Swamp Thing coming across a dead body.
Image: DC Universe

TV shows come and go, but the recent cancellation of DC Universe’s Swamp Thing series was particularly surprising considering that the first season, which only began airing weeks ago, was generally well received by fans and critics alike. As strange and sudden as Swamp Thing’s departure seems from the outside, it sounds like everyone working on the set was just as shocked.

In the wake of Swamp Thing’s cancellation, there’s been a marked lack of clarity as to the reasoning behind the decision. Initially, it seemed as if a budgeting error involving tax rebates that the show would have received from North Carolina (where filming took place) might have been a complicating factor, but representatives from North Carolina’s film office told io9 that’s not the case. For its part, DC Universe has been rather quiet about the cancellation. It did not respond to multiple requests for comment, only addressing the news in a community post on the service’s Watchtower forums to announce that while the rest of season one’s episodes would still air, there are no current plans for a second season:

The full 10 episode season of Swamp Thing will continue to air on DC Universe with new episodes released weekly. There are no current plans for a Season 2.

We appreciate there are questions as to why,’ but unfortunately we are not in a position to answer at this time.

And now, the good news: DC Universe continues to develop new shows, new seasons, new stories, more availability, and more platforms. We’ve got a lot of exciting plans for our other shows in the works, and look forward to sharing more in the coming months.

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In a new report from Business Insider, several sources who claim to have been close to Swamp Thing’s production describe an overall sense of hopefulness on the set that led many to believe it was destined for success. One Swamp Thing producer described the cancellation as a shock that came entirely out of left field, and said that part of the reason it threw everyone for such a loop was that the show was very much still in production when the word came down.

The producer claims that Swamp Thing’s sets were still standing when the show was officially axed, and you may remember earlier reports that the first (and now only) season was shortened from 13 to 10 episodes during production. Executive producer James Wan did share a few thoughts on Instagram which echoed the surprise aspect of the news.

“Don’t really know or understand why #Swampthing was cancelled, but I can tell you this — all the cast and crew, and producing/writing team poured their hearts into this,” he wrote. “Really proud of everyone’s hard work. Go watch episode 2, and immortalize these 10 episodes. Swampy deserves it.”

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But what’s really interesting are Business Insider’s reported details of what might have been:

One source close to the production told Business Insider that the show had a possible three-season arc, and the feeling on set was that it could have gone past that if it was a hit, with characters spinning off into their own shows. The source used the specific example of a potential Justice League Dark team-up series.

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The unnamed producer also added that while the public might be in the dark about whatever discussions were had about Swamp Thing’s budget, WB was perfectly clear on how much the show was going to cost and how much North Carolina was going to commit in the form of tax rebates.

Of course, speculative reports like this should be taken with more than a few grains of salt, but the idea of Swamp Thing organically leading to a Justice League: Dark crossover event on DC Universe makes a certain amount of sense. The CW’s annual crossover events are incredibly popular, and DC Universe’s other shows already occupy a sort of shared universe (where the Justice League already exists) that Swamp Thing had the potential to become a part of. Now if DC Universe could have also brought the CW’s Constantine over, that would have been a real accomplishment.

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For now, though, Swamp Thing’s dead in the water, and what’s next for DC Universe is anyone’s guess, seeing as how yet another Warner streaming service is in the works.


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