watchmen peteypedia

Mark Hill/HBO

‘Watchmen’ website expands what you know about its alt-history

The history between the comic and the show is starting to form.


Michelle Jaworski

Internet Culture

Posted on Oct 22, 2019   Updated on May 20, 2021, 12:50 am CDT

This article contains spoilers.

The series premiere of Watchmen introduced us to an alternate future that’s already raising plenty of questions. But you don’t have to wait for more episodes to start diving the world shaped by its alternate history or the events of the Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons-penned comic.

Like Westworld, Watchmen has its own supplemental website that helps give additional context to what we’ve already seen. However, you won’t have to go on a scavenger hunt just to find what you need: HBO has its own website called Peteypedia that currently contains four separate memos. Although the internet is not really a thing in Watchmen’s 2019, Peteypedia—which is named after Agent Dale Petey, who wrote one of the memos included in the first bundle of files—is at least readily available to us.

You don’t necessarily need to peruse and obsessively comb over the documents to further enrich your Watchmen viewing experience. What the memos do is give further context to the world that the Watchmen series formed and tie up (or tangle) some loose ends from the comic.

One of those files is a pamphlet from the Greenwood Center For Cultural Heritage in Tulsa, which is advertising an exhibition for Trust in the Law! The 1921 feature film that is featured during the opening minutes of the show is fictional, but it’s a rousing story of a real-life sheriff: Bass Reeves. To give a 2019 crowd context, the pamphlet compares Trust in the Law! to American Hero Story (which is in and of itself a riff on Ryan Murphy’s anthology series American Crime Story).

Also included among the memos is the article we briefly see someone reading in Tulsa that reads, “Veidt Declared Dead.” Although we’re no closer to locating Adrian Veidt (played by Jeremy Irons) by reading it, it’s full of nuggets that start to reveal what Veidt has been up to since launching a giant squid onto New York. He was untraceable for seven years, so federal authorities did not have any luck in locating him. Ezra Klein is now the White House press secretary, and that Rorschach’s Journal was largely “dismissed as either a hoax or the expression of a mental illness” (but some extremists are fans) after being published in 1986.

Veidt was even asked about Rorschach’s Journal, and according to a memo from Petey, Veidt dismissed it as fake news.

“I knew Rorschach. I worked with Rorschach,” Veidt said. “And while we had our differences, he had my sympathy, because he was a damaged human being, and he had my admiration, too, as no one in our fraternity was more dedicated to making our world safer than Walter was. If we are to remember him at all as we move into the future, let us remember him for those qualities, not this fabrication baring his name. It is, quite literally, fake news.”

That quote is part of Petey’s documentation of the history behind Rorschach’s Journal sent to the Anti-Vigilante Task Force (Group). His assessment, which includes the history behind the journal’s publication, concluded that the FBI shouldn’t stop its search for Veidt.

Petey is also name-checked in a memo from FBI director James Doyan, who is advising the Anti-Vigilante Task Force (Group) on how to use a computer with the assurance that they are safe to use and won’t emit radiation. It’s part of a bigger plan to reintroduce technology originally recalled by the Tech Recall and Reintroduction Act of 1993. Apart from professional reassurances, Doyan uses his old partner as an example of just how computers can revolutionize police work, something that 

The computers, the phones, the towers that would have provided communications without wires—we destroyed it all, hoping it would save us. And yet, baby cephalopods still rain from the sky.

Our fear of technology was for naught.

Don’t be like me. Don’t be stupid. The future is here again. Don’t fear it. Embrace it. 

You can read all of the documents over at Peteypedia.


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*First Published: Oct 22, 2019, 4:31 pm CDT