Does anyone know what’s happening at DC Universe? No seriously, does anyone know what is going on with its service, because as an outsider looking in, everything is on fire and people are panicking like there’s no tomorrow. Let me rephrase that. At this rate there won’t be a tomorrow for DC’s streaming service. Earlier today it was announced that Swamp Thing, DC’s latest show on their exclusive streaming service, was cancelled. It aired only one episode. Also earlier in the year production was rapidly shut down. And the show was cut from 13 episodes to 10 episodes.
Also, because this bears mentioning, it was cancelled one week since it premiered. Only one episode aired at the time of its cancellation.
Look, I know that we like to joke that DC has been inept for the past decade because of how the DCEU has been the pure personification of chaos and poor planning, but this is a whole new level of ineptitude. Honestly, I don’t even think ineptitude is the right word to use here. Ineptitude implies that DC could have gotten this show off of the ground to begin with, but even that’s hard to believe given how any news about this show is how much of a disaster it is behind the scenes. So what happened? How did this show spiral so far out of control?
The accounts vary from source to source, but here’s the best picture that I could piece together over the course of the day. Originally, DC and Warner Bros. were eligible for a grant of around $13 million by the state of North Carolina in order to film the pilot of Swamp Thing in the state. The pilot was filmed, but this is where things get confusing due to a case of “he said/she said.” Apparently, DC assumed that they were going to receive a much larger grant than they did for the entirety of Swamp Thing’s first season. The pilot and the first season were filed by the state of North Carolina separately, which usually happens when a pilot is filmed vs. when the rest of the show is filmed, and DC believed they would have gotten more money to film the rest of the show in North Carolina.
But when the budget for the 2019-2020 fiscal year was drafted in North Carolina, Representative Ted Davis Jr. misspoke and said that the grant program had $67 million in reserve. Because of this, representatives decided that the film grant program didn’t need the $31 million dollars for the next year, except that the film grant program didn’t have $67 million just lying around. In fact, there was no $67 million to begin with cause that’s not how grants work. So there was a whole mess of confusion surrounding this, which was only made public at the end of April.
However, the state of North Carolina were apparently bad at communicating exactly how much money Swamp Thing had in its budget, not just from the initial pilot/season order, but with how much money the show would actual receive from the grant. Both DC and WB expected more money for the first season, only to find out that they would not receive as much as they expected. Couple this with the problems with the state’s budget around the same time, it makes sense DC/WB shut down the show in mid-April, around the same time these discussions were being had. If the two companies heard that their grant funding was falling apart, why wouldn’t they halt production and pack up shop right away? No more money, no more show.
There have also been behind the scenes troubles between writers, with some wanting to take the show in a much more horror-centric directions while others want it to be more procedural, but the long and short of it is that Swamp Thing is doomed. The show will end with 10 episodes, probably with a rushed ending, and DC Universe is looking very poor right now. This is a problem if DC expects their service to go toe to toe with Disney + which, let’s face it, is kind of laughable. There were always going to be causalities in the streaming wars, but I didn’t think the first major death would be as pathetic as this. I expect that DC Universe is most likely going to die by year’s end, with all of their content and original programming brought over to whatever Warner Bros. is cooking up for their inevitable streaming service. Rest in peace Swampy.
Swamp Thing will still air episodes weekly on Fridays until its series finale August 2, 2019.
Confirmed: Dc Universe Has Already Cancelled “Swamp Thing” – [Bloody Disgusting]