Man, those fellas at Warner Brothers controlling all of the DC properties sure are having a rough go of it, aren’t they? From the bombing of Justice League to, well, basically every single creative decision they’ve made, no good news has come from Gotham City or Metropolis as of late. Even more bad news came recently when, immediately after airing the pilot of Swamp Thing on DC Universe, WB’s home for DCEU television offerings, the show was cancelled.
Rumors were swirling as to exactly why it was cancelled, ranging from filing issues to the old industry standby of “creative differences,” but that does not seem to be the case, exactly. Specifically, the original story was that the first season of DC’s body horror show was to cost a reported $80 million, and about $40 million was to be refunded through tax rebates offered through North Carolina, where the show was being filmed, but that the state mixed up some paperwork and wound up rescinding on that offer, forcing WB into a tough decision.
However, as stated by the North Carolina Film Office, the show would receive just under $5 million for the pilot, and an additional $12 million for the rest of the season. Both the state and Warner Brothers agreed on this, per the original paperwork. North Carolina never pulled back on or rescinded any sort of offer; that was just sloppy reporting. Swamp Thing‘s first season, though, did wind up costing $85 million, so the paltry sub-$20 million rebate meant WB would lose a lot of money on the production.
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Heck, the pilot alone cost $20 million. That was one major contributing factor to Warner Brothers slashing the episode order down to just 10. While the show may be a critical darling, praising the series as pure body horror the likes of which haven’t been seen on the small screen, good reviews don’t make money. It is lame, certainly, that the show is cancelled, but it makes sense. DC Universe is an extremely small, brand new streaming platform. One of hundreds now, it seems. It’s just not feasible to spend that much on a show nobody will ever see.
Perhaps Swamp Thing will live on on another channel, with a much smaller budget, but much like the murky waters of the bayou, the future is not so clear.