Update: Charles Murphy of That Hashtag Show now also says that prior to Patton being cast as Sunderland, both Kurt Russell and Greg Kinnear were offered and turned down the role.
Will Patton has officially signed on to star in Swamp Thing, where he will serve as the show's primary antagonist. The series, produced by James Wan, will join Titans and its upcoming spinoff, Doom Patrol, on the DC Universe. Created by Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson, Swamp Thing tells the story of Alec Holland. In the comics, Holland is a scientist whose consciousness and memories are transferred to the plant life surrounding his lab after an attempt on his life. The show, however, will follow Abby Arcane (Teen Wolf's Crystal Reed) as she investigates a mysterious virus. Although at first believing it to originate from the swamp, she finds that larger forces are at work.
The series will apparently be scarier and more mature in tone. As such, it will no doubt fit in well alongside the more R-rated aspects of Titans. Regardless, Swamp Thing looks set to be more of a standalone series, with no plans as of yet to crossover with the other DC Universe content. Nor will it intersect with the shows of the Arrowverse, despite a direct reference on Legends of Tomorrow. Production has been underway on the series for some time now, with casting ramping up in recent weeks. As well as casting Jeryl Prescott as Madame Xanadu, Jennifer Beals will play a mysterious yet key role.
According to Deadline, Patton is the latest to come aboard the show. The actor, who recently starred alongside Jamie Lee Curtis in the new Halloween film, will play Avery Sunderland. A renowned businessman, Sunderland is a prominent and charitable leader within the town. His benevolent veneer, however, masks a singular fixation on the swamp and a ruthless desire to harness its power for personal gain and profit.
Virginia Madsen will play his wife, who fails to share in her husband's obsession. As such, their marriage will be increasingly strained. Maria (Madsen) will instead be drawn to Reed's character, seeing her as somewhat of a surrogate for her lost daughter.
The character of Avery Sunderland will no doubt sound familiar to fans of the source material. Based on the description, the character sounds equal parts faithful to the comics and knowingly tweaked for the show. Also a successful businessman in the books, Sunderland has a connection with a pre-Swamp Thing version of Alec Holland. Although he and Swamp Thing ultimately share a fateful run-in, the comic book counterpart feels like a rather simple choice for an inaugural villain. That could be the intention, wanting to ease viewers in to the more outlandish elements via recognizable motives.
Then again, given the character's reported obsession with the swamp and the power it can yield, it could be that the show will blend the character with another familiar and similarly inclined adversary. When factoring in the pseudo-familial connection that will develop between Abby and his wife, and by extension himself, it makes sense that Patton could ultimately be playing an amalgam of Sunderland and one Dr. Anton Arcane. The reports of mystical elements being a part of the show also lends itself to an appearance from this particular villain. Plus, Anton is, also, Abby's uncle in the comics and Swamp Thing's frequent nemesis. As such, the complex, dramatic material that could stem from such overlapping dynamics would make for some ripe storytelling.
Swamp Thing is currently set to air sometime in May 2019.