Swamp Thing Doesn’t Need A Movie, Stream The Perfect Adaptation Right Now

By Jacob VanGundy | Published

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The new era of DC films is eminent, with Superman scheduled to kick off the DCU’s first chapter, “Gods and Monsters.” The monster part of the title is a reference to the upcoming movie Swamp Thing, which will adapt part of Alan Moore’s iconic run on the comic book of the same name, which also happens to be my favorite DC comic. The problem is, DC already adapted that storyline flawlessly in 2019. 

Alec Holland And Swamp Thing

Swamp Thing first appeared in an issue of House of Secrets written by Len Wein and drawn by Bernie Wrightson as the scientist Alec Holland who, after an attempt on his life, mutates into the monster.

Alan Moore added a twist to this origin: Alec Holland didn’t survive; rather, his memories were absorbed by the swamp’s plant life and he was decomposed. This allowed Moore to make the character a genuine monster and interrogate the relationship between memory and consciousness.

2019 Swamp Thing Adaptation

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The 2019 series Swamp Thing adapted Alan Moore’s version of the origin, adapting the spirit of the comic while updating it. Despite only getting a single season, it ranks high among my favorite comic book adaptations, capturing the horror tone of the comic perfectly while fleshing out the human characters just as much as the titular monster.

The episode “The Anatomy Lesson” in particular captures the feel of the comic, adapting Moore’s most famous issue of the comic perfectly. 

The Swamp Thing Cast

The show’s phenomenal writing was elevated by great performances all around. Crystal Reed stands out as Abby Arcane, a CDC doctor and the real protagonist of the show.

The show’s other performances are just as great including Derek Mears as Swamp Thing, Will Patton as the villainous Avery Sunderland, and Kevin Durand as the increasingly unhinged biologist Jason Woodrue. 

Canceled Too Soon

Swamp Thing

While I loved the show, and it garnered near-universal praise among critics, it was canceled during the filming of its first season.

Swamp Thing aired on the short-lived streaming platform DC Universe and was canceled due to a tax code change with three episodes left to finish its original order. The premature cancellation and lack of follow-up is a shame as the show received a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes and a nomination for a Saturn award despite being cut short mid-production. 

The upcoming Swamp Thing movie is one of five films in production that will make up the first chapter of the DCU under James Gunn and Peter Safran. James Mangold, best known as the director of Logan, is set to write and direct the comic book horror movie. Mangold has revealed that his film will once again tell the Alan Moore version of the character’s origin story. 

Streaming Swamp Thing

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While it makes sense for Mangold to adapt the most famous version of Swamp Things origin, it’s disappointing to see the same story getting adapted again when the show pulled it off so well. As a fan of the character, I’d rather see new stories get adapted like part of Scott Snyder’s run or a story from later in Moore’s run.

While I still plan to see the movie, my excitement has been cooled by the choice to cover the same material as the show.

 I highly recommend the 2019 version of Swamp Thing to comic fans and newcomers alike. It’s not just the best on-screen version of the character, but one of the best comic adaptations ever made. Best of all, Swamp Thing is now free to watch on Tubi.