5 Adrian Veidt Theories From 'Watchmen' That Will Make Your Brain Hurt

Mark Hill/HBO

Spoilers ahead for Watchmen Episode 5. Every week brings new questions about what in the world imprisoned Watchmen antagonist Adrian Veidt is doing. His bizarre actions have spawned quite a few Watchmen Adrian Veidt theories, with many trying to decipher what his storyline means, and how it connects to the larger events happening in Tulsa. While we can be at least reasonably confident that Veidt is stuck in space somewhere near Jupiter and is trying to escape, it's still not clear why, how, and who put him there. We're all confused, so here's some popular theories about what the squid mastermind may be up to.

The timing is off

One of the theories that's been around since the start is that Veidt's storyline is happening seven years before the show's events, and he really is dead. That's why there's a newspaper that declares Veidt dead within the very first episode. Showrunner Damon Lindelof also said on the official Watchmen podcast that Veidt's storyline is not running "parallel" to Angela and Laurie's stories, but they are "converging lines," hinting that they are indeed happening at two different times.

Thanks to Lady Trieu's vivarium, that theory has more fodder now, with some proposing Veidt himself is the statue in the garden. StrandedBaby on Reddit noted that each time Veidt's cake is shown, it has another candle, and in Episode 4 he says he's been stuck there for four years. If that's indeed a pattern, that means Veidt has three more episodes before he catches up to the year 2019 — and possibly meets his golden demise at the hands of Lady Trieu.

Mark Hill/HBO

The empathy bomb

But what is Veidt doing out there? One theory by VicDiGital says that Lady Trieu and Will Reeves are building an "empathy bomb" so that everyone can experience the horrors of institutionalized racism and thus wipe out all prejudice. This theory supposes that Lady Trieu captured Veidt and forced him to run tests about how to make people suddenly absorb information and memories, which is what he does to an extent with his cloned servants, Crookshanks and Philips.

"His arrival at the Clarke farm in his escape pod was the final piece of Lady Trieu's puzzle," they write. "Bian's IV drip memory is the official test on how well Veidt's formula works, and as we see, it worked great."

Doctor Manhattan imprisoned him

The more popular theory people have though is that it's really the blue superhuman Doctor Manhattan who imprisoned Veidt. He's the only one living off-world, and he's capable of making clones of himself and manipulating time and space as we know it. Since we don't know the extent of Lady Trieu's tech yet, it seems like the only one capable of trapping Veidt anywhere is Dr. Manhattan himself.

Dr. Manhattan mentions at the end of the Watchmen comic that he's interested in trying to create life, which many point to as evidence that he's the real maker behind Crookshanks, Philips, and even the Game Warden. (I mean, is that not the same actor as Philips?) That would mean the clone farm is his, and for whatever reason Veidt is stuck in Dr. Manhattan's otherworldly workshop.

The wrinkle with this theory is that the Watchmen comic was largely about Dr. Manhattan becoming increasingly disconnected from human affairs, and he barely batted an eyelash at the destruction of New York City. Dr. Manhattan literally tells Veidt that he's like a "termite" to him in the comic, so it's hard to imagine him even personally bothering with imprisoning Veidt.

Mark Hill/HBO

Veidt got himself stuck

It's possible Veidt simply found a way to break into the clone farm and got himself stuck, though. If Dr. Manhattan is like a god, perhaps the supposed utopia that Veidt is trapped in is an Adam and Eve world that was meant to be undisturbed while Dr. Manhattan went off to do whatever blue men in space do.

That would possibly explain why Veidt tries to send an SOS signal to assumedly Dr. Manhattan by spelling out "SAVE ME D—". Perhaps Veidt, in his obsession to understand and ultimately one-up Dr. Manhattan, found out about this workshop and snuck in somehow. And maybe Dr. Manhattan has no idea (or cares) that he's even there?

Lady Trieu wants to kill Doctor Manhattan

Another Reddit theory guesses that Lady Trieu took over Veidt's company and trapped him in space simply so she could kill Dr. Manhattan, who won the Vietnam War for the United States, decimating her village in the process.

Since Veidt obsesses over Dr. Manhattan and his origins, it does make sense that if Lady Trieu wanted to exact revenge on Dr. Manhattan, she'd have to take Veidt off the board or else he'd try to involve himself.

There's tons of other theories floating around, but if the timeline theory holds, that means fans may just have to wait until Episode 7 to get any solid answers about Veidt's fate.