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Yes. Although earlier drafts of the script had a present day background, replacing the Cold War with the "war on terror," it was ultimately decided to retain the 1985 Cold War setting, as the film's producers decided that, as is, there are already enough eerie parallels between the world of the graphic novel and our own. One modern touch that appears in the film is Adrian Veidt (Matthew Goode) and Doctor Manhattan (Billy Crudup) attempting to create a new fuel source. This is very briefly touched on in the comic: Dr. Manhattan is having a conversation with Hollis Mason (Stephen McHattie), the original Nite Owl, at his retirement party. Mason says his occupation as a vigilante has become obsolete with Manhattan coming on the scene, so he's going to retire and repair cars. Manhattan tells him that the new electric cars will soon be everywhere; there never was enough lithium to power them before, but since he can easily synthesize it, gasoline-based cars will soon be obsolete. After this point in history, there are electric cars seen frequently in the background, and one scene has a delivery man recharging his truck at a news stand. Edit (Coming Soon)
Watchmen is based on a graphic novel which emulates and satirizes the history of characters from the Charlton Comics company, which had been acquired by DC Comics. Many of the modern superheroes people know today, like the Flash or Green Lantern, are actually the second bearers of those names and, in the Charlton Comics world, there were two Blue Beetles. The first were characters from the "Golden Age of comic books" of the 1930s and '40s, when superheroes first became a growing fad. The trend eventually died away, but was revived in the late 1950s by the introduction of new characters with new costumes and altered powers, bearing the names of their wartime counterparts, thus beginning the "Silver Age", which led to superheroes becoming a permanent part of Americana. In the world of Watchmen, Nite Owl and Silk Spectre represent this pattern, with their more modern-time incarnations being the main characters, having taken off from the Greatest Generation. Nite Owl I is Hollis Mason, a policeman who became a masked crusader and helped start the Minutemen. Eventually, he retired, and Dan Dreiberg took his place as Nite Owl II. The two characters are largely inspired by Blue Beetles Dan Garrett and Ted Kord, specifically the gadget driven nature of the second Nite Owl. Sally Jupiter as Silk Spectre I was also a member of the Minutemen. After her retirement, she pushed her daughter Laurie Juspeczyk into becoming a crime fighter as Silk Spectre II. While Silk Spectre is based on Charlton Comics' Nightshade, the generational theme is more commonly considered a reference to the DC Comics' heroine Black Canary, whose Silver Age incarnation is the daughter of her Golden Age counterpart. Watchmen delves into these types of relationships more deeply. Edit (Coming Soon)
Yes. The full quote is: The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout "Save us!" And I'll look down, and whisper "No." The line is from the first issue of Watchmen and is a piece of narration voiced by Rorshach (Jackie Earle Haley), which describes his views of society. The line is spoken fully in the film but had been altered for the trailer. Edit (Coming Soon)
It is a symbol representing a hydrogen atom: an electron orbiting a proton (although electrons do not "orbit" in the same way that planets do). The film (the theatrical cut, at least) doesn't explain why Dr. Manhattan creates this image on his forehead. The graphic novel and motion comic explain that the media was trying to make him more public-friendly, and initially they gave him his own costume (which Osterman disliked). With it was a helmet with a symbol of a generic crystal atom, however, Manhattan believed a hydrogen atom would be more proper (a symbol he could "respect.") When the media photographers pushed him to have a symbol, it was at this point that Manhattan burned the image of the hydrogen atom into his forehead, much to the delight of the photographer. This scene appears in the Director's Cut of the film but doesn't include the dialog from the graphic novel explaining it. Edit (Coming Soon)
In the graphic novel, Laurie explains that she mistook the button for the cigarette lighter. The movie does not depict Laurie (Malin Akerman) smoking, likely due to Hollywood's increasing pressure not to depict protagonists as smokers, thus her reasons are never clearly explained; she merely claims to have "pressed the wrong button," with no indication of what the "right" button might have been. It could be inferred that she was simply curious as to what the button did and pressed it to see what would happen. Also, the buttons for the ship's lights and missiles are more clearly labeled, the one with the flame may have appeared ambiguous to Laurie, hence her curiosity. The second time it is pressed, when she and Dan are having sex, it's an accident. However, it is symbolic of an orgasm. As Laurie moans, fire bursts out of the ship. That scene is similar to the same scene in the book. Edit (Coming Soon)
Rorschach was born Walter Joseph Kovacs on March 21st, 1940. After he assaulted two kids who were bullying him, an investigation revealed the environment in which he lived (his mother being a prostitute who abused Kovacs physically and verbally and allowed her customers to mistreat him). He was taken away from his mother and placed into a foster home for problem children, where he lived until 1956. When he left the foster home they gave him a job in the garment industry, which he found "bearable, but unpleasant," as he had to handle female clothing. In 1962, a girl, who turned out to be real-life crime victim Kitty Genovese, ordered a dress made from a special fabric made possible by Doctor Manhattan. The fabric was made of viscous fluids between two layers of latex, sensitive to heat and pressure. The dress was never reclaimed because it was "ugly." Kovacs thought otherwise and kept the dress, after cutting it enough so "it didn't look like a woman anymore." In 1964, Kitty Genovese was murdered outside her apartment building. Several neighbors heard her scream and plea for help but didn't do anything. Such apathy disturbed Kovacs, who began to perceive mankind as rotten. After learning of the murder, Kovacs went home, took the remnants of Kitty's unwanted dress and created his mask, "a face [he] could bear to look at in the mirror." Though it is not explicitly stated, it is very likely Kovacs took up crimefighting as a reaction to the Kitty Genovese murder. But, as he admits in the comic, he was just "Kovacs pretending to be Rorschach." The Rorschach personality wouldn't materialize until 1975, during the Blair Roche kidnapping case.
The real life apathy displayed in the Kitty Genovese murder wasn't quite as shocking as Rorschach claims it to be in the comic. While initial reports, and subsequent popular culture, express the view that Rorschach took that "dozens" of people witnessed the attack and "did nothing" subsequent investigations have shown that this was exaggerated. Genovese was returning home from her job at 3:15 am March 13th, 1964 when she was attacked by Winston Mosely who stabbed her twice. Genovese called out for help and one neighbor shouted for Mosely to "leave that girl alone". Mosely left and Genovese stumbled off. Mosely returned ten minutes later and searched for Genovese, finding her collapsed in an exterior hallway of the apartment complex. He then proceeded to stab her several more times and raped her. Genovese died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. While Rorschach insists that dozens of people saw the attack and that "some of them even watched" the actual events were less sensationalist. Since the attack took place in two location no one saw the entire sequence of events. The final attack, which took place in a hallway, wasn't observed by anyone. While a number of neighbors heard Genovese cry out after the first attack many of them did not realize that she was crying for help or the severity of the crime. It was a cold night and most residents had their windows closed. Many assumed that it was a quarrel between a couple and didn't realize a deadly attack had occurred until much later. Edit (Coming Soon)
According to Hollis Mason's book in the graphic novel, Captain Metropolis was decapitated in a car accident, while Hooded Justice vanished and was possibly killed by the Comedian shortly after. It's mentioned that this couple of masked adventurers were lovers. However, some people find a resemblance between the masked heroes and two background characters in the graphic novel, which could mean they faked their departures and are still alive in the time the story takes place. The Comedian continued being a crimefighter and worked for the US government. Night Owl and Silk Spectre retired. The Silhouette was murdered by an adversary seeking revenge. Dollar Bill was killed in a bank robbery after his cape got stuck in a revolving door. Mothman succumbed to alcoholism and unstable mentality and was sent to an asylum in Maine. All those situations are at least briefly shown or mentioned in the film (theatrical cut and the others). Edit (Coming Soon)
The Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is portrayed as a cynical, nihilistic and ruthless hero. There is little if any explanation to his actions in the comic. The closest it gets to giving a definitive answer is when a drunk Comedian tells Moloch: "When I started out, when I was a kid, cleanin' up the waterfronts, it was like real easy. The world was tough, you just [had to] be tougher." The most significant bits of information come from Rorschach, who says:
Blake understood. Treated [life] like a joke, but he understood. He saw the cracks in society, saw the little men in masks trying to hold it together... He saw the true face of the twentieth century and chose to become a reflection, a parody of it.
And Doctor Manhattan, who, reflecting upon his time with Blake in Vietnam, says:
Blake is interesting. I have never met anyone so deliberately amoral. He suits the climate here: the madness, the pointless butchery... as I come to understand Vietnam and what it implies about the human condition, I also realize that few humans will permit themselves such an understanding. Blake is different. He understands perfectly, and he doesn't care.
The book does at times imply that Blake's actions may be an attempt at testing the bounds of society: that he acts in despicable ways hoping that society stops him, which it ultimately never does. His involvement in the assassination of John F. Kennedy, as well as the deaths of reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, is implied to be part of his government-sponsored activities. He was in Dallas nominally as Nixon's "bodyguard" the day JFK died (and he is actually shown as the second gunman in the film), and it's likely Nixon ordered the deaths of Woodward and Bernstein to keep Watergate from becoming public, thus cementing his popularity after winning the Vietnam war and enabling him to be re-elected for five terms after a constitutional amendment rescinded the 22nd Amendment which limited a person to a maximum of two terms of office (4 years apiece). It's a theme that is also used in another comic series drawn by Dave Gibbons and written by Frank Miller called Give Me Liberty where the sitting president, Erwin Rexall, has been in office for longer than eight years after pushing Congress to repeal the 22nd Amendment. Edit (Coming Soon)
In 1975, Richard Nixon (Robert Wisden) proposes a constitutional amendment to allow him to run for a third term and also has The Comedian assassinate Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, the two journalists who investigated the Watergate scandal that eventually lead to Nixon's resignation in 1974, preventing the information from being made public. The 22nd Amendment to the United States Constitution was adopted in 1951 and limited anyone elected president to two terms of office (4 years apiece). Franklin Roosevelt served as US president from 1933 to '45 and had just been elected to a fourth term in 1944 when he died of a cerebral hemorrhage early in 1945 (his successor was Vice President Harry Truman). About 6 years later, the 22nd Amendment was proposed and adopted. In 1975, in the alternate timeline of Watchmen, Nixon has somehow lobbied Congress successfully into adopting another amendment (the number is never given) that rescinds the 22nd and allows him to be elected and serve for more than 2 terms. It's a theme that's also used in another comic series drawn by Dave Gibbons (and written by Frank Miller) called Give Me Liberty where the sitting president, Erwin Rexall, has lobbied successfully to rescind the 22nd Amendment and has been in office for longer than eight years. Edit (Coming Soon)
The Comedian's assassin (Adrian) comes unarmed and kicks in the front door, rather than sneaking up quietly killing him. The reason Adrian decides instead to beat the Comedian half to death then toss him out the window is likely because Adrian hated the Comedian. In the one scene that shows any interaction between Adrian and the Comedian, the Comedian completely undermines Adrian's idea and is extremely rude to him. It can be assumed that there while the Watchmen were together the Comedian and Adrian had drastically different ideals and butted heads quite often. Also, it could be argued that Adrian wanted to give the Comedian (who was clearly the most violent and morally corrupt of the Watchmen) what he deserved. After he decided that the Comedian had to be killed in order for his plan to go smoothly, it was finally his chance to take on the Comedian in a man-to-man fight to the death. There's even a moment where Adrian has a hold of the Comedian's gun, but tosses it aside in favor of hand-to-hand combat. His face is not concealed to the Comedian when they fight (only to the audience) so it can be assumed that the Comedian knows who he is fighting—and that Adrian wanted him to know.
Another question arises however, which involves Rorschach. When Adrian reveals his scheme at the end of the film, he says he had to kill the Comedian because he was working for the government and was onto Adrian's plan. He also says that the one snag in his idea was Rorschach's conspiracy that someone is taking out all of the Watchmen. When Dan says to Rorschach that it was a burglar who killed the Comedian, Rorschach does not believe that any ordinary burglar could have killed him. So Adrian, beating the Comedian and overpowering him, only fueled Rorschach's conspiracy. The answer could be that Adrian never could have predicted that Rorschach would develop such a conspiracy. When Dan comes to warn Adrian of Rorschach's suspicion, Adrian tells Dan that Rorschach is a sociopath and that one murder doesn't indicate a pattern. And while Dan becomes convinced, Rorschach is too stubborn to change his mind. Also, in by the end of the film, Rorschach's conspiracy does not foil Adrian's plot and only ends up being a minor inconvenience. Edit (Coming Soon)
After Ozymandias' betrayal is revealed, he states that, by killing millions, he has saved billions. Because both Moscow and various cities throughout the world were destroyed, the USSR and the USA join forces to track down and hunt the real and supposed perpetrator—Doctor Manhattan—as his energy was found at the sites of the explosions. The others agreed to keep this a secret so global peace would be maintained. However, Rorschach refused to compromise and left to tell the world what really happened. Doctor Manhattan then decided to kill Rorschach in order to keep the world at peace. The final scene shows the editor of "The New Frontiersman" (a far-right newspaper) annoyed at having nothing worthwhile to print, telling a young employee to find an article from "The Crank File", a collection of crank letters, among which is Rorschach's journal. It is left up to the viewer to decide what effect, if any, Rorschach's account of events will have on the world. Edit (Coming Soon)
The first trailer features The Beginning is the End is the Beginning by the Smashing Pumpkins. The second trailer contains 3 songs. Prophecies and Pruit Igoe from the Koyaanisqatsi soundtrack by Philip Glass and Take a Bow by Muse. There are additional trailers that feature the song Angel by Massive Attack. Edit (Coming Soon)
The tracklist of the OST goes as follows: (1) Desolation Row (My Chemical Romance), (2) Unforgettable (Nat King Cole), (3) The Times They Are A-Changin' (Bob Dylan), (4) The Sound Of Silence (Simon & Garfunkel), (5) Me & Bobby McGee (Janis Joplin), (6) I'm Your Boogie Man (KC & The Sunshine Band), (7) You're My Thrill (Billie Holiday), (8)Pruit Igoe & Prophecies (Philip Glass), (9) Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen), (10) All Along The Watchtower (Jimi Hendrix), (11) Ride of the Valkyries (Budapest Symphony Orchestra), and (12) Pirate Jenny (Nina Simone). Though not found in the official soundtrack, the movie also features Nena's 99 Luftballons, Waylon Jenning's Clyde, a "musak" version of Tears For Fears' Everybody Wants to Rule the World and Leonard Cohen's First We Take Manhattan. It does not feature, however, Pirate Jenny, which is used during the end credits of the animated adaptation of "Tales of the Black Freighter". Edit (Coming Soon)
• Unforgettable (Nat King Cole) (Nostalgia commercial and The Comedian/Edward Blake's death)
• The Times They Are A-Changin' (Bob Dylan) (Opening Credit Sequence)
• 99 Luftballons (Nena) (Laurie/Silk Spectre enters Rafaels to meet with Dan)
• The Sound Of Silence (Simon & Garfunkel) (The Comedian's funeral)
• Ride of the Valkyries (Budapest Symphony Orchestra), (Dr. Manhattan and the Comedian fighting in Vietnam)
• Me & Bobby McGee (Janis Joplin) (Vietnam bar with The Comedian and Dr. Manhattan)
• I'm Your Boogie Man (KC & The Sunshine Band) (Keene Act riots)
• You're My Thrill (Billie Holiday) (Laurie and multiple Dr. Manhattans having sex)
• Prophecies (Philip Glass) (Dr. Manhattan's flashbacks on Mars)
• Pruit Igoe (Philip Glass) (Dr. Manhattan's flashbacks on Mars)
• Prophecies (Reprise) (Philip Glass) (Dr. Manhattan's flashbacks on Mars)
• Everybody Wants to Rule the World (Tears for Fears) (Muzak version) (Veidt's foyer just as Roy Chess attempts to assassinate Veidt)
• Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen) (Laurie and Dan having sex)
• Intermezzo from Cavalleria rusticana (famously referred to as Theme from Raging Bull (1980)) (Pietro Mascagni) (Hollis Mason/Nite Owl's death scene) (Director's Cut only)
• Clyde (Waylon Jennings) (Rorschach's interrogation in Happy Harry's)
• All Along The Watchtower (Jimi Hendrix) (Rorschach and Dan arrive in Karnak)
• Requiem: No. 1 Introitus and Kyrie: Requiem and Kyrie (Mozart) (Dan and Laurie leave Karnak)
• Desolation Row (My Chemical Romance) (End Credits)
• First We Take Manhattan (Leonard Cohen) (End Credits) (not in IMAX version) Edit (Coming Soon)
In the Uncut Extended Trailer for 300 (2006) (2006), in a flash of white at 1 minute and 52 seconds in, right after a sword fight shot, is a test shot of Rorshach holding The Comedian's button. This first official image from director Zack Snyder features that film's associate producer, Wesley Coller, wearing a makeshift mask in front of a composite Manhattan backdrop. It was created as an experiment by Snyder to establish the mood and look of his proposed Watchmen project. Snyder's wife, Deborah Snyder, bet him $100 that no one would discover it, while he was convinced that someone would find it almost immediately. He won. Edit (Coming Soon)
To quote Alan Moore from an interview with Bill Baker: I'd never really been interested in having my work adapted for film. So I decided that the only thing that I could do that would be taking the high ground on the issue would be to refuse any future payments for films that were made of my work. This is for the films such as Watchmen and V for Vendetta [also for Constantine], things that were owned by companies and which I no longer owned, and where I didn't have a say whether they were filmed or not. In the instance where they were filmed, I would not be accepting money for them, and I would be asking for my name in consequence to be taken off of the films. Edit (Coming Soon)
The Theatrical Cut is more loosely based on the book than the Director's or Ultimate Cuts, while still being very close to the source material as it is. However, the Ultimate Cut is the most slavishly faithful, going so far as to include the "Tales of the Black Freighter" News stand subplot that took up a good portion of the comic book.
A few of the additions to the Director's (and, subsequently, Ultimate) Cut are actually scenes that were not in the graphic novel in the first place, most notably Rorschach's initial encounter with two cops at Blake's apartment. This scene, however, does not contradict any major plot points, and merely serves as character development.
A few other, minor changes include:
-The police investigation of Blake's murder & subsequent dialog between the two detectives that opens the 1st chapter of the graphic novel is reduced in favor of a scene depicting the fight between Blake and his attacker.
- In the graphic novel, The Comedian was born in 1924, but in the film he was born in 1918. This change was most likely done to accommodate the actor playing him, who simply could not be passed off as a teenager for the flashback to 1940 and without resorting to hiring another actor to play the younger Comedian.
- In the novel, the masked adventurers were never known as "The Watchmen." The name referred to the speech that JFK never got to make in Dallas (due to his assassination), which contained the line "We in this generation are by destiny, rather than by choice, the watchmen on the walls of world freedom." It also refers to the old Roman phrase "Who Watches The Watchmen?" a phrase that serves as the theme of the graphic novel and appears throughout it as unfinished graffiti. The proposed name for the second-generation costumed adventurers in the novel was "The Crimebusters," although the group never formed, and the name was never adopted.
- Dan Dreiberg, not Rorschach, breaks the news of the Comedian's death to Adrian Veidt. In the novel, Rorschach bypasses the security at Adrian's office by using his grappling gun to enter through a high window. Dan merely approaches Adrian as he's finishing up a press conference at his office.
- The setup which gets Rorschach arrested is different. In the movie, Rorschach goes to Moloch's (Matt Frewer) apartment after doing research on Roy Chess (Douglas Chapman), the man who attempted to assassinate Adrian Veidt. At Chess' apartment, Rorschach found Chess' ID card which showed he worked for Pyramid Transnational. Rorschach had seen this logo at Moloch's, and hence went to talk to Moloch and ended up being framed. In the book, Rorschach visits Moloch once more, before Veidt's assassination attempt. He tells Moloch to leave him a message in a trash can if he remembers anything that could help Rorschach with the mask-killer. Rorschach receives a note, and then arrives at Moloch's house to discuss the Comedian, when he is ambushed by the cops.
- Rorschach's hunting down of the kidnapper of Blair Roche. The movie keeps the majority of this sequence the same except for the death of the kidnapper. In the movie, Rorschach simply hacks the man's head to pieces with a meat cleaver; while in the novel, Rorschach gives the kidnapper a choice of cutting through his own arm that is cuffed to a wood stove or burning in the room Rorschach has set ablaze.
- The absence of the flashback sequence wherein an angry Laurie, having just learned (through Hollis Mason's book Under The Hood) that the Comedian tried to rape her mother, confronts him at Mason's honorary party. This scene is considered reasonably important by some as helping to establish Laurie's deep hatred of him, and why she spurns the knowledge that he's her father so strongly.
- The absence of the flashback sequence where Veidt invites Jon and Laurie to dinner at Karnak. This scene is important for being the introduction of the genetically-engineered lynx Bubastis, whose unexplained presence in the film has confused some.
- The subplot involving the two detectives who are assigned on to the Edward Blake case, which was a big part of the book. The two detectives are now only seen in two scenes.
- The omission of the background story of Rorschach's psychiatrist. In the novel we see how the psychiatrist's home life and emotional equilibrium is wrecked by his intimate contact with Rorschach, because "when you gaze into the abyss, the abyss also gazes into you." The Director's Cut adds some material to this scene, but does not depict scenes of the psychiatrist outside of his interview with Rorschach.
-A significant part of Rorschach's history, how he came to be Rorschach and how he discovered the material that makes up his "face" (mask), is omitted from the film. As Walter Kovacs he hears about the murder of a woman, Kitty Genovese, which moves him to become vigilante. Genovese was killed outside her apartment building. At the time the graphic novel was released it was believed that her neighbors did nothing to help her, analysis of the crime since then leaves that theory ambiguous. The movie does recreate the event that made him a sociopath, his investigation of the little girl's disappearance (see above).
- Rorschach's second costume, and the confrontation with his landlady. Whilst the comic mentions Rorschach's landlady several times, including having a TV interview with her when he's captured and her accusations of him trying to take advantage of her sexually, there's no mention of her in the film. As such, there's no scene of Rorschach retrieving his journal and spare costume, only to confront his stricken landlady. The film has Rorschach simply retrieving his old costume from Dr. Long during the prison riot.
-The scenes with Laurie on Mars with Dr. Manhattan deciding the fate of the world are intact except for a significant change: in the comic books, Laurie deduces through repressed memories that her mother had a romantic relationship with the Comedian despite his attempted rape of her years before. Laurie comes to this realization herself. In the film, Manhattan touches her head and releases the repressed memories she has.
- The finale. Instead of a genetically-engineered squid-like life-form passing off as an alien landing in the heart of New York in the novel, Veidt instead uses the "clean energy" sphere he'd developed with Manhattan to release a series of "energy bombs" (for lack of a better term) based on Dr. Manhattan's powers in cities around the globe, making Manhattan appear responsible. The consequences, the Watchmen's decision to take on a code of silence, and Rorschach's death all pretty much play out the same, though this time Nite Owl sees his death and yells in anguish. Dan also confronts an calm Veidt and beats him; Veidt does not resist or defend himself & merely tells him "a world at peace, Daniel. There had to be sacrifice."
- Unlike the book, the police never deduce that Daniel is Nite Owl, and neither he nor Laurie become wanted fugitives for breaking Rorschach out of prison. As such, they both stay in New York City with the apparent intention of resuming their superhero careers to some degree.
Several major scenes not included in the Theatrical Cut that are present in the Director's and Ultimate Cuts include the murder of Hollis Mason, along with Dan's furious outburst at the knot top in the bar, Dr. Manhattan's explanation of the symbol on his forehead, and Dan and Laurie having a conversation after they fight the knot tops in the alley. Mostly, however, the Director's and Ultimate Cuts make the film more faithful to the graphic novel not by adding lots of new scenes, but instead simply extending small pieces of dialogue here and there to expand on character development which was so prominent in the comics. Edit (Coming Soon)
There are three known versions of the film, the latter two of which were released on DVD and Blu-ray disc after the theatrical release of the film. The versions are:
(1) The Theatrical Cut, which is 2 hours and 42 minutes long, including ten minutes of credits. Without the credits, this version is 2 hours and 32 minutes long, or thereabouts. It does not include any "Tales of the Black Freighter" scenes and is considered the "Basic" version. It was released on single-disc DVD on July 21st, 2009.
(2) A Director's Cut that has all the scenes removed from the theatrical cut restored, but still without the "Black Freighter" scenes. This version runs roughly 25 minutes longer than the Theatrical Cut. This version was released on 2-disc Special Edition DVD set and Blu-ray disc on July 21st, 2009, the same day as the Theatrical Cut DVD. (The Director's Cut DVD and Blu-ray disc only include the Theatrical Cut as a Digital Copy.)
(3) The Ultimate Edition. This version is the Director's Cut plus "Tales of the Black Freighter" and live action transition footage shot specifically for this version, which leads in and out of the "Black Freighter" scenes. This cut runs around 3 hours 30 minutes. This version also includes Under the Hood as well as Watchmen: The Complete Motion Comics as bonus features. This could be considered an extended Director's Cut, since this was the original vision Snyder had of the adaptation. It was released in late 2009 and will be a limited release, only available until June 2010. Edit (Coming Soon)
1. Rorschach encounters a couple of cops at Blake's apartment and fights them briefly before we move onto Dan and Hollis talking about the Minutemen.
2. Before Dan leaves Hollis's place, they see Rorschach on the news as it is reported that he attacked the cops.
3. There are a few extra shots of Dan walking home from Hollis's.
4. Dan tells Rorschach that he saw him on the news.
5. After Rorschach leaves Dan's place, he is shown walking through the street giving another one of his journal entries.
6. As he enters Rockefeller Research Center, Rorschach says, "Veidt just as bad. Possible homosexual? Must investigate further."
7. The opening of Blake's funeral is slightly extended; we see the soldiers hoist Blake's coffin out of the hearse, and Dr. Manhattan shaking hands with Dan and Adrian.
8. The Vietnam War introduction has an extra part with Blake shooting out of a helicopter. Once the helicopter lands, we see him walk towards the man on the ground and burn him.
9. Adrian's flashback involving the Watchmen meeting shows Dr. Manhattan arriving with Janey, and Dan and Laurie exchanging a smile. The Comedian's speech is also slightly extended; he details how "justice is coming to all of us."
10. The riot flashback is extended, with several of the people in the crowd shouting at the Comedian and throwing objects at him before he says, "Goddamn it; all right, that's how you want to do it?"
11. The end of Blake's funeral is slightly extended after Dan flips the smiley face pin into the grave.
12. Moloch is shown checking his letterbox before after he enters his house.
13. When Dan and Laurie are walking to Hollis's they pass the newsstand, where Bernie briefly talks to himself and then talks to Walter Kovacs as they walk past. Dan then suggests to Laurie that they catch a cab.
14. The cuts between Jon's interview and the alley fight scene are slightly reorganized.
15. After Jon yells, "Leave me alone!", he is shown standing alone in the TV station, implying that he teleported everyone out of the room.
16. Directly after this we see Dan and Laurie standing together panting in the alley, before they walk out to the street and Laurie decides not to go to Hollis'.
17. Dan then arrives at Hollis', where he and Hollis see Dr. Manhattan shouting at the television people. This is directly followed by Dr. Manhattan's origin story.
18. The shot of Dr. Manhattan high in the sky with the leaves falling around him is incorporated into his origin story.
19. Dr. Manhattan's hydrogen logo is explained in detail during his origin story.
20. Following the origin story, We see Laurie being interviewed by the FBI agents about the whereabouts of Dr. Manhattan. During the interview, one of the agents mentions Jon's importance to the national security, and she has a flashback of the Comedian during the Watchmen meeting saying that "Once those nukes start flyin', we'll all be dust." She then remembers standing outside the meeting hall talking to the Comedian with her mother, and then is brought back to reality when a scientist runs in yelling, "We found him! He's on Mars."
21. The following scene with Nixon and his men discussing the nuclear fallout drift is about twice as long.
22. Laurie is then shown injuring the FBI agent and handcuffing him to a pipe in the bathroom, stating that she's "been a prisoner in [her] life long enough."
23. During Adrian Veidt's assassination attempt, Roy Chess shoots Veidt's secretary's fingers off. In the graphic novel, the heads of industry (like Lee Iaccoca) are not present and the assassin shoots Veidt's secretary through the chest, presumably killing her.
24. Rorschach is shown retrieving his items from an alley and delivering another monologue, before he goes to Roy Chess's apartment. This is followed by him going to Moloch's.
25. The interview with Kovacs and Dr. Long is extended; the two discuss compromise and the fact that the vigilantes "Do it because they are compelled."
26. During Rorschach's flashback we see the murderer arriving home and seeing his door has been kicked open.
27. The murderer's demise is a few seconds longer, with more hacks from Rorschach & a bit of extra gore.
28. After the interview, Dr. Long says to a cop, "I can't help him."
29. The intro to Laurie looking around Dan's basement now shows her walking past his costume.
30. Before Laurie tries on Dan's goggles, he talks about how Hollis inspired him to become a masked adventurer.
31. After Dan and Laurie fail to make love, Laurie tells him that they'll just take their relationship slowly.
32. During the tenement rescue, Laurie now lines up the civilians and one little girl asks her mother if Dan is Jesus.
33. There are a few extra shots when Dan and Laurie have sex in the Archimedes/Owlship.
34. Dan and Laurie arrive at the prison outside of Rorschach's cell, and Laurie asks how they even know if he's still alive. Dan spots Laurence's dead body and says, "he's alive."
35. Laurie and Rorschach argue on the prison roof, and then the three of them escape as cops start firing at them.
36. After we see Laurie goes to Mars, we see the Knot-tops gang meet at the newsstand and discuss Nite Owl busting Rorschach out of prison. They mistake Nite Owl for Hollis Mason, and go to his house to beat him up.
37. We then see Hollis on the phone to Sally Jupiter, where the two discuss Laurie and Dan back in costume. Hollis hangs up when he hears a knock on the door, and the Knot-tops come into his apartment and brutally beat him up, and ultimately kill him.
38. Rorschach and Dan have a longer discussion about getting the information they need from the people who are employed by Pyramid.
39. Before they leave the bar, Dan sees a news report on Hollis's murder and starts brutally beating up the nearest knot-top in the bar. Rorschach has to hold Dan back after he knocks out the knot-top's front teeth in the beating.
40. Jon and Laurie's conversation on Mars is heavily extended; they discuss Jon's perception of time and how it distresses Laurie.
41. At Veidt's office, Dan is at first silent due to Hollis's murder, and then picks himself up when Rorschach asks him what he's doing. Edit (Coming Soon)
Along with all the changes listed above in the Director's Cut, the Ultimate Cut features these additions:
1. After Rorschach is seen walking through the streets talking about how "even in the face of Armageddon, I will not compromise in [his need for justice to be made]," we see the first clip from Tales of the Black Freighter, which is followed by a short scene featuring the two Bernies and an unmasked Rorschach.
2. After Rorschach's anecdote about the Comedian and his views on life, there is another newsstand scene featuring the two Bernies and, this time, Hollis Mason. Shortly afterwards, the camera zooms in on the comic book one of the Bernies is reading, and Black Freighter resumes. Afterwards we return to Laurie and Jon making love in bed.
3. After Dan and Laurie fight the knot-tops in the alley, we again cut to the Black Freighter, and after a section of this we return to the newsstand where a man announces that Dr. Manhattan has left Earth.
4. After Rorschach is arrested we see the two Bernies discussing how Rorschach had been coming to the newsstand all that time and they hadn't realised it, and then we see another section of Black Freighter. Afterwards we come back to Rorschach and the psychiatrist.
5. After Dan has his nightmare we see another part of Black Freighter, and then we see the knot-tops picking on the Bernie reading the comic book.
6. After Rorschach and Dan leave for Antarctica, we again see the Bernies at the newsstand, and see another section of Black Freighter.
7. Just after Adrian announces his plan, we see the final part of Black Freighter, and then zoom out and rejoin the Bernies just before Adrian's bomb kills them in the street. Edit (Coming Soon)