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Questlove of The Roots SXSW
Questlove of The Roots SXSW
Photo Credit: Vickey Ford of Sneakshot Photography

'Watchmen' Showrunner Reveals Questlove's 'Finding Your Roots' Episode Inspired a Character's Storyline

Questlove of The Roots SXSW Photo Credit: Vickey Ford of Sneakshot Photography

Lindelof unpacks his dense and dark Watchmen adaption.

For those still scratching their heads over the first three episodes of HBO's Watchmenyou're not alone.

Luckily, series showrunner, Damon Lindelof, was the very logical first guest on Watchmen's official companion podcast. During his hour-long chat with Chernobyl creator, Craig Mazin, Lindelof unpacks the complicated alternate history from which the show is built, as well as the real-life events that informed various plot points and character storylines.

READ: "Were You Truly A Fan Of The Graphic Novel?": Regina King Addresses Hypocritical Watchmen Fans

While speaking on the show's protagonist-ish lead, Angela Abar (portrayed by Regina King,) Lindelof reveals the character's storyline was directly inspired by his obsession with Finding Your Roots, the PBS series hosted by Henry Louis Gates (who makes a brief cameo in the second episode of Watchmen,) that traces the family trees of its respective guests. Specifically, Questlove's appearance on the series. "Until an hour ago, I didn't know who I was," says The Roots drummer in his 2017 session with Gates, overwhelmed to learn his great great great grandparents arrived on the very last slave ship.

Lindeloff adds, "That's not something that I could really relate to, as a white person, as it pertains to the last 400 years of history in America that was visited upon people who were brought here to this country and enslaved." Lindelof likens the inherited trauma and the task of understanding painful histories to learning how narrowly his Jewish grandparents escaped concentration camps in Soviet Russia.

Hear Damon Lindelof discuss his dense and dark Watchmen adaptation on the show's official podcast below. Scroll on to watch an excerpt from Questlove's Finding Your Roots episode.