Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter is a 2009 direct-to-video animated feature from Warner Premiere and Warner Bros. Animation, released on March 24, 2009 as a tie-in to the Watchmen film. It is based on the fictional pirate comic within the Watchmen limited series.
From executive producer of Watchmen and 300 comes this daring story-within-a-story contained in the celebrated graphic novel upon which the hit film is based--Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter. Gerard Butler voices the Mariner in this daring pirate saga, the turbulent events of which may mirror those of the Watchmen's own world.
Behind the Scenes
Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter was originally included in the Watchmen script, but was changed from live-action footage to animation because of the $20 million it would have cost to film it in the stylized manner of 300 that Zack Snyder originally wanted; this animated version, originally intended to be included in the final cut, was then cut because the film was already approaching a three-hour running time. Gerard Butler, who starred in 300, voices the Captain in the animated feature, having been promised a role in the live-action film that never materialized. Jared Harris voices Ridley. Snyder had Butler and Harris record their parts together. The Ultimate Edition has a cut with the scenes woven in. The DVD release also includes a in-universe documentary named Under the Hood.