As you all know by now, DC Universe’s ‘Swamp Thing’ series has been cancelled. Amid varying accusations of what went down behind the scenes, from tax paperwork errors to a colossal budget, The GWW spoke to several people close to production on the series about what actually happened.
When WarnerMedia and AT&T first saw footage from the series, they were not pleased. Certain executives found that they did not care for the direction of the show enough to continue supporting its sizable budget (around $80 million), and decided in March to stop production early. Production halted just after filming was completed on episode ten of the series. Around mid-April, reshoots on episodes two, four, seven, and ten. A new ending was written for the season (now series) finale, and production wrapped for good on May 1st.
Initially, crew members were told to start tearing down sets on May 2nd. However, things changed on April 22nd, when it was announced sets were to stay up for the time being. The reason? Different networks, including HBO and The CW (who save since passed on the series), were looking at picking it up for a second season, while WarnerMedia and AT&T were still mulling over their options. It was ultimately the group effort of executive producers James Wan, Gary Dauberman, and Mark Verheiden, and DC themselves, that were pushing Warner Bros. to reconsider the cancellation. They decided to wait until mid-June to make a final decision. But, Warners decided to pull the plug early last week: this was expected but it is unknown why they did it so early. The swamp set is currently being taken down in North Carolina.
Sources also stress that the new leadership at WarnerMedia are very keen on doing more shows in the formulaic style of The CW’s ‘Arrow’ and ‘The Flash,’ and less shows like ‘Doom Patrol’ and ‘Swamp Thing.’ One source even says that Len Wiseman (‘Underworld,’ ‘Live Free or Die Hard’) was hired as director to make the show seem like more of a procedural. This tactic wound up backfiring as Wiseman put his own horror spin on the series, which execs were very displeased with. Disney’s upcoming streaming service is said to have spooked WarnerMedia as well.
One more funny tidbit, the producers wanted actress Crystal Reed, who plays Abby Arcane, to dye her hair blonde to be more in line with the comics, and she told them no. The day the cancellation was announced, she made an Instagram post showing off her new blonde hair with the caption “the rebellion,” as a way to give one last middle finger to the studio.