Update: Less than a week after it’s promising premiere, DC has canceled Swamp Thing. It was initially reported on Twitter that the cancelation was due to a North Carolina tax break paperwork error, which was gonna cost Warner Bros. $34 million. This has since been disputed, with the actual number coming in much smaller.
As I really enjoy the character, and the first episode was solid, this is disappointing news. Hopefully, they find some way to save it, but it doesn’t seem likely.
2nd UPDATE: 5/28/19 – This second trailer reveals a lot more about the show’s story, and see Dr. Arcane return home. While it’s heavy on plot, it’s pretty light on Swamp Thing – check it out…
UPDATE: 4/24/19 – DC Universe has released a full trailer for the show now, and they’re going heavy on the horror angle…we love it.
The still fairly new streaming service DC Universe, which is home to the dark, but expectation-exceeding Titans series, and the criminally under-watched Doom Patrol, has another new live-action original coming out in May – Swamp Thing.
The character of Swamp Thing first popped up in DC Comics back in 1971, as a one-off horror story in House of Secrets #92, taking place during the early 20th century. The character’s roots in the horror genre probably explain some of the creative minds behind this show, namely producer James Wan, who is the mastermind behind not only The Conjuring-universe films but the Saw and Insidious franchises as well. Wan also has another DC connection, as he just directed their mega-hit Aquaman.
Created by writer Len Wein and artist Bernie Wrightson, Swamp Thing would eventually become a part of the regular DC continuity and stars in books featuring a slew of iconic writers including Grant Morrison, Mark Millar, Brian K. Vaughn, and the great Alan Moore.
It was Moore’s run in the 1980s that redefined the character to a degree. The original story told revolved around a man named Alec Holland, who is turned into the swamp monster we all know and love, and toils away trying to find a cure for himself. But Moore would reveal instead that Swamp Thing was never Holland, only absorbed the man’s conscious upon his death, and now mistakenly believes himself to be Alec. This opened the door for the creature itself to be much older, and was able to work the original House of Secrets appearance into canon.
Now, which path the new series will take we’re not sure yet, but we know Alec Holland will be around, played by It: Chapter 2‘s Andy Bean. And starring as the imposing title character Swamp Thing is Derek Mears, who has previously played several such hulking characters, including both Jason Voorhees and The Predator.
Per DC: “Swamp Thing” follows Abby Arcane (Reed) as she investigates what seems to be a deadly swamp-born virus in a small town in Louisiana but soon discovers that the swamp holds mystical and terrifying secrets. When unexplainable and chilling horrors emerge from the murky marsh, no one is safe.
This isn’t the first time that the protector of “the Green” has made it to live action, starring in two films during the 1980s (the first one directed by the late Wes Craven), and a TV series in the early 1990s, which is arguably better than either of the movies. In both movies, as well as all 72 episodes of the old show, Dick Durock played Swamp Thing, but he, unfortunately, passed away in 2009.
This new series was set for a 13-episode first season, but recent reports indicate that creative differences have forced the order down to only ten episodes, with new writers brought in to rework the end. Whether this is just a speed-bump along the way, or a sign that the show might only be destined for one season remains unclear, but our hope is certainly that this lives up the bar set by Titans and Doom Patrol and can stay in production for as long as they’ll have it.
Swamp Thing is a character that while not entirely (or at all) human, takes on the burden of protecting us from ourselves and looking after the well-being of the planet around us. That seems like a message worth listening to.
Aside from the teaser above, DCU hasn’t released too much on the show to this point, but we did get some promo posters…
Alongside Mears and Bean, the cast also features Jennifer Beals (Four Rooms), Virginia Madsen (Candyman), Ian Ziering (Sharknado), Will Patton (Halloween), Crystal Reed (Gotham), and Legion‘s Kevin Durand.
Swamp Thing is set to premiere on the streaming service starting May 31st of this year.
Images: DC Universe, DC Comics, USA Network