This isn’t good news at all. The Swamp Thing TV series on DC Universe, which only released its first episode last week, has already been given the axe by Warner Bros. There had been trouble in the air before the series was released, when the show’s episode order was cut from 13 to 10 mid-production, forcing the producers to rework the tenth episode into a suitable season (and now series) finale.
The James Wan produced horror series has received solid reviews, and the announcement of its cancelation, before the season has even completed its first season run is only going to increase speculation about the long term health of the DC Universe streaming service. The abrupt cancelation of Swamp Thing, the fact that a second season of the critically acclaimed Doom Patrol has yet to be announced, and the fact that neither the service itself nor any of their shows got so much as a mention at the Warner Media Upfront presentation in New York City in May would seem to be cause for concern.
Bloody Disgusting were the first to confirm word of Swamp Thing‘s cancelation, and they indicate that “creative differences” over the direction of the show played a part, with some favoring a “weekly procedural” format (funny enough, this was what the old USA Network Swamp Thing TV series was), while others pushing for a prestige horror vibe. However, when the show’s episode order was initially cut down, there were rumblings of budgetary concerns, and a mix-up with the amount of funding allocated by the state of North Carolina (where the show is filmed) may have played a significant factor, with Warner Bros. possibly receiving less than half of the money they had expected to to help underwrite an already expensive show.
There has also been continued chatter about the future of the DC Universe streaming service and where it fits on the overall Warner Media plan at the moment in the wake of their recent purchase by AT&T. At the time of the show’s production troubles, I was assured by sources of WB’s continued commitment to DC Universe, but moves like this, which if nothing else make for terrible optics, don’t help matters. On the other hand, the service will roll out more episodes of Young Justice: Outsiders this summer, a second season of Titans and a Harley Quinn animated series this fall, and a Stargirl live action series in 2020. Hopefully plans for the latter remain unaffected.
We’ll update this with additional information if/when it becomes available. Swamp Thing still has nine episodes to release on DC Universe, and those will continue to roll out every Friday on the service.