Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen is one of the most seminal works in comics history. The film adaptation lingered in development hell for years beginning in 1986, up until Warner Bros. acquired the film rights in 2005 and hired Zack Snyder to direct. As much as his changes to the story may have irritated die-hard fans of the comics, the Watchmen movie could have gone a very different direction if Terry Gilliam and Joel Silver’s version had made it to the screen.
While Snyder’s ending changed some of the specifics of how the story ended, it was still operating around the same basic idea: uniting humanity through fear of a threat that endangered our entire species. The Gilliam version, on the other hand, would have involved time travel and, frankly, would have been an enormous cop-out that would undoubtedly have pissed off Watchmen fans even more than the ending we got. The final act of Gilliam’s version would have seen Dr. Manhattan traveling back in time to stop the very experiment that created him, thus effectively negating the entire story we’d seen play out. In a new interview with the Huffington Post, Snyder and his producing partner and wife Deborah Snyder spoke about Gilliam’s version of Watchmen, as compared to their take: