It's understandable why viewers would still be scratching their heads over trying to figure out the decision-making process behind DC Universe cancelling Swamp Thing: the show received audience and critical praise (and a 92% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes) before its second episode even aired. Now, Business Insider spoke with seven individuals close to the production (who asked to remain anonymous) about the series' end – and some truly heart-breaking words of what might have been:
* A producer said, "Cancellation came as a surprise, 100%. It came out of left field."
* Because of strong buzz and what they said as positive feedback from the studio, "We walked away with the sets standing. We didn't tear them down and go home" – under the assumption that more seasons were to come.
* Here's where the hearbreaking part comes in:
"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."
* Sources in the article did not believe that finanacial matters were the reason for the cancellation, with one crew member certin that the work being produced was being financially supported:
"We knew we were getting good stuff on set and we kept hearing that the studio was very happy. There were also a lot of sunk costs where it felt like if things were going well at all, they'd probably keep going because they had so much invested in it. The swamp we built was incredible and was a very expensive set to build."
* Another sources believes that the cancellation was a result of WarnerMedia's shifting streaming plans, and the possibility that DC Universe will be merged into the new service.
Executive director James Wan (Aquaman, The Conjuring franchise) took to Instagram to express his confusion over the streaming service's decision:
"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. Really proud of everyone's hard work. Go watch episode 2, and immortalize these 10 episodes. Swampy deserves it."
What to Expect from DC Universe's 'Swamp Thing'…
Here's an overview of DC Universe's Swamp Thing as well as a look at Crystal Reed's Dr. Abby Arcane, Andy Bean's Alec Holland, Derek Mears' Swamp Thing, Maria Sten's Liz Tremayne, Jennifer Beals' Sheriff Lucilia Cable, Jeryl Prescott's Madame Xanadu, Virginia Madsen's Maria Sunderland, Will Patton's Avery Sunderland, Kevin Durand's Woodrue/Floronic Man, Ian Ziering's Daniel Cassidy/Blue Devil, Henderson Wade's Matt Cable, Leonardo Nam's Harlan Edwards, and Michael Beach's Nathan Ellery – offering some clues as to what viewers can expect from the series:
Something unnatural is happening in the swamps outside Marais, Louisiana. When a mysterious illness strikes the town, CDC investigator (and former Marais native) Abby Arcane (series star CRYSTAL REED) is sent to investigate. At the hospital, she encounters biologist Alec Holland (series star ANDY BEAN) who believes the bizarre illness might be connected to his scientific work in the swamp for powerful businessman Avery Sunderland (series star WILL PATTON). Abby has a history with Avery and Maria Sunderland (series star VIRGINIA MADSEN), who still blames the young Arcane for the tragic death of her daughter years before. But with a deadly swamp-born virus out there, something is wrong in Marais right now.
Along with Sheriff's Deputy Matt Cable (series star HENDERSON WADE), Abby once again crosses paths with Alec, but this time they encounter a terrifying, dark force that's not only killed intruders, but is also taking control of its victims. At Delroy's Roadhouse, Abby consults her old friend and local reporter Liz Tremayne (series star MARIA STEN) who has a lead deep in the swamp. When Alec goes missing after investigating the unnatural experiments deep in the swamp, something else rises in his place: Swamp Thing (series star DEREK MEARS), a mysterious creature born of the depths of the swamp's mystical and terrifying secrets. With nature wildly out of balance and coming for the people of Marais, in the end, it may take some Thing from the swamp to save it.
* Emerging from the swamp with a monstrous physique and strange new powers over plant life, the man who was once Alec Holland (Bean) struggles to hold onto his humanity. Prior to his life as the elemental hero, Holland was a biologist who got caught in the crosshairs of a small town nightmare, when he discovered a bizarre local illness connected to his work in the swamp.
* When dark forces converge on the town of Marais, Swamp Thing (Mears) must embrace what he has become in order to defend the town as well as the natural world at large.
* Smart and caring, CDC Dr. Abby Arcane's (Reed) strong sense of empathy puts her at the center of a horrific life-threatening epidemic in her hometown, where she faces emotional demons from her past. A chance meeting with scientist Alec Holland takes her into a world of horror and the supernatural, and of the elemental creature known as Swamp Thing.
* Liz Tremayne (Sten) is a close childhood friend of Abby Arcane's, who splits her time between reporting for the local paper and bartending at her aging father's roadhouse bar. Her no-nonsense attitude belies a deep compassion for her friends and family as she sets out in her uncompromising quest to expose the secrets that threaten her beloved hometown.
* Sheriff Lucilia Cable (Beals) is tough as nails, pragmatic, and fiercely devoted to her son, Matt, her sworn duty to serve and protect the town of Marais. As the community she has dedicated her life to defending finds itself beset by strange forces, Lucilia must double down in her efforts to safeguard everyone she holds dear.
* Madame Xanadu (Prescott) is a centuries-old immortal who advises and aligns with crusaders against evil but is reluctant to join the fray directly.
* Maria Sunderland (Madsen) traded in her privileged upbringing for the swamps of Marais when she married local business magnate Avery Sunderland, but Avery's life-time obsession with the swamp has driven a wedge between him and Maria. Her poised existence is shaken further when the return of Abby Arcane reawakens a deep grief over the loss of Maria's daughter, Shawna, drawing her into the dark supernatural mysteries emerging from the swamp.
* Prominant businessman Avery Sunderland (Patton) serves as the de facto patriarch of his Louisiana hometown, always giving back to the community. His benevolent veneer, however, masks a ruthless determination to harness the power of the swamp for profit.
* Jason Woodrue/Floronic Man (Durand) is a biogeneticist without equal – and he knows it. Brought in to study the unique properties of a small-town Louisiana swamp, Woodrue becomes fixated on unlocking the potential contained within — leading to tragic and monstrous consequences.
* Stuntman turned movie star Daniel Cassidy/Blue Devil (Ziering) became semi-famous after playing the demonic Blue Devil. But now, eight years later, Cassidy finds himself living out his days in frustration, pining for his former fame while on a collision course with destiny.
* Matt Cable (Wade) is a Louisiana lawman who finds himself in dire straits when supernatural evil threatens the town he's sworn to protect. The son of Sheriff Lucilla Cable has a history with Abby: she was his childhood crush.
* Harlan Edwards (Nam) is an openly gay CDC specialist and Dr. Abby Arcane's second-in-command.
* No-nonsense businessman Nathan Ellery (Beach) has a ruthless streak. Presenting himself as the polished CEO of a legitimate venture capital firm, Ellery's smooth corporate veneer hides his willingness to resort to extreme measures to achieve his goals.
The streaming service's upcoming 10-episode drama adaptation is based on the DC Comics character created by Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson. Written by showrunner Mark Verheiden and Gary Dauberman, and directed by Len Wiseman (The Gifted, Lucifer), the series stems from James Wan's Atomic Monster in association with Warner Bros. Television. Wan, Verheiden, Dauberman, Wiseman, and Michael Clear executive produce.