Currently riding high on the wave of Aquaman in theaters, Director James Wan also has the title of Producer for the small screen treatment of DC’s resident muck-encrusted mockery of a man. Further, he promises that there will be company to spare in the Bayou.
DC Universe’s Swamp Thing, currently in production, is the streaming service’s next planned series under development following the success of Titans. Based on the cult classic created by the late Len Wein and the late Bernie Wrightson, and revamped by Alan Moore in the 80s, the series revolves around the romance of Abby Arcane and the ill-fated Alec Holland, destined to be changed by cruel fate into the monstrous Swamp Thing. However, while Swamp Thing will be the primary focus of the supernatural occurrences Abby is investigating, Wan teases that he will not be the only source of horror.
“We’re a big fan of Alan Moore’s take on it,“ Wan professes, “so picking a particular story and using that as the foundation to kick it off. If we’re lucky, we can have many other stories to tell.”
Handpicked by Wein himself, Moore turned the Swamp Thing origin on its ear and emphasized the horror aspects again. He even went so far as to establish that the creature the readers were following was not actually Alec Holland, but rather a plant monster – the result of the biorestorative compound Holland had been developing and exposed to, and the swamp habitat that Holland vainly dove into to douse the flames – that had absorbed Holland’s consciousness upon creation. From his writing also sprang forth the forbidden romance with Abby Arcane, daughter of arch-nemesis Anton Arcane, and the chain-smoking occultist John Constantine, now appearing in live action and animated media. Years later, Geoff Johns, in his storyline, Brightest Day, established that the Parliament of the Green, another Moore facet of his run, had chosen Holland as their avatar, but settled for the Moore version of Swamp Thing because Alec had been dead before he even hit the water. At the end of that series, Holland was resurrected and empowered as the one, true Swamp Thing once more, and was the final title Wein returned to before his death.
This is not the first time the monstrous hero has been brought to life. Horror legend Wes Craven had originally brought Swamp Thing to life on the big screen in the 1970s with Dick Durock in the title role. Durock reprised the role in the campier sequel The Return of Swamp Thing in 1989 with Heather Locklear as Abby Arcane and returning Louis Jordan as Arcane himself from the first treatment. USA Network then tapped the character for a television treatment that lasted for two seasons in the 1990s, Durock again under the muck mask. However, Wan and company will be focusing their efforts to tap directly into Swamp Thing’s comic book roots.
“I have an amazing team of showrunners and writers on this,” Wan assuredly affirms. “Just like I was with Aquaman, we’re very respectful to the source material with Swamp Thing as well.”
Swamp Thing premieres in 2019 on DC Universe.