In a new interview with film website Dark Horizons, Watchmen director Zack Synder addressed the continuing running time issue as well as the online fanboy controversy about the movie's ending.
Synder reiterated that the theatrical release of the adaptation of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon's landmark comic book series will likely clock in around 2 hours and 42 minutes, but that this version is just one of three planned for the DVD/Blu-ray release. A longer three-hour "director's cut" is also planned, along with a 3 ½ hour version that integrates the director's cut with the comic-book-within-a-comic-book "Black Freighter" short film that Warner Bros. has apparently yet to decide exactly how to release/package.
Regarding the film's ending [spoiler alert], online reports from a recent test screening in Portland, Oregon suggest that what's regarded as a highly-faithful adaptation of the graphic novel will not incorporate Moore's original ending literally, which for the unfamiliar involves a giant squid-like monster decimating New York City, designed to appear like an alien invasion, with the intended effect of uniting the World Community on the brink of nuclear war against a common enemy.
Synder tells Dark Horizons that the squid was not in any draft of the screenplay he saw, but that he and the screenwriters found an "elegant solution to the squid problem that I kind of embraced."
"I'm a fan of the thing as much as anyone, I was saying what are we going to do about this before I even read the script," revealed the director, indicating he agreed even before seeing a script that a literal adaptation of the ending was going to be difficult to pull off.
As to reports from the test screening that the squid has been replaced by multiple nuclear explosions?
"I won't say exactly," hinted Synder, "but... Dr. Manhattan has a certain energy signature, it's clearly his thing...so you know."
Finally, the director denied that he shot multiple endings to the film, confirming he only shot/produced one.