine Hepburn). These “masks” eventually came together in 1939 to form a group known as the Minutemen, to great success and acclaim. After several controversies, the Minutemen disbanded ten years later, and in 1959, the world’s first true “superman”, Dr. Manhattan (Arnold Schwazenegger), emerged. In 1966, a second attempt was made by Captain Metropolis to create a second group of heroes, called the Watchmen; consisting of himself, Ozymandias (Alan Rickman), Manhattan, Rorschach (Robin Williams), the Comedian (John Travolta), and Laurie herself. Unfortunately, due to the growing cynicism among the members (the Comedian especially) about whether or not they can fix the growing social unrest in America itself rather than just nabbing petty criminals, the Watchmen disband before their first meeting is over. Things for the mask community get worse, however, as several years later in 1977, the Keene Act is passed, effectively making costumed adventurers illegal. The only ones left are Doctor Manhattan, the Comedian (who by this point has abandoned his goofy jester gimmick for something more brutalistic) and Rorschach, who continues his crusade for justice even as it takes a toll on what little remained of his sanity.

After the prologue, we cut to a shot of a grimy, rainy New York City, circa 1985. As a result of Doctor Manhattan’s actions in Vietnam, the Cold War has become so hot that a nuclear exchange between the United States and the Soviet Union is seemingly inevitable. The Comedian is now dead under mysterious circumstances and Rorschach believes that someone or something was responsible for his death. When he tries to explain his findings, Dan Dreiberg, the second Nite Owl (Alfred “Weird Al” Yankovic), is skeptical and believes that Blake’s death or superheroes being outlawed cannot be traced to a single individual or group and Adrian Veidt thinks that he’s crazy. Rorschach accuses Veidt of exploiting not only his image but those of his fellow masks, and attempts to pierce his metaphorical armor by calling him a traitor and government stooge; Veidt reminds him that he chose to retire in 1975, two years before the Keene Act was passed in Congress. However, Rorschach doesn’t believe a word that Veidt says and vows to find the individual or organization behind the death of the Comedian with the assistance of the second Nite Owl.

Meanwhile, Doctor Manhattan is giving an interview on national television. A reporter speaking to Manhattan says that he might have given cancer to several people he knew and cared about. Manhattan is so furious about this allegation that he exiles himself to Mars after the interview. Without the threat of retaliation from Manhattan, the Soviets began preparation for the invasion of Afghanistan. Rorschach’s suspicions are seemingly proven when Veidt survives an assassination attempt and Rorschach is framed for the murder of former villain Moloch (Gene Hackman). After being sent to prison, we discover that Rorschach is actually Walter Kovacs in a series of flashbacks explaining why he became a vigilante to prison psychiatrist Dr. Malcolm Long (Eddie Murphy). We learn that he was the son of a prostitute who had an abusive childhood and the moment that Kovacs became Rorschach was when he killed a child kidnapper who fed his victim to his dogs after he murdered her. Rorschach is later broken out of prison during a prison riot by Dreiberg and Laurie, who had chosen to stay with him and come out of retirement. Doctor Manhattan probes Jupiter’s memories and discovers she is the daughter of Edward Blake, created through his rape of Jupiter’s mother. A criminal gang kills Hollis Mason, the first Nite Owl, mistaking him for his successor Dreiberg.

Richard Nixon (Lane Smith) along with several aides at NORAD (Christopher Reeve) prepare the “nuclear football” as Soviet forces gather at Afghanistan’s border. Meanwhile, having spent several hours in the Hudson River fruitlessly looking for clues on Rorschach’s mask conspiracy, a frustrated Dan goes back with Walter to the latter’s apartment to get the journal and a spare uniform; he briefly considers contacting Veidt, but then wonders what’s the point since Nixon is prone to start dropping the bombs any minute. Rorschach and his landlady briefly argue over him having supposedly propositioned her for sex and calling her a whore; his landlady begging for her children not to know strikes a chord with Rorschach, who in a rare moment of empathy is reminded of himself as a child.

Meanwhile, at an Antarctic base, Veidt observes the oncoming nuclear war, and after ensuring his men have carried out his orders, continues to watch while moralistically decrying the unfolding events and the current state of the media as juvenile.

Nite Owl and Rorschach return to the Hudson River, the latter complaining about how they should be interrogating criminals rather than using Dan’s fancy gadgets for computer research. Dan retorts that he believes there is no mask killer and that something bigger is happening, citing Veidt’s attempted assassination as being particularly suspicious. This results in an argument between the two, with Rorschach accusing Dan of lazing around since he retired, and Dan retorting by calling him, in no uncertain terms, a psychotic Objectivist-obsessed manchild. This pierces Rorschach’s unemotional, terse facade for a brief moment and he sincerely apologizes to Dan. Dan, in turn, apologizes for his own harsh words and with their old partnership reignited, the two head to Rorschach’s usual haunt, Happy Harry’s, to follow Dan’s lead. Upon arriving, the two encounter the man behind the attempted assassination and soon discover that everyone else involved is dying suspiciously, as well as several notable Hollywood producers and pirate comic artists suddenly disappearing en masse. Dan also discovers Hollis was murdered, and after brutally beating the man to the point where Rorschach has to restrain him, the duo discover that Veidt is the one behind all the mysterious attacks; they head to Karnak with all this information to confront Veidt.

As Rorschach and Nite Owl land in Antarctica with difficulty, Veidt coolly observes them from his base dressed in his old Ozymandias outfit, smirking and telling his cat Bubastis that everything is fine and all is going according to plan. Observing Nite Owl and Rorschach debate his motivations, Ozymandias invites his servants to drink with him as he reveals his origins and grand plan.

Born in 1939 to wealthy German immigrants, Adrian Veidt grew up admiring Alexander the Great and was found to be extremely intelligent, however he kept this skill hidden. After his parents died when he was 17, Veidt decided to venture out on a pilgrimage charting Alexander the Great’s own journey; after eating a ball of hashish and undergoing a psychedelic experience. Witnessing a vision of the great conqueror, Adrian realized that Alexander’s greatest flaw was ensuring that his empire could survive his own death; thus, Adrian Veidt took the name Ozymandias and became a superhero at the age of 19, vowing to create his own legacy against the evils of the world.

Cut back to Ozymandias’ base and it’s shown that during this speech, the servants’ wine has been poisoned; as they lay dying, Ozymandias opens the roof, letting forth an avalanche of snow, burying everyone except him. He remarks that, just like Alexander killed his own servants to preserve his secrets, he will do the same thing. Nite Owl and Rorschach burst into the base, confronting Ozymandias; the latter, after greeting them like old friends, continues his tale.

Flashing back to 1958, shortly after beginning his crimefighting career and earning the reputation of “The World’s Smartest Man”, Ozymandias met Dr. Manhattan, who he regarded as utterly fascinating. However, as the Cold War tensions rose and vigilantes were regarded with increasing scrutiny, Ozymandias’ own idealism began to falter; it was not until 1966, at the ill-fated first and only Watchmen meeting, that Ozymandias hit upon the solution - “the world’s greatest practical joke”, in his own words. By first taking out Dr. Manhattan so he wouldn’t interfere via exposing those Jon was close to with enough radiation so they would get terminal cancer, Veidt would then gather various comic artists and Hollywood producers under the guise of shooting an alien invasion film; this, of course is all a ruse for the real plan - teleporting a monstrous alien being into New York and using it as a sort of “psychic bomb” to kill half of the city’s population[1]. Of course, the Comedian and Moloch both stumbled upon the plan before it was ready, so Veidt had to kill them.

Horrified, Nite Owl attempts to reason fruitlessly with Veidt, telling him that he needs help and that he doesn’t have to go through with it. Veidt coyly responds, “I did, Dan. You think I’m a Republic serial villain? Do you seriously think I’d explain my masterstroke if there remained the slightest chance of you affecting its outcome? I did it all thirty-five minutes ago.” At that moment at Times Square, a massive, black and purple squid-like alien drops down in a dark, twisted parody of the New Year's Eve ball before exploding in a bright flash of light killing millions.

On Mars, the signal from the squid exploding attracts the attention of Dr. Manhattan and Silk Spectre, who teleport to Ozymandias’ base, the energy causing Jon’s senses to fluctuate between past and present, explaining Veidt’s plan to Laurie while also conversing with Rorschach. Meanwhile, Dan is still trying to process the events and Veidt’s reasoning for doing so. Pointing out that the assassin hired to kill Veidt could have shot him first, Veidt responds that he could catch the bullet; something he demonstrates when Laurie sneaks in, undetected, and attempts to do so using a gun she acquired from one of the detectives that had been investigating Eddie Blake’s murder. Jon, meanwhile, distracted by Veidt’s pet Bubastis, is (briefly) disincorporated by Veidt, before reassembling himself in giant form, taunting Ozymandias with the knowledge that reassembling himself was the first thing he did as Dr. Manhattan. Ozymandias, turning on the televisions to reveal all the world leaders fearful and begging for peace, goes on another tangent proclaiming that he has won and that they can do nothing unless they want the threat of nuclear war hanging over their heads again. The rest ultimately concede Veidt’s point. That is, however, except for Rorschach, who declares he will not compromise even in the face of Armageddon. Ozymandias doesn't seem to be concerned, and he retires for the night upstairs. Dan and Laurie notice that Jon has also disappeared, and confess their mutual attraction to one another before kissing.

Outside, Rorschach and Dr. Manhattan discuss what to do next; Rorschach insists that he will still head back to civilization to expose Veidt’s plan. Manhattan says that he can’t be allowed to do that, something Rorschach is all too aware of. Taking off his mask, Rorschach begs Manhattan to “Do it!” before being vaporized. Walking back in, Jon discovers Dan and Laurie post-coitus, sleeping peacefully. Veidt, however, is near-catatonic; having made himself physiologically feel all those deaths has made him wonder if he did the right thing. Jon, neither condoning nor condemning Ozymandias’ decision, decides to leave humanity - and the universe - forever, having found something worthwhile enough in humanity in order to create life of his own. With that, Manhattan disappears for the final time.

Two months later, Laurie and Dan are living incognito under the names Molly and Al Hollis, and they visit Sally for Christmas. Laurie and her mother have a conversation about the revelation of the Comedian being Laurie’s father. Tearfully, Sally asks her daughter if she can ever forgive her, with Laurie merely saying that she understands that sometimes people can do strange, unexplainable things in their lives; she uses the recent announcement of Robert Redford’s presidential candidacy on TV as an example. Bookending the film with her narration, Sally muses that while she’s glad to be a hero again, she wants to create a hero identity apart from the “Silk Spectre” name, and muses upon the name “The Jester”, with an outfit reminiscent of the Comedian’s original costume. The film ends with a shot of the same smiley face pin the Comedian had being placed in a box.

In a post-credits scene, reporters from the right-wing news tabloid The New Frontiersman are bitterly wondering what stories to run now that the Cold War is effectively over. Hector Godfrey (Jonathan Pryce) tells his reporter Seymour to grab something from the crank file, anything he wants. Seymour reaches for the top of the pile, on which lies Rorschach’s journal exposing Ozymandias’ crimes.


  • Robin Williams as Walter Kovacs/Rorschach
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger as Jon Osterman/Doctor Manhattan
  • “Weird Al” Yankovic (credited under his real name Alfred Yankovic) as Dan Dreiberg/Nite Owl II
  • Demi Moore as Laurie Juspeczyk (Jupiter)/Silk Spectre II
  • Alan Rickman as Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias
  • John Travolta as Edward Blake/The Comedian
  • Adam West as Hollis Mason/Nite Owl I
  • Katharine Hepburn as Sally Juspeczyk (Jupiter)/Silk Spectre I
  • Gene Hackman as Edgar Jacobi/Moloch
  • Eddie Murphy as Dr. Malcolm Long
  • Phil Hartman as Nelson Gardner/Captain Metropolis (Minutemen + Watchmen flashbacks)
  • Winston Groom as Rolf Muller/Hooded Justice (Minutemen flashback)
  • Robin Wright as young Sally Jupiter (Minutemen flashback)
  • Val Kilmer as young Hollis Mason/Nite Owl I (Minutemen flashback)
  • Bruce Campbell as Byron Lewis/Mothman [Minutemen flashback]
  • Uma Thurman as Silhouette/Ursula Zandt [Minutemen flashback]
  • Lane Smith as Richard Nixon
  • Theodore Bikel as Henry Kissinger
  • Loren Lester as Joe Bourquin
  • Marc Macaulay as Steven Fine
  • Don Johnson as Doug Roth (cameo)
  • Jonathan Pryce as Hector Godfrey (cameo)
  • Christopher Reeve as Nixon Aide (cameo)
  • Brian Dennehy as Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General (cameo)
  • Michael Ensign as SAC General
  • Ken Jenkins as Navy Admiral
  • Terry O'Quinn an G. Gordon Liddy
  • Boris Leskin as Soviet General Secretary
  • Evgeniy Lazarev as Soviet Foreign Minister
  • Richard Marner as Soviet Defence Minister (Cameo)
  • Lev Prygunov as Soviet Chief of General Staff
  • Matt Frewer as Captain Carnage


In 1986, producers Lawrence Gordon and Joel Silver acquired the rights to Watchmen for 20th Century Studios, enlisting the aid of Sam Hamm to write the screenplay for Alan Moore’s seminal 12-issue maxiseries. The script languished in development hell until 1991 when Terry Gilliam was attached to direct; the projected budget of $100 million was too much for 20th Century, who eventually dropped the script[2]. It wasn’t until 1994 that Winston Groom, shortly after reading the trade paperback edition of Watchmen decided to try his hand at producing a film thanks to the success of Forrest Gump[3].

After meeting Gilliam and reading Hamm’s screenplay, Groom reportedly offered to aid Gilliam in acquiring the desired $100 million plus an additional $10, in exchange for throwing out Hamm’s (let’s face it) in-name-only script and Silver as producer, though Gilliam balked at the latter suggestion and Groom wisely backed down; thus, Groom’s much more faithful script began to be written in collaboration with Carrie Fisher as his script doctor. Gilliam was more or less given full creative control aside from a few decisions made by the producers and Groom while the comic’s original creators Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons were brought on board for the production to serve as consultants on the film to ensure that it was as accurate to the source material as possible much like they did with Miracleman[4]. For the script, Gilliam decided to condense all 12 issues into a runtime of 3 hours, longer than any superhero movie that had been made before or since then. However, Gilliam and Groom knew they couldn’t translate everything from the comic so it meant cutting a couple of details in the transition from the page to the silver screen most notably changing the name of Captain Metropolis' proposed team from the Crimebusters to the Watchmen so audiences would understand the title and the removal of the in-universe pirate comic Tales of the Black Freighter from the narrative, though it was adapted as a short film by Warner Bros. Animation playing before screenings of Watchmen similar to (Mostly) Good Omens for Gilliam’s prior film Good Omens.

As far as casting went, the only holdovers from Gilliam’s original plans were Robin Williams as Rorschach and Arnold Schwarzenegger as Doctor Manhattan; For the latter, Arnold was asked if he could do the unthinkable: drop his distinct Austrian accent for a deliberately monotonous, American one, to reflect the immigrant origins of the character. Groom and Gilliam gave their nod of approval and Schwarzenegger worked with a dialect coach to master a standard American accent in preparation for the role. Another notable addition to the cast was Demi Moore as Laurie Juspeczyk, the second Silk Spectre.For the role of Nite Owl II, while written in mind for Johnny Depp, Gilliam ultimately cast singer Weird Al Yankovic[5], who gave a surprisingly good audition. Even though Yankovic was best known as the guy who parodied hit pop songs, he actually turned down a suggestion to make a spoof song for the soundtrack, feeling that [SIC] “this isn’t the kind of movie you can exactly be funny about”; As a compromise, however, Yankovic would compose the various Veidt Enterprises jingles strewn throughout the film and collaborated with Poledouris on the score. Alan Rickman joined the film as Adrian Veidt given his experience playing villains and John Travolta would be cast as the Comedian thanks to his part in Bubba-Gump Productions’ Forrest Gump as the titular character.

For the rest of the cast, TV star Adam West, silver screen legend Katharine Hepburn, Eddie Murphy, Gene Hackman, Robin Wright and Uma Thurman would join Watchmen in supporting roles such as the first Nite Owl and Dr. Malcolm Long. West’s Hollis Mason was a reflection of his career before Lockwell as a washed-up hero who was long past his prime as was Hepburn’s Sally Jupiter since she was an aging white dwarf starlet just like her and hadn’t appeared in a theatrically-released movie since 1987. Hepburn was convinced to take up the role after reading a copy of Watchmen on the condition that she would retire after the film was released. Hooded Justice, the bigoted Klansman and Nazi Party supporter, was played by the film’s screenwriter Winston Groom in the prologue flashback. Additionally, Phil Hartman, Bruce Campbell, Uma Thurman, Lane Smith, Christopher Reeves, Matt Frewer, Evgeniy Lazarev, Richard Marner, Michael Ensign, Ken Jenkins, Val Kilmer, Terry O’Quinn and Lev Prygunov had small roles or cameo appearances in the film.

Originally, Groom wanted Watchmen to be made at Columbia Pictures, which had already had an eight movie exclusivity deal with Bubba-Gump Productions. However, because Warner Bros held the rights to the property, Bubba-Gump couldn’t make the film with Columbia, even with Ted Turner trying to buy the rights away. Eventually, Columbia was allowed to distribute Watchmen overseas (except Canada) as a compromise[6].

With a $110 million budget and an all-star cast, Gilliam’s Watchmen movie was a go. Much like its source material, Watchmen would be a gritty, introspective look into an alternate Cold War shaped by the presence of (mostly) non-powered superheroes and burn away misconceptions of the genre as “kids stuff” with an R rating to boot. This meant there would be no tie-ins and promotions with McDonald’s, children’s television or theme parks, similar to some of it’s contemporaries[7].

Filming took place between the spring and summer of 1997 in and out of New York City and other locations. To properly capture the 80s setting of Watchmen, Gilliam and the production crew repurposed old cars, fashion and advertisements from the time period and had all of them on-set. Gilliam used practical effects and some CGI for the more special effects-heavy parts such as Doctor Manhattan’s display of his omnipotent powers and Ozymandias’ Arctic fortress. The production more or less went smoothly with the cast having a jovial good time despite the serious, cerebral tone of the film.

Reception and Legacy

Despite serving as a consultant on the film, Alan Moore had mixed feelings about the adaptation of his most famous work. On one hand, he liked some of the casting choices such as Robin Williams as Rorschach and Alan Rickman as Ozymandias as well as the inclusion of the squid attack on New York in the climax. However, Moore disliked the excision of Tales of the Black Freighter and Rorschach’s more questionable beliefs from the film’s narrative. He concluded that while the film was good on its own merits, it could never surpass the comic he created[8]. Dave Gibbons on the other hand, was more positive to it, enjoying the many details including how it recreated entire scenes from the graphic novel shot-for-shot, which he needed several rewatches to all pick up[9]. The film’s success inspired the two to create a sequel to the graphic novel that would be titled Sentinels, and explore the further developments of superheroes and comics from the Bronze Age and into the 1990’s, such as the violent anti-hero and Japan’s Tokusatsu, anime and manga, released in 1999 to acclaim. The success of Sentinels in turn led to DC to greenlight three spin-offs set in the Watchmen universe: Minutemen, The Comedian’s War Diary and Rorschach’s Journal, all written by Moore and Gibbons[9].

Regardless of Moore’s opinions about the film, Watchmen was released to a mostly positive reception from critics and audiences, grossing $359 million over it’s $110 million budget, although most of the money came early on from people thinking the movie was a straight story due to having comedic actors involved, gross tapering off in the middle before rising once more from positive word of mouth. Praise was given to the story, Gilliam’s direction, the performances of the cast (particularly Williams, Schwarzenegger, Rickman and Moore), the cinematography and the soundtrack though criticism was directed at the film for having a long if not bloated runtime and some of the special effects being a bit dodgy.

Because of it’s serious, R-rated nature, Warner Bros heavily pushed Watchmen for numerous Oscars at the 71st Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Leading Actor, Best Leading Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Directing, Best Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published, Best Original Dramatic Score, Best Costume Design, Best Cinematography and Best Visual Effects. In the end, Watchmen did not win any Oscars as other movies got awards in the categories the film lobbied or was nominated for. Nevertheless, Watchmen was part of a new trend of superhero films that not only pushed the envelope but explored mature subject matter and were aimed at older audiences.

To this day, Gilliam fans rank it as one of the best films made by him while comic fans (especially Moore fans) are divided over whether or not it’s just as good as the maxiseries.


  • In order to replicate the four-color feel of the graphic novel and the early Silver Age comic books that inspired Dave Gibbons’ art, the film’s cinematography was given extensive digital color saturation, with both Nicola Pecorini and Terry Gilliam naming Vittorio Storaro’s work on the 1990 adaptation of Dick Tracy as an influence when doing so[10].
  • Aside from Johnny Depp as Dan Dreiberg/Nite Owl II, Gilliam wanted Patricia Arquette as Laurie Juspeczyk/Silk Spectre II, Charles Dance as Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias, Bruce Willis as Edward Blake/The Comedian, Katherine Helmond as Sally Juspeczyk/Silk Spectre I and Denzel Washington as Dr. Malcolm Long but both Warner Bros. and Bubba-Gump Productions and their respective schedules prevented his preferred casting choices from coming to fruition.
  • Despite Superman trilogy co-stars Christopher Reeve and Gene Hackman appearing in the film, their characters don’t share a single scene together.
  • The Nite Owl costume of Adam West’s Hollis Mason in flashbacks was deliberately patterned after his Batman outfit in the 1966 series.
  • In the 1940s segment of the flashback prologue, copies of Detective Comics #27 and All-Star Comics #8 can be seen being read by kids and adults alongside Action Comics #1.
  • Weird Al Yankovic directed the music videos for the in-universe Veidt Enterprises ads which were designed to be as campy, goofy and over-the-top as possible befitting of a multinational corporation wanting to promote their brand to millions.
  • To coincide with the release of the film, DC Comics republished the original Watchmen maxiseries with a foreword by Terry Gilliam on its impact on the American comics industry.
  • Watchmen’s world premiere took place in New York City, the site of the squid attack in the original comic and film, with Gilliam and the cast in attendance.
  • The film was first screened at the Cannes Film Festival as a way of gaining respectability from audiences that weren’t particularly interested in superhero films.
  • Composer Basil Poledouris’ soundtrack was comprised of original and licensed songs spanning the 1940s-80s, the timeframe covered by the comic.
  • Watchmen’s cinematographer Nicola Pecorini previously worked with Terry Gilliam on other projects.

[1] Unlike Zack Snyder's version, Terry Gilliam's Watchmen will keep the iconic squid attack scene from the comic.
[2] All events from OTL
[3] This is the POD for Terry Gilliam’s Watchmen coming to fruition.
[4] As mentioned in the Peak Darkness post, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons never had a falling out with DC since they retain the rights to Watchmen and Moore got to write for Vertigo Comics which in turn led to the publication of Twilight of the Superheroes. Furthermore, the modest success of Miracleman will make Moore warmer to big and small screen adaptations of his work though he will still prefer the comic versions.
[4] Weird Al Yankovic starring in Watchmen will cause delays to both his projects from around the time. Basically, Watchmen will be a big boost to Yankovic’s cinematic career and he will continue to appear in more movies for years to come.
[5] A squid-sized suggestion from us for suggesting Columbia as a potential distributor for Watchmen. That said, they will only handle the distribution of the film worldwide since Warner Bros owns the rights to the property and they’ll handle distribution duties in the US and Canada.
[6] Since TTL’s 1990s didn’t have Joel Schumacher’s Batman films to kill off interest in the genre temporarily, superhero films will become much more serious if not quite dark and bizarre befitting of the then-current Dark Age of Comics that the film’s source material helped usher in.
[7] Even in a world where Moore watches and somewhat likes a film adaptation of Watchmen, he would still consider it to work best on the page over any medium.
[8] Dave Gibbons had similar opinions to OTL's Watchmen film and other adaptations or media related to the comic.
[9] Much like how Moore and Gibbons never leaving DC led to Twilight of the Superheroes, the proposed spinoff ideas and sequel to Watchmen will come to fruition in the wake of the film’s success with their input and the latter will not have a plot that involves a crossover with the DC Universe.
[10] Unlike Snyder’s film IOTL which did the exact opposite, Gilliam’s Watchmen manages to capture the vibrant and colorful yet still realistic aspects of the source material’s artwork that is so integral to its deconstruction of Silver Age superheroes.

Must be Watchmen Wednesday. Hope you don't mind, @TheMolluskLingers
Was thinking about the more true-to-the-book version that the Shrek film took while watching the latest Puss in Boots movie. It strikes me that another studio could have licensed the Vertigo Comics Fables series (with its spinoffs 1001 Nights, Cinderella, Fairest, Jack of Fables, Literals, Unwritten Fables, etc...) to still have an animated film franchise.
Reminder of the Speculation Thread folks!