As soon as the bombshell that DC Universe was canning its Swamp Thing TV series after just one episode came out, people were looking for a good reason why it happened. Multiple fan news outlets, including this one, reported that WB had been relying on a tax break provided by North Carolina (where the one-season series was shot).
The story went that said tax break would have shaved half the budget off production costs for the series, and when it turned out not to be available, WB had no choice but to shut down Swamp Thing.
But that’s not what happened, says Guy Gasser, director of the North Carolina Film Office. Gasser told Deadline that before a TV series even begins setting up production tents in NC, negotiation deals begin that result in ironclad contracts, so mistakes like this wouldn’t actually be possible. In addition, the figure being floated around (a $40 million tax credit) exceeds the entire budget of the NC Film Office (which is $31 million).
The story originated on Twitter with John Gholson, who has written for entertainment websites in the past. “[Gholson] had nothing to back up his own claim,” Gasser told Deadline. “He has certainly retracted some of what he was saying and now it appears that Twitter may ban him with all of this happening. I guess all I can say is I’m glad he’s passionate about a show filmed in our state.”
So if taxes weren’t the reason Swamp Thing met a premature end, what is? We may never truly know.