Yikes…..Warner Bros’ DC Universe streaming service just canned its latest series after uploading just one episode to the server. Is what just happened to Swamp Thing a sign of bad times ahead for DC Universe as a whole?
On the surface, any new venture cancelling one of its projects this prematurely is never a good look. But there’s no real need to panic, unless you liked Swamp Thing (and you’ve barely had any time to develop an attachment). According to industry journalist John Gholson, WB originally greenlit this show to film it in North Carolina, hoping to take advantage of a tax break that is no longer available.
“North Carolina promised a $40m tax rebate that, due to a paperwork error, they were unable to deliver. That was roughly half the proposed budget for [Season One] (which is estimated at $80m). When NC discovered the error, the corrected. WB shut down production, realizing they’d be taking a bath on the rebate and paying for far more of it than assumed. The adjusted number from NC is something like $14m. That’s a massive difference.”
Loopholes or not, DC Universe faces a greater challenge ahead — the ever-shifting tides of business. There are new overlords at WB — AT&T, who merged with the studio this year. AT&T would like to fold WB’s entire library into a new streaming service…the problem is, WB already launched one that’s much more niche.
Deadline says “Like every other initiative, DC Universe is being reevaluated following the completion of AT&T acquisition of Time Warner as WarnerMedia has put an emphasis on the launch of a new streaming platform. There have been questions how DC Universe fits into those plans.” The best-case scenario would be that DC Universe is folded into the larger service.
Prior to the cancellation, Swamp Thing had its episode order reduced to just ten episodes (originally 13).