Why was DC Universe's live-action Swamp Thing series canceled with only a single episode of its first season having been broadcast? Conflicting reports have only heightened the confusion around this question, as have rumors that the entire DC Universe streaming service is in danger of shutting down due to problems with a grant issued by the state of North Carolina.
A dark cloud formed over Swamp Thing's production following an announcement in April that the episode order for the series' first season had been reduced from 13 episodes to 10. This news stunned both the cast and crew, with no apparent reason given for the shorter season. No definite statement was ever released by Warner Bros. or DC Universe, though rumors ran rampant that the show had gone over-budget and that there were artistic differences behind the scenes.
The most frequent of the rumors regarding Swamp Thing's collapse involved inaccurate reports that the series went over-budget. This was erroneously blamed on an accounting error facilitated by the state of North Carolina, which had given the series two grants in order to encourage filming in the city of Wilmington. These reports were in error, quoting numbers far in excess of what would be legally allowed, suggesting the state would be footing the bill for half of Swamp Thing's $80 million budget.
The first season of Swamp Thing was awarded $12 million - the maximum allowed by the grant program in question. The series also received $4.9 million dollars in a separate grant for the pilot episode. This information was confirmed in a report by Hunter Ingram of StarNews Online. Ingram spoke to Screen Rant about his report in an exclusive statement. He said:
"On their grant application, they estimated that they would spend almost $20 million on the pilot episode alone, and that's how they were going to get that $4.9 million back from the grant program separately from the rest of the season."
Guy Gaster, Director of the North Carolina Film Office, also addressed these rumors, as well as other rumors that the state of North Carolina had attempted to back out of their end of the deal, in an exclusive statement to Screen Rant. He said:
"In this project specifically, Swamp Thing had funds set aside. Like other states that offer these kinds of programs, it's all after the work is completed and has been verified in some way. For us, it's an audit that is to be performed by an independent North Carolina licensed CPA. But they have had an award set aside for just a little north of $4.9 million for their pilot episode, and then an additional $12 million for the remainder of season 1. Those offers were made up front to the production and agreed upon prior to the start of production. So, I certainly would dispute [publications] that have said this was an offer that was somehow pulled back from Warner Bros."
Gaster's statement confirms the budget numbers from Ingram's report. More, it refutes the frankly ludicrous idea proposed by some on-line agents that both the state of North Carolina or DC Universe would enter into an $80 million project like Swamp Thing without some kind of clearly defined budget plan. Gaster also pointed out to Screen Rant that Warner Bros. is more than familiar with the grant process in North Carolina and other states, so it's silly to assume they'd run afoul of proper paperwork. There would be too much at stake for both parties for the money managers on both sides not to be incredibly careful about making sure that everything was being handled properly.
Swamp Thing is currently available for streaming on DC Universe.
Source: StarNews Online