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SYFY WIRE Watchmen

Pow! Zack Snyder shares Captain America-esque moment cut from Watchmen

By Josh Weiss
Silk Spectre Watchmen

Zack Snyder's 2009 film adaptation of Watchmen is polarizing to say the least, but there is one thing about it that viewers can agree on: the movie's opening credits are an absolute masterclass in cinematic storytelling. Perfectly set to Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are A-Changin'," the diorama-like tableaus following The Comedian's death fill in a ton of backstory from the original graphic novel that the would have made the two-and-a-half hour feature didn't have the time to explore.

Working off of Alan Moore's prose writing that breaks up each issue, Snyder created beautiful little snapshots that established all of the major players in the story, like Rorschach and Doctor Manhattan. He even got to explore the heyday of the Minutemen, a group of Golden Age costumed adventurers that included Hollis Mason (the original Nite Owl) and Silk Spectre (Sally Jupiter).

In particular, Sally (played by Carla Gugino, she was the mother of Laurie Jupiter, the second Silk Spectre) gets several moments in the opening credits that chronicle her rise and fall as America's sweetheart. She goes from a WWII-era hero to a washed-up and bitter old woman withering away in a California retirement home. We get a sense that the GIs absolutely loved her (as evidenced by the fact that her likeness was painted onto the side of a U.S. bomber), but Snyder nearly went the extra mile in giving Sally a very Captain America moment.

Appearing on a Nerd Queens livestream earlier this week, the filmmaker showed off a sketch he did of Silk Spectre beating up the chief Nazi himself: Adolph Hitler.

Check out the sketch on the left side of the image below:

Silk Spectre beats up Hitler

For whatever reason, the visual never made it into the finished cut. Was DC possibly worried about incurring the wrath of Marvel? Would the House of Ideas have considered it an infringement on the very first issue of Captain America published in 1941? Maybe, or perhaps Snyder thought it was just too similar to the first image of Nite Owl punching out a criminal (who is heavily implied to be the one that killed Batman's parents). In any case, it would've been an insanely cool thing to see Silk Spectre underscoring the film's alternate timeline by wailing on the leader of the Third Reich. Interestingly, Watchmen hit theaters just a few months before Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds, which put its own speculative spin on how WWII was won.

Appearing on the Script Apart podcast over the summer, Watchmen screenwriter David Hayter admitted that the idea for the snapshot-like moments in the opening credits came from Snyder.

"I don't how it was done. I wasn't around when they made that sequence, I just sat at the premiere with my jaw on the floor. It's one of the greatest opening sequences of any film ever," he said. "I talked to [co-screenwriter] Alex Tse, who was on set when they did it, and he said that the studio kept saying, 'Why are we paying for this crazy, complex opening sequence? This is crazy.' Apparently Zack said to Alex, 'Take it out of the script, I know what I want to shoot, so we'll just go do it anyway.' Like you just toss off the most incredibly complex opening title sequence in history. He recreated the Kennedy assassination, among 100 other things, and it wasn't even in the script. I don't know how he did it. That's a miracle to me. I've never even asked Zack. I can't wrap my head around it, frankly. I'm more stunned than anybody because I'd never even heard of not putting something that complex in the script."