The Watchmen superheroes change from generation to generation. Sometimes they work as a cohesive group and other times they don’t. Here’s a look at the “Watchmen” of the past and the rumored Watchmen for HBO’s series. (Of course, only one of the “superheroes” actually has superhero powers. It’s more accurate to refer to the others as flawed, costumed heroes.) This article has major spoilers for the comics and some spoilers for the TV series.
The First Group Is Called the Minutemen
The original comic series featured a first-generation and a second-generation group of heroes. Neither group was technically called Watchmen.
The first-generation was active in the 1930s and the 1940s. They called themselves the Minutemen. (Pictured above are the Minutemen from the movie.)
They included Captain Metropolis, Dollar Bill, Hollis Mason (the first Nite Owl), Hooded Justice (whose identity is never known), Mothman, Sally Jupiter (Silk Spectre’s mom), and Silhouette.
Edward Blake (aka the Comedian) was another superhero,. Blake was the character whose murder was the mystery at the center of the comics. In the comics, he also tried to rape Sally Jupiter, though she later called it a moral lapse. Blake was a member of both the Minutemen and the Crimebusters.
The Second Generation Group Was Quickly Banned
The second-generation of superheroes was around in the mid-1980s, and used to call themselves the Crimebusters until the Keene Act banned all costumed superheroes who weren’t sanctioned by the government. The Crimebusters group pictured above is from the movie, not the TV series.
Technically, they never really were much of a cohesive group. One of them had the idea of being the Crimebusters, but then the Keene Act was passed.
The members of this group included Adrian Veidt, a wealthy genius known as Ozymandias. He was born in 1939 as is the son of German-American immigrants. When his parents died, he inherited their fortune but gave it to charity. He made his own wealth. He named himself Ozymandias at the age of 19. Veidt revealed his identity two years after the Keene Act passed and banned costumed superheroes.
Laurie Juspeczyk aka Silk Spectre was in the second group, along with Dan Dreiberg, an inventor who became the second Nite Owl.
Walter Kovacs aka Rorschach was a deeply disturbed private detective of sorts whose journal was sent to a newspaper to be published after he died.
Dr. Jon Osterman turned into Doctor Manhattan after an experiment went wrong in the Intrinsic Field Subtractor in 1959. Out of all the superheroes, only Doctor Manhattan had actual powers. But in the comics, he alluded to feeling like Ozymandias was different from the others and more like him, hinting that perhaps Ozymandias had some kind of power himself, although more subtle.
Veidt planned to use a catastrophic event to unite the world against a common enemy. To do so, he manipulated Doctor Manhattan into going into exile on Mars. Veidt planned to teleport a telepathic squid (of sorts) into New York, killing millions. This united the world against a supposed alien attack. But the squid was actually created by Veidt.
The movie follows the same storyline as the comics, except instead of a giant squid, Vedit made Doctor Manhattan out to be the cause of New York’s destruction and the force everyone was united against. This version is not canon and is not followed in the TV series.
The Third & Present-Day Superheroes Are in the TV Series
Now the new series takes place about 30 years later, in present-day 2019. A lot of people are running around in masks now, so it’s a little tough to tell who’s a “superhero” and who’s not. The police are wearing masks to hide their identities from a white supremacist group who also wears masks similar to Rorschach’s. These are the costumed heroes we know about so far from trailers and spoilers.
Sister Night is played by Regina King. She’s a (former?) police officer and mother of three in her non-costumed life.
Looking Glass is portrayed by Tim Blake Nelson and he wears a mirrored mask. He’s talented in psychology, according to HBO.
The Seventh Cavalry are decidely NOT superheroes. They are a white supremacist group who wears a mask similar to Rorschach’s. In the comics, Rorschach revealed Veidt’s plan in his journal, which was left with a right-wing paper called New Frontiersman before he died.
Red Scare is rumored to be played by Andrew Howard. He’s a cop who hides his face behind a red mask.
Pirate Jenny is pictured above in the trailer. Adelaide Clemens was once said to be portraying her, but more recent reports indicate that Jessica Camacho may have taken on that role.
Panda is played by Jacob Ming-Trent and may also be a member of the police force.
Except for the 7th Cavalry, all of the names listed above are members of or working with the Tulsa Police.