Alex Garland Reveals Why He Could Never Make a Swamp Thing Movie

With a filmography that includes Ex Machina, Annihilation, and the new FX on Hulu miniseries Devs, Alex Garland has built a career out of aesthetically and narratively mesmerizing audiences. While he might be best known for his mind-bending indie fare, Garland has dipped into the world of comic book adaptations in the past, writing the "Sunrise" episode of Batman: Black and White, and writing (and, depending on who you ask, directing) 2012's Dredd. One comic property that has been linked to Garland is Swamp Thing, which he cited as an inspiration for Annihilation, and even expressed a willingness to direct an adaptation of in 2018.

ComicBook.com recently got a chance to chat with Garland during the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo, where we asked him if a Swamp Thing adaptation was still something he would want to do. As Garland put it, the situation is more nuanced than that, in part because of the fact that iconic Swamp Thing writer Alan Moore essentially discourages adaptations of his work.

"It's complicated for me because I really, really love Swamp Thing," Garland explained. "I wasn't exactly saying that I wanted to do it. The problem for me is that Alan Moore, who wrote the parts of Swamp Thing that I really loved and responded to, has been very, very clear saying he does not want people to adapt his stuff. So I couldn't work on Swamp Thing for that reason. I've got too much respect and admiration for Alan Moore. But I can fantasize about it. I can daydream about it."

"I think the problem is: how do you adapt something that explicitly doesn't want to be adapted?" Garland posited.

It's hard to argue with Garland's reasoning, especially as fans have seen Moore's philosophy impact quite a few TV series in recent years. DC Universe did adapt Swamp Thing into a short-lived television series in 2019, which partially drew inspiration from Moore's 1980s run on the title. And HBO's Watchmen, which sought out to "remix" the canon Moore created in the original comic miniseries, has not been met with a positive response by the writer.

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"I’m about to say something very ridiculous, but in all sincerity, I was absolutely convinced that there was a magical curse placed upon me by Alan [Moore]." Watchmen showrunner Damon Lindelof said in 2019. "I’m actually feeling the psychological effects of a curse, and I’m okay with it. It’s fair that he has placed a curse on me. The basis for this, my twisted logic, was that I heard that he had placed a curse on Zack [Snyder]’s [Watchmen] movie. There is some fundamental degree of hubris and narcissism in saying he even took the time to curse me. But I became increasingly convinced that it had, in fact, happened. So I was like, ‘Well, at least I’m completely and totally miserable the entire time.’ I should be!”

The first two episodes of Devs are now available on FX on Hulu. New episodes will debut Thursdays.