Well that was quick. After airing its first episode last week, the streaming service DC Universe has reportedly cancelled the new series Swamp Thing. This is confusing for many reasons, chief among them that the show has actually garnered quite positive reviews. Based on the DC comic of the same name, the series follows a CDC doctor investigating a horrific epidemic who stumbles upon the revelation that an infectious swamp may have more going on than meets the eye. The show’s development began promisingly enough, with The Conjuring and Aquaman filmmaker James Wan putting his weight behind the series as executive producer and IT co-writer Gary Dauberman co-writing the pilot script. Len Wiseman (Total Recall) was then brought onboard to executive produce and direct the pilot.
So why has Swamp Thing been given the axe after only one episode? The DC Universe has clearly been having some problems building up its subscriber base (as evidenced by the many free promotions trying to convince people to try it), and trouble in the Swamp Thing waters first surfaced in April when we learned that the show’s 13-episode order had been abruptly cut to 10—in the middle of production. The cause of this abrupt shutdown was likely due to a paperwork error that caused North Carolina to renege on its promised tax rebate (valued at $40 million—or half of Swamp Thing‘s budget), which the put intense budgetary pressure on Warner Bros. While that means a Season 2 would not be able to shoot in North Carolina, surely there are other locations to choose from.
Per Bloody Disgusting, the series lost support from executives before it even aired, with those in charge worried about subscribers and reach despite the positive reviews. Bloody Disgusting reports that there were creative differences between several people involved with the show, with some pushing for the series to veer into the horror genre while others believed it would be better crafted a s a weekly procedural. In the end, it appears an agreement couldn’t be made—either that or DC Universe just decided it was better to scrap the whole thing altogether and move on.
This is… not great. DC Universe launched with the R-rated series Titans, and premiered the comedy series Doom Patrol earlier this year. While Titans has Batman and such entering its second season, it’s actually the weirder Doom Patrol that’s been garnering the most buzz. Swamp Thing felt like a solid diversification of tone for the DC Universe library, but apparently it wasn’t the right fit for the higher ups.
It’ll be interesting to see how things progress on the DC Universe going forward. Stargirl, a spinoff of Titans, is expected to debut in 2020 and they’re also developing the prequel series Metropolis, which will follow Lois Lane and Lex Luthor before the arrival of Superman. But none of this matters if folks aren’t signing up for DC Universe and watching, which appears to be the big barrier here.
What do you think folks? Are you enjoying Swamp Thing? Do you subscribe to DC Universe? If not, what would it take to get you to add another streaming service to your library? Sound off in the comments below.
Update: All 10 episodes of Swamp Thing are expected to air on DC Universe, where members can watch a new episode every Friday through the finale on August 2.