June 6, 2019

[UPDATED] Why Was DC's 'Swamp Thing' Cancelled After Just One Week on Air?

Fans were shocked when Deadline reported the abrupt cancellation of DC's Swamp Thing.

[UPDATED June 7, 2019, 7:10 p.m. PST, to reflect current reports.]

It's now being reported that budgetary issues are not in fact the cause of Swamp Thing's demise.

Wilmington Star News reporter

The show, which found a home on the DC Universe over-the-top streaming service, premiered on May 31 and had been receiving generally favorable reviews.

As Deadline pointed out in its first report, the cancellation may have stemmed from AT&T's recent purchase of DC's parent company, Time Warner/WarnerMedia. Maybe DC Universe was facing the chopping block during the reorganization, and getting in the way of WarnerMedia's own plans for a larger streaming platform.

Writer John Gholson hypothesized on June 6 that a simple budgetary error could have been the cause of Swamp Thing's demise.

Credit: DC Universe

The show was shot in North Carolina, where, according to local news source Wilmington Star News, there was some "miscommunication" about the state's grant program in April, initially leaving it basically empty for the upcoming fiscal year. It looks like the state's House of Representatives’ appropriations committee thought there was money sitting in the fund unused, and therefore didn't budget for its replenishment—not understanding that the funds would be dispersed only after several productions were completed.

It was hypothesized that this error (and that the production expected a much larger portion of funds) led to Swamp Thing's cancellation, but Ingram's reporting has revealed that this is not true.

Swamp Thing, Hulu’s Reprisal, and feature film Words on Bathroom Walls had all applied for funds.

Warner Bros. Television decided to cut the episode order from 13 to 10 in April. They pointed to "creative difference" issues as the cause. The production shut down and didn't shoot their last few episodes.

This month, Star News reported that Swamp Thing would be getting $12 million, enough to cover the pilot and first season. Warner Bros. Television, perhaps realizing that the show would be too expensive to maintain at its current budget (especially on a niche streaming platform), decided to pull the plug.

It's an unfortunate end for a unique, dark, horror-skewed comic adaptation that seemed to be striking all the right chords with fans.

Swamp Thing follows CDC researcher Abby Arcane (Crystal Reed), who investigates a swamp-borne virus in Louisiana and falls for fellow scientist Alec Holland (Andy Bean). As she and others probe the swamp's mysteries, even darker secrets get uncovered.

The show is executive produced by James Wan, Mark Verheiden, Gary Dauberman, Michael Clear, and Len Wiseman. It is produced by Atomic Monster in association with Warner Bros. Television.

[An earlier version of this article reported on conjecture that the production expected a $30 million rebate, rather than $12 million, and that was the reason for the cancellation.]     

Your Comment

2 Comments

Why announce that it’s being canceled this early after release? At least wait till the season ends. I’m sure the news discourages people from subscribing and investing time into the DC streaming platform.

June 6, 2019 at 2:55PM

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The mysterious cancellation was originally attributed to swamp gas. That's how I know not to trust any news regarding the disappearance

June 9, 2019 at 12:19PM

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Aaron Harper
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