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The Cast and Creators of Swamp Thing Discuss the Humanity and Horror of the Series

DC Universe's Swamp Thing is one of its strongest entries yet.

This weekend, the cast and creators of DC Universe’s Swamp Thing hosted a Q+A, where they screened the first two episodes of the series. Cast members included Andy Bean, Crystal Reed, Derek Mears, Virginia Madsen, Jennifer Beals, Ian Ziering, and more. While we’ll have a review for you later this week, suffice it to say that Swamp Thing is stylish and spooky horror series that may very well be DC Universe’s best show yet.

The series synopsis reads: “Swamp Thing follows Abby Arcane as she investigates what seems to be a deadly swamp-born virus in a small town in Louisiana but soon discovers that the swamp holds mystical and terrifying secrets. When unexplainable and chilling horrors emerge from the murky marsh, no one is safe.”

Swamp Thing, created by writer Len Wein and artist Bernie Wrightson, first appeared in House of Secrets #92 (July 1971). Since then, the character has spawned several successful comic book runs, two films, a live-action series, and an animated series. But there has never been a better time for a Swamp Thing series, given modern special effects and the more relevant than ever threat of climate change and environmental disaster.

Executive producer and showrunner Mark Verheiden (Hemlock Grove) discussed the vision for the show, which was developed along with fellow executive producer and horror auteur James Wan (Aquaman). Verheiden said, “When we started, we wanted to do a Swamp Thing that is true to the comics of Wein, Wrightson, and what Alan Moore and Steve Bissette did … We’re looking to create this world in Marais in which Abby Arcane comes into it with enormous amounts of problems and backstory that she has to deal with. And we also wanted to do a great horror show that is genuinely scary and R-rated at times.”

So much of the series is based on finding the humanity in Alec Holland/Swamp Thing, who is portrayed by Andy Bean (It: Chapter Two) in his human form and Derek Mears (Friday the 13th) in his swamp form. Both actors discussed how they approached the character, working together to create a cohesive performance.

Bean said of the role, “It was a bizarre thing going into it, knowing the work put into the human aspect, so when it turns into another thing, it matters. He wants to be human again, and what is it to be human? What is it to have connections with people spontaneously, and the potential for happiness? We went down the rabbit holes of what is it to cling onto that and have hope, yet be lost in it. I can’t wait for the world to see what Derek has done. I couldn’t be more happy to be side to side with him.”

Mears described the experience as a “crazy full circle”, as he grew up a fan of the comics. On working with Bean he said, “to work with someone so giving and loving, like Andy came to me early on and asked ‘what do you need for your side of this?’ and we had long conversations about existentialism and go down these crazy rabbit holes about consciousness and what it means to be who we are, everything that is you … when all of that is taken away, what’s left?”

And while Swamp Thing is the title character, much of the series centers on Abby Arcane (Crystal Reed), the CDC scientist who returns to her hometown, haunted by the tragedies of her past. Reed said of the role and her dynamic with Holland, “Abby is constantly searching for the humanity in the monster, and that is what makes her beautiful, as she’s constantly looking for the light in general.”

Swamp Thing is a very different superhero show than any we’ve seen before, and we’re excited to tell you more about it next week.

(image: DC Universe)

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Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. She currently lives in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband and two poorly behaved rescue dogs. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.

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