After the brilliance of The Leftovers, it’s hard to be mad about Damon Lindelof tackling something as sacred (to most comic book fans) as Watchmen. As evidenced by yesterday’s lengthy Instagram post, Lindelof is gearing up for production on his latest HBO endeavor, and today brings word of the first official casting news for the upcoming series — which, by the way, is not a direct adaptation.

First, the casting news: Deadline reports that Lindelof has assembled the first group of actors for his HBO version of Alan Moore’s classic graphic novel. Regina King (who blew us away in The Leftovers), Don Johnson, Tim Blake Nelson, Adelaide Clemens, Louis Gossett Jr., and Andrew Howard have all signed on for unspecified roles in Watchmen. Per the report, it’s unclear if any or all of them will be featured beyond the pilot, though sources say at least one of them will be a series regular.

Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ award-winning graphic novel was originally published in 1986, and takes place in an alternate history where superheroes lived out in the open for decades, changing the course of world events as we know them. But in the ’80s, masked heroes have been outlawed, with many retiring or working for the government. As tensions between America and the Soviet Union push the hands of the Doomsday Clock perilously closer to midnight, the murder of a prominent superhero who worked for the government forces a complex group of heroes out of retirement to reckon with their past — and save our future.

In a very lengthy letter published to Instagram, Damon Lindelof explained his personal connection to Watchmen and assured fans that he has nothing but the utmost respect for the material — so much so that he turned down the opportunity to make a TV series based on Moore and Gibbons’ novel on more than one occasion in the past 20 years. Although he conceded that he’s going against the wishes of Moore himself (who has notoriously expressed disapproval for adaptations of his work), Lindelof revealed that his plans aren’t to directly adapt Watchmen, but instead to treat the original graphic novel as canon.

Day 140.

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While that sounds like Lindelof is making a sequel, he explained that his Watchmen will be an original story that takes place in a contemporary world where the classic story is historical reality. The new series will feature familiar faces as well as new characters created by Lindelof and, per his letter, a very diverse group of writers that includes women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ community.

It’s certainly an interesting approach, and given his stunning work on The Leftovers, I can’t say I’m not looking forward to Lindelof’s Watchmen — and I say this as a fan of the original graphic novel. No matter what shape or form it took, a new Watchmen adaptation was always destined to be divisive among fans no matter what, but I’m looking forward to seeing how it comes together.