Swamp Thing (2019 TV series)
Swamp Thing is an American superhero horror web television series created by Gary Dauberman and Mark Verheiden for DC Universe and based on the DC Comics character of the same name. Derek Mears portrays the eponymous Swamp Thing, a plant-elemental creature who fights malevolent forces around a Louisiana swamp with the help of medical doctor Abby Arcane (Crystal Reed).
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||10 (list of episodes)|
|Production location(s)||Wilmington, North Carolina|
|Running time||42–60 minutes|
|Distributor||Warner Bros. Television Distribution|
|Original network||DC Universe|
|Original release||May 31 –|
August 2, 2019
The series premiered on May 31, 2019, and its first season consisted of 10 episodes. Shortly after its premiere, DC Universe announced that Swamp Thing had been canceled. The remaining episodes were released on DC Universe until the series' conclusion on August 2, 2019.
Abby Arcane returns home to Marais, Louisiana, to investigate a deadly swamp-borne virus, where she develops a bond with disgraced scientist Alec Holland. After Holland tragically dies, Abby discovers the mysteries of the swamp and that Holland may not be dead after all when a mysterious creature claims to be him.
Cast and characters
- Crystal Reed as Abigail "Abby" Arcane:
A CDC doctor investigating a horrific life-threatening epidemic in her hometown while facing her past again. Melissa Collazo portrays teenage Abby.
- Virginia Madsen as Maria Sunderland:
The wife of Avery Sunderland, whose grief over the loss of her daughter, Shawna, resurfaces when Abby returns home, and draws Maria into the supernatural mysteries of the swamp.
- Andy Bean as Alec Holland:
A disgraced biologist working for Avery. Murdered when he starts to uncover an illegal operation in the swamp, his memories survive inside of Swamp Thing.
- Derek Mears as Swamp Thing:
A plant-based entity created from the memories of Alec Holland, initially believing itself to be Holland. Possessing elemental control of vegetation and regenerative abilities, he attempts to defend the swamp, the town, and the natural world at large.
- Henderson Wade as Matt Cable:
A police officer along with his mother, Lucilia, who finds himself in dire straits when supernatural events begin to threaten the town. He is also a childhood friend of Abby.
- Maria Sten as Liz Tremayne:
A local newspaper reporter and bartender who is a close childhood friend of Abby Arcane.
- Jeryl Prescott as Nimue Inwudu / Xanadu:
A blind fortune teller whose psychic abilities can reveal the future.
- Jennifer Beals as Lucilia Cable:
The "tough as nails and pragmatic" sheriff of Marais with a strong devotion to her son, Matt.
- Will Patton as Avery Sunderland:
A prominent businessman in Marais, who, while publicly giving back to the community, is determined to harness the power of the swamp for profit as a pharmaceutical cornucopia. He was also the adoptive parent to Abby Arcane after her mother died.
- Kevin Durand as Jason Woodrue / Floronic Man:
A biogeneticist, brought in to study the properties of the swamp, leading him to become fixated on unlocking its potential, which has tragic and monstrous consequences for him.
- Ian Ziering as Daniel Cassidy / Blue Devil: A former stuntman who, after becoming semi-famous after playing the demonic Blue Devil in a film, looks to regain his former fame
- Elle Graham as Susie Coyle: A young girl who is diagnosed with "Green Flu", appears to have a mysterious connection to Swamp Thing, and befriends Abby
- Leonardo Nam as Harlan Edwards: A gay CDC specialist who is Abby's second-in-command
- Selena Anduze as Caroline Woodrue: A scientist and Jason Woodrue's wife who has Alzheimer's disease
- Given Sharp as Shawna Sunderland: Abby's childhood friend and Maria and Avery's deceased daughter, who appears in both flashbacks and as a ghost to her mother Maria
- Macon Blair as Phantom Stranger
- Al Mitchell as Delroy Tremayne: Liz's father
- Michael Beach as Nathan Ellery
- Steve Wilcox as Burritt Sunderland: Avery's father
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date||Prod.|
|1||"Pilot"||Len Wiseman||Teleplay by : Gary Dauberman & Mark Verheiden||May 31, 2019||T33.01008|
|In Bayou Swamp, three men hired to drop unknown cases into the marsh are attacked by the plants themselves, killing two of them. 48 hours later, Susie, the daughter of Coyle, the survivor of the attack, becomes deathly ill with a mysterious illness that begins to spread throughout Marais, Louisiana. Dr. Abby Arcane of the CDC, a former resident of the town, is sent to help treat the virus with her second-in-command, Harlan. After meeting up with childhood friend and now policeman Matthew Cable, they come across Alec Holland, a disgraced scientist hired by Avery Sunderland for research who believes that Sunderland's research is tied to the virus and is investigating a mysterious mutagen accelerator found in the water. After finding Coyle's body, Abby and Alec begin to investigate together. Coyle's body is suddenly overrun with plant tendrils that attack the two and his own daughter. After Alec kills the plant creature with fire, the two meet up with Abby's friend and reporter Liz Tremayne. They're interrupted by Sunderland's wife, who angrily tells Abby to leave after helping with the virus. Abby and Alec find the cases from the marsh, which are releasing the mutagen accelerators into the swamp. While waiting for results on the accelerator, Alec and Abby bond, revealing bits of their pasts. Alec reveals that he manipulated test results in an experiment to prove his theories and Abby reveals that she was responsible for the death of the Sunderlands' daughter, Shawna. After getting the results, Alec departs alone to find the rest of the cases. In the swamp, Alec is shot by an unknown assailant and his boat is blown up with dynamite. Alec sinks into the water and the swamp begins to wrap him with vines. Abby rushes to the scene only to be scared away by a tall, mossy creature with red eyes that emerges from the water.|
|2||"Worlds Apart"||Len Wiseman||Mark Verheiden & Doris Egan||June 7, 2019||T33.10352|
|The police investigate Alec's death, but disregard Abby's claim regarding the strange circumstances. Susie has a strange dream in which she sees Swamp Thing clawing at its body, and later states how scared it feels. Maria Sunderland goes to meet Madame Xanadu, who advises her against going after her daughter's spirit. Xanadu senses a disturbance between the light and the dark, and begs Maria to put her regrets to rest. Jason Woodrue and his wife arrive in Marais and are confronted by Avery about the mutagen accelerator they created, which was supposed to make the trees grow faster and draw out the water from the swamp, resulting in land to develop and more resources from the trees. Woodrue claims his accelerator couldn't cause a disease but Avery demands that Woodrue investigates the illness. Susie escapes from the hospital into the swamp. The officer on the boat discovers two men extracting one of the mutagen cases, and one of them, Munson, kills the officer. Susie escapes while Munson tries to dump the body into the swamp, but he sees her and begins to chase her. Abby and Matt find the patrol boat, and Matt goes to search another nearby boat while Abby stays to find Susie. Before Munson can attack Susie, Swamp Thing arrives to defend her. Healing from deep stab wounds, it summons roots from the swamp to tear Munson apart. Abby finds Susie and Swamp Thing together, but takes Susie and leaves Swamp Thing. Susie tells Abby about how "he" doesn't understand what's happening to his body and that his name is Alec. Maria is shown to be resting on Shawna's bed, with her daughter's corpse appearing to be lying beside her.|
|3||"He Speaks"||Deran Sarafian||Rob Fresco||June 14, 2019||T33.10353|
|After the Swamp Thing walks away from Munson's body, it is resurrected by thousands of bugs which kill several wild pigs and a hunter. Abby confides the revelation that the Swamp Thing could be Alec to Liz. CDC official Eli Troost is sent to supervise the situation that is growing out of control. After Harlan contracts the disease, Abby decides to break into Alec's lab and find out what he was working on. Liz confronts loan officer Gordon about secret payments he has been supposedly making to Avery, but he refuses to talk. Gordon later demands of Avery that he return all the secret payments or else Gordon will talk, revealing Avery is actually in debt. Lucilia Cable interviews Avery about Alec's death and reveals that they were in a relationship while Maria was suffering from her daughter's death. Shawna's ghost confronts Maria about Avery's infidelity. Abby is cornered by Munson in Alec's lab, but is saved by the Swamp Thing who fights him before ordering the bugs to release him. Abby reveals she knows that he is Alec and says she needs his help. Alec reveals that the disease is not attacking, but fighting back to protect itself. Abby realizes that the antibiotics they were using only make the disease stronger and uses immuno-suppressants to relax it, temporarily saving Harlan, Susie and the other infected. Avery attempts to get more funds from Maria's family inheritance, but she refuses him after considering Shawna's words. Daniel Cassidy expresses his desire to leave Marais and has Xanadu read his cards. His usual cards come up, but they are inverted, meaning change is coming. Abby dances with Matt while Alec looks on. Liz's girlfriend discovers a part of Alec's boat with bullet holes. When Gordon refuses to cooperate with Avery and threatens to expose him and The Conclave, Avery kills him.|
|4||"Darkness on the Edge of Town"||Carol Banker||Erin Maher & Kay Reindl||June 21, 2019||T33.10354|
|A young man, Todd, and his father discover a corpse hidden in a tree which scratches Todd. Todd later goes to work at Liz's father's, Delroy, place, but he begins to hallucinate a snake on his hand and in a panic begins to cut his hand with a knife before shoving it into a disposal. The resultant injuries kill Todd, but not before he scratches Delroy. Abby meets with Alec and obtains a sample of his tissue to study. He warns her of danger in the swamp. Dr. Woodrue sees Abby's study of Alec's sample and is amazed at the combined characteristics of animal and plant cells; he agrees to work with her on the sample. Delroy begins to see a masked man and begins to freak out, but is contained by Lucilia, Liz and Abby. He scratches Lucilia. Maria attempts to get closer to the recovering Susie, while Avery holds a celebration to mark the end of the "plant flu". Delroy reveals the man he saw was responsible for killing his mother when he was young. Abby goes to investigate the area where Todd was infected and discovers the corpse and a hotel key. Alec tells her that a darkness was released from it. Xanadu feels a storm approaching the town. Liz looks up the key's hotel and learns of a similar incident in the past where the final victim simply vanished into the swamp; Abby theorizes that he knew he was infected and killed himself. Lucilia begins to see a vision of Matt dying and attempts to shoot his "attacker"; disarmed by Daniel, she scratches Abby, who proceeds to rush into the swamp. Abby begins to see visions of a tall, faceless man who tries to take her; Alec arrives and removes the infection from her before returning it to the corpse before burying it. Alec reveals that the man did indeed kill himself to protect his loved ones, and that he learned it from the plants. He further states that the swamp has been polluted and that the balance has been shifted, stating that this is only the beginning. Avery and Maria decide to take care of Susie instead of her uncle, but Avery's intentions are more sinister.|
|5||"Drive All Night"||Greg Beeman||Franklin Rho||June 28, 2019||T33.10355|
|Swamp Thing meets a mysterious being known as the Phantom Stranger, who tells him that the ghosts that he saw earlier were in fact events witnessed by the trees in the past. Susie is possessed by Shawna's ghost and lures Maria to the swamp. Abby follows Maria to the swamp and goes into the water to try save her, but Maria turns round and tries to drown Abby, who manages to swim away. Shawna's ghost then tries to drown Maria, but Swamp Thing appears and saves her. With Swamp Thing's help, Abby discovers that Shawna has been killed by an evil force that pulled her underwater. Avery threatens Liz because of her investigation into Alec's death; she tells Avery that she's not afraid of him. Daniel tries to leave Marais, but at the border his arm burst into blue flames. Jason searches Alec's lab and finds giant footprints that leads to a piece of vegetation; after analysing it, he concludes that is the same genetic material as Abby's sample. Jason then tells Avery that a large creature is living in the swamp and that he needs it to be alive in order to study it. Avery gives him the name of someone who can hunt down and capture the creature.|
|6||"The Price You Pay"||Toa Fraser||Tania Lotia||July 5, 2019||T33.10356|
|Avery's trackers try to capture Swamp Thing, but he defends himself against them. Lucilia sends Matt to investigate, and Matt is able to track down Swamp Thing. Abby breaks up a brief fight between the two and reveals to Matt that the creature before him is in fact Alec Holland. Matt confesses to Lucilia that he killed Alec for Avery to protect her. Liz tells Abby that the goons that attacked her and Daniel were sent by Avery. Abby confronts Avery over Liz's allegations, and Avery tells Abby that he forgives her this time, but that he won't be so forgiving next time. A comatose Daniel remembers the deal that he made with the Phantom Stranger that resulted in his being trapped in Marais. Jason manages to awaken Daniel, but his experiments on Cassidy almost transform the failed actor into Blue Devil. Jason's wife Caroline sedates Daniel; Xanadu visits him at the hospital and relieves his pain. Swamp Thing grows a hallucinogenic flower out of his hand that makes Abby see him temporarily as Alec.|
|7||"Brilliant Disguise"||Alexis Ostrander||Conway Preston & Rob Fresco||July 12, 2019||T33.10357|
|Abby and Alec go to the rotted part of the swamp. While she is collecting a sample from dead wood, the darkness attacks and infects her with a bacteria. Alec takes Abby back to his lab, where she is saved by the Green that defeats the rot in her. Lucilia tells Avery that Alec is still alive and asks him to come with her to take Alec down before he comes for them. While searching for Alec in the swamp, Avery betrays Lucilia and steals her shotgun. Just as Avery is about to shoot Lucilia, Matt surprises him and knocks him out. When Avery wakes up, he tells Matt that he's his father, and Matt gets angry at Lucilia for not telling him. While he is distracted, Avery stabs him. Lucilia then shoots Avery in the leg, causing him to fall overboard. She fires multiple times into the water. Alec tells Abby that his transformation from a human to the creature he has become serves a higher purpose. He also tells Abby to move on with her life and to not come back anymore. Abby goes to the CDC in Atlanta to try to find a cure for him before it is too late. Although injured by bullets, Avery emerges from the water and makes it to the shore.|
|8||"Long Walk Home"||E. L. Katz||Doris Egan||July 19, 2019||T33.10358|
|A wounded Avery wanders across the forest swamp. He loses blood and begins to hallucinate. Swamp Thing finds him, brings him back to the lab and helps him recover. At the CDC in Atlanta, Abby is denied access to the results of the sample that she brought in; afterwards, she is confronted by the Conclave. Harlan is kidnapped after leaving Abby's apartment. Avery returns the next day with Jason to "help" Swamp Thing, but he also brings Conclave's mercenaries with him. Swamp Thing tells them to leave, but Jason, Avery and the mercenaries manage to capture him alive. Sensing that Swamp Thing is in danger, Abby heads back to Marais, but arrives at the swamp too late.|
|9||"The Anatomy Lesson"||Michael Goi||Teleplay by : Mark Verheiden |
Story by : Noah Griffith & Daniel Stewart
|July 26, 2019||T33.10359|
|Swamp Thing is brought to a secret Conclave facility, where Jason conducts research on him. As payback for her plotting to kill him, Avery puts his wife Maria in a mental institution. Matt crashes his car as a result of drinking and driving. Jason removes Swamp Thing's lungs and heart while Swamp Thing is still conscious and discovers that he is still alive without them. After further examination, Woodrue deduces and reveals to him that he is not Alec Holland; he is a humanoid plant that absorbed Holland's memories after the explosion. Abby and Liz locate the facility. Daniel recovers and the Phantom Stranger shows him a vision of Liz and Abby being hunted and killed by Conclave security. He decides to take on the role of Blue Devil; putting on the mask, he transforms. Abby and Liz are able to free Swamp Thing while the Blue Devil takes out the guards, but Jason manages to escape. He returns home, only to find that Caroline has taken all of her medication at once and overdosed. Swamp Thing returns to the swamp, where he goes underwater and returns with a skeleton. A shocked and horrified Abby looks on as Swamp Thing confirms the body to be that of Alec Holland.|
|10||"Loose Ends"||Deran Sarafian||Teleplay by : Erin Maher & Kay Reindl |
Story by : Rob Fresco
|August 2, 2019||T33.10360|
|Despite the recovery of Alec Holland's body, Abby tries to make Swamp Thing believe that Holland's spirit resides within him. Nathan and his men attack, but Swamp Thing kills them, sparing only Nathan. Swamp Thing has one last conversation with Alec Holland. Woodrue performs an experiment on himself to save his wife. Madame Xanadu visits Maria in the mental institution and gives her closure, but at the cost of her sanity. Avery tries to reconcile with his ex-lover Lucilia, but when she refuses, he stabs her and dumps her car in the swamp with Lucilia inside the trunk. After talking with Liz, Cassidy is finally able to leave Marais. Both Swamp Thing and Abby make life-changing decisions — to remain in Marais and try to combat the enroaching darkness together. Matt comes back to the station to find the police officers that took Woodrue in are dead. Woodrue, who has been completely transformed by his experiment, attacks Matt.|
On May 2, 2018, it was announced that DC Universe had given the production a script-to-series order. Mark Verheiden and Gary Dauberman were expected to write the first episode of the series and executive produce alongside James Wan, Michael Clear. Rob Hackett was set to serve as a co-producer. Production companies involved with the series were slated to include Atomic Monster Productions and Warner Bros. Television. On September 4, 2018, it was reported that Len Wiseman would direct the series' first episode in addition to serving as an executive producer.
Despite being released on DC Universe, the series does not exist in the same fictional universe as the service's other live-action series, including Titans and Doom Patrol. On June 6, 2019, the series was canceled one week after its premiere aired. Before the series' cancellation, there were plans to introduce Justice League Dark and create a spin-off based on that team.
In September 2018, it was announced that Crystal Reed and Maria Sten had been cast in the main roles of Abby Arcane and Liz Tremayne, respectively. Jennifer Beals was also announced in the recurring role of Sheriff Lucilia Cable, although she would later be revealed to be part of the main cast. In late October and early November 2018, more series regulars were revealed, with Jeryl Prescott cast as Madame Xanadu, Virginia Madsen cast as Maria Sunderland, Will Patton cast as Avery Sunderland. Andy Bean cast as Alec Holland with Derek Mears as the Swamp Thing, Henderson Wade cast as Matt Cable, and Kevin Durand cast as Jason Woodrue.
Principal photography for the series commenced in early November 2018 in Wilmington, North Carolina and wrapped on May 6, 2019.
On April 17, 2019, it was announced that production for the series had been unexpectedly cut short due to creative differences with DC Universe's parent company WarnerMedia, thus reducing the original episode order from 13 to 10 episodes. Further reports stated the series had been canceled due to budget shortfalls after the expected level of tax rebates offered by the state of North Carolina were substantially reduced. A representative from DC Universe stated that the streaming service is being re-evaluated and that there are no plans for season 2. When asked why specifically the show was canceled, the spokesman responded, "Unfortunately, we are not in a position to answer at this time."
In an interview with Collider, actor Derek Mears – who portrays the titular monster – shared his reaction to the cancellation, describing it as a "heartbreaker" and stating that he felt the decision to cancel the show felt like a "lack of respect" on DC's part: "It was such a heartbreaker to find out after our first episode that we got canceled for the second season, but all we've heard up until that point was how amazing everything was," said Mears. "And everyone's going, 'We have a big hit on our hands. This is crazy.' ... So it's a weird nebulous space that we're all in now because we don't know officially why that would happen, or why they canceled it. Even if you are going to cancel it, wouldn't you wait until later on until to see how it plays with fans before? So, something's going on somewhere. [...] I'm very proud of what we did, but also very saddened by the almost the sense of lack of respect," he continued. "We have a brand new baby we worked so hard on, and having someone like slit their throat and go, 'Here's the baby,' and going like, 'Oh, you get no more baby after this' Why would you do that? [...] Maybe something will switch somewhere, if something will flip, and we can all get together again. But I tell you, it's one of the best experiences I have had, and set the bar really high for working together with a group of people."
Swamp Thing premiered May 31, 2019, on DC Universe. Despite being canceled not long after its premiere, DC Universe continued to release the remaining episodes of the series, with the finale being released on August 2, 2019.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the series holds a 93% approval rating based on 30 reviews, with an average rating of 7.32/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "By leaning into the horror of it all, Swamp Thing swims deep into the trenches of this strange world and returns with a scary good TV show." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the series a score of 67 out of 100 based on reviews from 5 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
|2019||Saturn Awards||Best Streaming Superhero Television Series||Swamp Thing||Nominated|
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- Andreeva, Nellie (November 5, 2018). "'Swamp Thing': Will Patton Cast As Avery Sunderland In DC Universe Series". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on November 6, 2018. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
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