Update, 05/28/2019 – Despite the issues that saw the series production halted, Swamp Thing is moving ever closer with multiple brilliant trailers that have showcased the superb stylistic tone of the show. In a brand new full length trailer, the DC Universe series showcases its horror chops. The scream-filled teaser will surely get you excited for the show, which drops on Friday, May 31.
04/17/2019 – Well this is particularly sad. According to North Carolina’s StarNews (via The Playlist), production of the Swamp Thing series for DC Universe halted abruptly after only 10 of the planned 13 episodes were filmed. Evidently the show’s producers are scrambling to rewrite that tenth episode to be a conclusion rather than extend the story to 13 episodes and beyond.
The news comes amid doubt cast on all upstart streaming services. DC Universe launched last year with Titans as its sole original program along with a library of animated and live-action series from the DC catalog. The Arrowverse family of shows were not included, as the CW has a deal with Netflix for those. Eventually the long-awaited Young Justice season three and the critically acclaimed Doom Patrol followed.
Swamp Thing is a high profile project, created and produced by Aquaman‘s James Wan, but it seems not even that clout is enough to get punters to pony up $6.99 per month or $75 per annum. We hope we get to see the show, but we’re also not sure how DC Universe can weather the storm of Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu’s streaming stranglehold.
Original News Follows
DC Universe isn’t messing around when it comes to their original live action properties. The platform launched with Titans and will be following up with Doom Patrol in early 2019. But one of the shows we’ve been most excited about ever since it was first announced is the James Wan produced Swamp Thing, and as the announcements have started to roll in we thought it’s about time to fill you in on everything we know about Swamp Thing!
03/07/2019 – It’s been two months since we last got an update about our best green boy, and today we got another amazing one! The Fog’s iconic Radio DJ and final girl supreme Adrienne Barbeau, who was of course in the 1982 Swamp Thing film, tweeted that she would be joining the cast![/nerdist_section]
— Adrienne Barbeau (@abarbeau) March 7, 2019
Another regular cast member has been added to the eclectic roster of Swamp Thing with Westworld‘s Leonardo Nam joining the currently in production show. According to Deadline, “Nam will play Harlan Edwards, a gay CDC specialist who is Abby’s (Reed) second-in-command.” We’re big fans of Nam’s Westworld work so we can’t wait to see him in action in the DC Universe.
Things are getting even stranger in the world of Swamp Thing news. We got an unbelievably exciting and unexpected casting announcement on Wednesday: Beverly Hills 90210‘s Ian Ziering will be joining the ever expanding horror show as a deep cut ’80s character known as the Blue Devil.
The description from the DC press release states he’s a “stuntman turned movie star, Daniel Cassidy became semi-famous after playing the demonic Blue Devil. But now, eight years later, Cassidy finds himself living out his days in frustration, pining for his former fame while on a collision course with destiny.”
In the comics, he gains his powers after getting stuck in a special stunt exoskeleton suit; Blue Devil doesn’t have a connection to Swamp Thing, but he has appeared alongside other magical characters like Zatanna.
Who or What Is Swamp Thing?
One of DC’s most iconic creations, Swamp Thing is the invention of two of comics’ best minds: writer Len Wein and artist Bernie Wrightson. First appearing in House of Secrets #92, the plant/elemental creature has become something of a legend within comics. In canon there have been hundreds of Swamp Things throughout history, though the most famous is Alec Holland, who, as far as we know, will be the focus of the upcoming DC Universe series.
Alec Holland was first introduced in 1972’s Swamp Thing #1. In the story, Alec and his wife are radical scientists ready to solve poverty and hunger on a global scale with their inventive bio-restorative formula when an evil crime boss bombs their secret lab in the swamps of Louisiana. Alec manages to escape by running into the swamps, though unbeknownst to him he’s covered in the bio-restorative formula, which causes his memories and mind to meld with the plants and greenery of his surroundings. This magical moment creates a new life form: a humanoid plant elemental who rises out of the depths to become the newest iteration of the Swamp Thing.
As with any newly minted Frankenstein’s monster-style creature, Swamp Thing becomes obsessed with knowing where he comes from. Believing himself to be Alec Holland, he tries desperately to regain his human form whilst coming up against his nemesis, the insidious Anton Arcane. Of course, he also becomes close to Anton’s empathic niece Abigail, who will be the lead of the upcoming show.
What We Know So Far
The first thing to know about DC Universe’s Swamp Thing is that it has a sterling creative team, with Battlestar Galactica and Daredevil‘s Mark Verheiden and It screenwriter Gary Dauberman showrunning and co-writing the project, and horror icon and Aquaman director James Wan executive producing. It’s currently in production, and from the outset, the company and team have been clear that this will be a horror-drenched version of the classic character.
In an interview with /film, Dauberman highlighted just how important that aspect of the show is.
“We always set out to make Swamp Thing as hard R as we could and go graphic with the violence, with the adult themes and make it as scary as possible. Because we’re doing it through the DC streaming service, they really pushed us, although they didn’t have to push hard, for us to go as extreme as we could. We really took our inspiration from the Alan Moore run in Swamp Thing, this landmark I think run. Fans of that series will know it gets pretty weird and extreme and scary. We really wanted to live up to that standard that Moore set up back in the ’80s.”
The official description of the show seems to also lean into the magical aspects of the comic, which makes a lot of sense as it’s a book imbued with magic and folklore. Its most famous run was written by real life chaos magician and cranky wizard Alan Moore. It also looks like our P.O.V. character for the story will be Abigail Arcane, niece of Swamp Thing’s nemesis Anton Arcane!
“When CDC researcher Abby Arcane returns to her childhood home of Houma, Louisiana, in order to investigate a deadly swamp-borne virus, she develops a surprising bond with scientist Alec Holland–only to have him tragically taken from her. But as powerful forces descend on Houma, intent on exploiting the swamp’s mysterious properties for their own purposes, Abby will discover that the swamp holds mystical secrets, both horrifying and wondrous–and the potential love of her life may not be dead after all.”
Andy Bean is Alec Holland
The hero who would become Swamp Thing, Power’s Andy Bean will be taking on the human side of the titular creature. Here’s DC Universe’s official description: “Passionate biologist Alec Holland is caught in the crosshairs of a small town nightmare when he discovers a bizarre local illness may be connected to his work in the swamp. Holland’s discovery leads him into conflict with dark forces, from which he emerges as the elemental hero known as Swamp Thing.”
Derek Mears Is Swamp Thing
Though you might not recognize his face sans mask, Derek Mears is a horror icon who played Jason in the Friday the 13th reboot, and also starred in Hatchet 3. He will be bringing the Swamp Thing to life once he crawls from the New Orleans bayou. “Emerging from the swamp with a monstrous physique and strange new powers over plant life, the man who was once Alec Holland struggles to hold onto his humanity. When dark forces converge on the town of Marais, Swamp Thing must embrace what he has become in order to defend the town as well as the natural world at large,” DC Universe revealed.
Crystal Reed Is Abby Arcane
Crystal Reed is probably best known for her roles in Gotham and Teen Wolf, and she’ll be the lead in the new Swamp Thing show, playing Abby Arcane, a “smart and caring” CDC researcher who returns to her hometown to investigate a deadly swamp virus and gets caught up in the magic and mayhem around her. Reed is a powerhouse who deserves a leading role and we can’t wait for her to take her rightful place as a contemporary scream queen/final girl.
Will Patton Is Avery Sunderland
According to Deadline, veteran actor Patton, who’s currently battling another horror icon in Halloween, was cast as co-lead opposite Reed and will be playing Avery Sunderland, whom Deadline describes as a “most prominent businessman, Avery Sunderland (Patton) serves as the de facto patriarch of his Louisiana hometown, always giving back to the community. His benevolent veneer, however, masks a ruthless determination to harness the power of the swamp for profit.” In the comics, Sunderland and his scientific company play a huge part in Alec’s transformation and journey, so we’re excited to see what Patton brings to the vital role.
Virginia Madsen Is Maria Sunderland
Another Deadline scoop was the announcement that American Gothic’s Virginia Madsen would be taking on the role of Avery’s wife Maria. It sounds like she’ll be playing a vital role, with Deadline stating she “traded in her privileged upbringing for the swamps of Marais when she married local business magnate Avery Sunderland, but Avery’s life-time obsession with the swamp has driven a wedge between him and Maria. Her poised existence is shaken further when the return of Abby Arcane reawakens a deep grief over the loss of Maria’s daughter, Shawna, drawing her into the dark supernatural mysteries emerging from the swamp.”
Jennifer Beals Is Sheriff Lucille Cable
Earlier this year, Variety reported that Flashdance icon Beals had joined the DC Universe horror show as the head of the local law enforcement. Though we don’t know much about her character, Variety described her “as tough as nails and pragmatic, Cable’s fierce devotion to her son, Matt, is rivaled only by her sworn duty to serve and protect the town of Marais. As the community she has dedicated her life to defending is beset by strange forces, she must double down in her efforts to safeguard everyone she holds dear.”
Maria Sten Is Liz Tremayne
This is an exciting bit of casting for fans of the underrated horror show Channel Zero, as they’ll likely be aware of Sten’s talents. Deadline reported that the Straight Outta Compton actress would be joining the cast to play Liz Tremayne, who’s “a close childhood friend of Abby Arcane’s, who splits her time between reporting for the local paper and bartending at her aging father’s roadhouse bar. Her no-nonsense attitude belies a deep compassion for her friends and family as she sets out in her uncompromising quest to expose the secrets that threaten her beloved hometown.”
Kevin Durand is Floronic Man
Swamp Thing has found its villain! Earlier late last year Deadline announced that Lost actor Kevin Durand had joined the cast of the currently in production series as Jason Woodrue A.K.A. Floronic Man. After first appearing in The Atom and The Flash, the character was introduced into the classic Alan Moore Saga of the Swamp Thing story after being hired by Avery Sunderland (who will be played by Will Patton) to investigate how Alec Holland became Swamp Thing. This story gets pretty dark pretty fast so we’re really excited to see what the team do with this out there addition! Check back for more details on Swamp Thing!
Images: CBS, MTV, DC Comics, DC Universe, Warner Bros., Shudder