Swamp Thing is coming to the big screen, DC chiefs James Gunn and Peter Safran revealed today. Along with the slate unveiling, the duo gave reporters a sense for what to expect from a number of DC's upcoming projects, and the watch word for Swamp Thing is "dark." This version of the character will owe more to the horror comics from which he is descended than the campy and adventure-driven movies and TV show that made him a household name in the 1980s and '90s. Not unlike the short-lived 2019 TV series, this version of Swamp Thing will be explicitly tied into the fabric of the DC Universe, and he'll be bringing the spooky to the place.
Gunn promised that Swamp Thing would bring a dark tone and a distinctive voice for the filmmakers -- two things that some fans have worried would be scarce in an increasingly-connected DC Universe. Prior to the failure of Justice League, those were the elements that most differentiated Warner Bros.' DC movies from those at Marvel, after all.
"The final film we want to talk about is Swamp Thing," Gunn said during his presentation. "And we bring it up because it's important to point out that in these stories, although interconnected, they're not all tonally the same. Each set of filmmakers brings their own aesthetic to these films, and the fun is seeing how these tonally different works mash up in the future. This is a film that will investigate the dark origins of Swamp Thing."
In his original stories, Swamp Thing was Alec Holland, a scientist who was disfigured by an explosion in his lab. Jumping into the swamp outside for relief from a chemical fire, Holland merged with the plan life and became a hulking Swamp Thing, given the power to control plants and frequently squaring off against Anton Arcane, who blended mad science with black magic.
Years later, writer Alan Moore established that Holland had actually died the night of his accident, and that Swamp Thing was essentially the swamp itself brought to life by The Green, one of the elemental forces in the universe, innherent and connected to all forms of plant life. Swamp Thing believed himself to be Alec Holland as a result of his accident, but really as the avatar of the Green he was more a cosmic force than a single man.
Between Swamp Thing's struggles with identity and humanity, and a coal-black backstory for Arcane that includes murder and sexual abuse, it isn't a surprise that the movie will lean into the horror of its premise and be something of a tonal outlier for Gunn and Safran's new DC Universe.
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