DC Universe’s Swamp Thing series from executive producer James Wan has reportedly been canceled after just one episode.
Deadline reports (and other trades have followed) that Swamp Thing is no more following an earlier decision to reduce the first season’s number of episodes down to 10 from 13 while the show was still in production. Unlike DC Universe’s other live-action shows like Doom Patrol and Titans, Swamp Thing was intentionally kept separate from the small cinematic universe that’s taking shape on the streaming platform.
While many have speculated that Swamp Thing’s production woes were a reflection of the studio’s lack of faith that a series about a somewhat obscure character could be a successful draw for the relatively new service, reports today suggested a governmental budgeting error could have been an issue. However, after our initial publication Guy Gaster, director of the North Carolina film office, emailed us to say, “North Carolina’s budget discussions had nothing to do with Swamp Thing’s cancellation.”
The state offered Warner Bros. an incentive of just under $5 million for the series pilot and an additional $12 million—the maximum the state can offer as designated by state legislation—and Warner Bros. accepted those offers before production on the series began. Once their audit is completed to verify the production’s qualified spends, the rebate will be paid as agreed upon.
Even though Swamp Thing takes place in Marais, Louisiana, the show was shot in Wilmington, North Carolina where it recently qualified for a multimillion-dollar funding grant from the N.C. Department of Commerce. Out of the $31 million the state sets aside for each fiscal year for the grant program, Swamp Thing qualified for up to $12 million, which only covered a portion of the show’s overall costs. Star News reports that the production budget for Swamp Thing’s first season hovered somewhere near $85 million.
As to the specific budget issue, a recent communication error led North Carolina’s House of Representatives’ appropriations committee to believe that the grant fund had an excess to the tune of about $67 million, which it did not. The mistake has since been caught, and per Gaster, WB will still receive what they were owed after their audit is completed. Additionally, later today Star News published a new report saying:
David Rhoades, spokesman for the N.C. Department of Commerce, which oversees the grant program, said Thursday that claim of an error on the state’s part is not true.
“The production company had a clear understanding of the resources available from the state under the grant program, and proceeded with the production here on that basis,” he wrote in an email.
It seems as if Swamp Thing’s first and final season will air in full on DC Universe over the course of the coming weeks. And speaking of DC Universe, as Deadline further notes: “Like every other initiative, DC Universe is being reevaluated following the completion of AT&T acquisition of Time Warner as WarnerMedia has put an emphasis on the launch of a new streaming platform. There have been questions how DC Universe fits into those plans.” We’ll update on that front when and if we hear more.
This post has been updated with additional context from Deadline’s report and Guy Gaster.
Correction: A previous version of this story stated that $12 million covered all of the production costs for Swamp Thing’s first season when that was not the case. We regret the error.
Correction: A previous version of this story suggested a reason for the cancelation could have been the North Carolina budget issues. We regret the error.
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