The DCU will see the return of perhaps its messiest superhero, the humanoid plant monster Swamp Thing, under the reign of James Gunn and Peter Safran. While unveiling their plans for the future of the DC cinematic universe, Safran revealed that Swamp Thing will be getting its own solo film in the near future that will explore the origins of the popular anthropomorphic sludge monster.
With the announcement, Safran also shined a light on the creative process behind their DC film slate and how they’re open to bringing in tons of tonally different projects to create a diverse extended universe.
“The final film we want to talk about is Swamp Thing,” Safran said. “We bring it up because it’s important to point out that in these stories, although interconnected, they’re not all tonally the same. So each set of filmmakers brings their own aesthetic to these films, and the fun is seeing how these totally different works mash-up in the future. So you know, this is a film that will investigate the dark origins of Swamp Thing.”
Already, this sets up an exciting future for the DCU where diverse stories will delve into different genres, from action to drama and even horror, in the service of telling a good story. As Safran points out, Swamp Thing figures to be a much different affair from the films involving some of DC‘s core heroes like Batman and Superman. Swamp Thing’s origins are especially dark even against a backdrop of tragic superhero backstories. The creature was once Alec Holland, a scientist who formulated a “bio-restorative” concoction with the power to change the face of medicine and botany forever, but he refused to sell it. After being doused with burning chemicals and jumping into the water to save himself, he’d become an amalgamation of man and muck with little connection to his former life outside the swamp save for his love interest Abigail Arcane and longtime ally John Constantine.
Swamp Thing Has Remained a Fan Favorite Since His Inception
Although not as represented as the most popular superheroes in the DC canon, Swamp Thing has gotten his fair share of love both in film and on TV ranging all the way back to 1982. Dick Durock notably played the hero throughout his first live-action film appearance and in a TV series. The love for Swamp Thing even earned him a spot on the roster of the popular DC fighting game Injustice 2.
More recently though, the Swamp Thing series from 2019 showed how to effectively mix a darker, scarier tone into a superhero story, earning high marks in the process. Starring Andy Bean as Holland and Derek Mears as the transformed Swamp Thing, the show followed Abby Arcane (Crystal Reed) as she investigates a mysterious swamp-borne illness seeping through a small town and connects with Holland. Their relationship is cut short when he’s brutally murdered, but she soon finds he yet lives thanks to the swamp. Boasting some gnarly, gooey practical effects, it managed to be an actually frightening experience making for an all-the-more heartbreaking cancellation after only ten episodes. Gunn, Safran, and the company could look to tap that same level of slimy horror to set a tone for the DCU going forward and essentially give that 2019 series a second chance of sorts.