Today is a mixed bag for Swamp Thing fans. The beloved character has been begging for a modern live-action take for years and that was finally set to come our way with a new TV series being produced for the DC Universe streaming service, which launched last October. However, in the growing landscape of streaming services, it seems this one may have a tough time competing. Case in point, we've learned that production on the Swamp Thing series has been shut down and that the first season of the series has been cut short. But DC has also released the first teaser trailer for the series, so we've gotta take the good with the bad, for now.
The teaser is very brief. We get a long, eerie shot panning across the swamp before the titular monster is revealed, emerging from the murky water. It's a practical man in a suit, not a CGI creation, as promised. It also looks rather faithful to the comics. That's the good news. Now the bad news.
According to a new report from a local publication in North Carolina, where the series was being filmed, the cast and crew were told to pack it in for the time being. Originally, Swamp Thing was supposed to have a 13-episode first season. Now, according to the report, that has been cut to 10 episodes, with the producers and creative team scrambling to rewrite the tenth episode as, at the very least, the season finale, if not the series finale. So was this trailer released as a bit of damage control?
DC Universe is more of a niche streaming service, as it's being aimed specifically at DC fans. The service has a number of animated, shows, movies and even a large library of DC Comics titles. But this report notes that Warner Bros. invested approximately $85 million in North Carolina since setting up shop for Swamp Thing. They would need a lot of subscribers to justify that sort of price tag. Actress Virginia Madsen, who stars on the show, took to Instagram to confirm the news in a post that was deleted mere minutes after it was shared initially.
"I'm beyond sad. What a terrible decision. We have been cut to the core by those who have never set foot into the Swamp. And despite the rule I am going to use the hashtag. #swampthing."
As of right now, DC Universe only has two original shows, Titans and Doom Patrol. They also have Stargirl and an animated Harley Quinn series in the works, but does that really justify the price? The service costs $8 per month or $75 per year. For the sake of comparison, Disney+, which was just announced by Disney, will cost just $7 per month and will play host to a lot more premium content, in addition to the studio's entire back catalog of movies. Plus, WarnerMedia, DC's parent company, plans to launch their own streaming service later this year.
James Wan and Gary Dauberman, the duo behind The Conjuring franchise, are producers on Swamp Thing, with a cast that includes Andy Bean, Crystal Reed, Jennifer Beals, Will Patton, Derek Mears, Ian Ziering, Henderson Wade and Kevin Durand. Will this be a one-and-done situation for DC Universe? Does this spell the end of the service entirely? Or is this just an isolated situation? More questions than answers at this point. Swamp Thing is set to debut on May 31. This news was first reported by Star News Online.