After the trailer for HBO's 'Watchmen' landed online last weekend, the internet's been awash with theories, Easter Egg hunts and references to the original comic book.
Already, people have clocked references to Nite Owl, Ozymandias, the ever-present Smiley Face, and even the politics of the alternate world where 'Watchmen' exists. One thing we clocked - and others did too - was a reference from the final scenes of the comic book, where it looked like Robert Redford was likely to be elected as US President.
In 1985 - when the original comic book was first released - Redford was regularly touted as a potential political candidate. As well as this, Redford's been active in Democrat politics for many, many years and publicly endorsed Barack Obama in 2012 for re-election. In the trailer, you can see a poster in the background that lists 'Important Presidents' and, sure enough, there's Robert Redford.
Here's a screenshot.
In the alternate history of 'Watchmen', Richard Nixon abolished term limits and secured a third term in office by 1985. As showrunner Damon Lindelof explained at the Television Critics' Association panel earlier this week, Gerald Ford assumed the presidency when Nixon died in office. By 1992, Gerald Ford loses the presidency to Robert Redford, who's still in office by 2019.
So far, HBO hasn't officially confirmed if Robert Redford will actually appear in the series or if he's merely referenced in the background as President. However, Fox News (yeah, exactly) are claiming that Redford will actually have a role in the series, will star as himself and, so far, are the only source for this news. Not only that, IMDb doesn't list Robert Redford as being in the cast of HBO's 'Watchmen', and the actor's representatives have made no statement on the matter.
Robert Redford announced that his final role would be David Lowery's 'The Old Man And The Gun', where he played a near-retirement bank robber in the '70s. Then, just as the movie premiered, Redford seemed to walk back his statements. Again, while he didn't flat-out say he wasn't retiring, he didn't say yes either. In other words, he'll probably come out of retirement for the right role and only if it suits him.
Obviously, if any of the trade bibles - THR, Variety, Deadline - had reported this and stated that he's actually going to be in it, it'd carry a bit more weight. Fox News, though? Yeah, maybe not. It's interesting to note as well that neither Entertainment Tonight, TVLine or any of the other trades have reported this. The likes of CBR and Comicbook.com are citing Fox News as a source and nothing else.
Expect there to be some kind of clarifying comment from HBO, Damon Lindelof or Robert Redford in the next couple of days.