DC Universe’s Swamp Thing was reportedly canceled prematurely for reasons still not fully revealed, prompting assumptions by a few without inside information to be passed off as fact. Fortunately, the mists lingering above the swamp water are beginning to clear.
Deadline reports a prime culprit behind misconceptions relating to the tax credits granted by North Carolina, where Swamp Thing was filmed, is a writer and cartoonist named John Gholson. He tweeted a thread that, at first glance, looked credible but were loaded with errors.
Gholson claimed North Carolina’s Film Office withheld a whopping $40 million from Warner Bros. Counting on that, according to his logic, Swamp Thing’s budget dropped steeply and thusly wasn’t renewed.
Though possible, $40 mill. is high for any state to dole out for a TV show, regardless of the budget. A lot of movies with that price tag are made — Hellboy’s budget was greater by only $10 mill. dollars.
Somebody, the director of the North Carolina Film Office no less, noticed the numbers didn’t add up and came forward to clear the air. Guy Gasser stated the $40-mill. tax figure is not only more than the usual maximum state credit — $12 mill. — but is bigger than his Office’s yearly budget as well. The NCFO runs on $31 mill. a year.
The idea North Carolina’s government would drop a bomb on the studio without warning was also dismissed by Gasser, who blames the nature of social media where unfounded allegations catch like wildfire. To a fault, he is glad there is fervor for a production filmed in his backyard and that action might be taken:
“Some outlets used an unverified source, but if they even went straight to Twitter, where the report apparently first started, they would have found that the gentleman had nothing to back up his own claim. 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.”
Gholson stood by his words, tweeting the following:
“I don’t even understand some of it. Maybe my numbers are off, but it’s still a matter of money.”
Nevertheless, Twitter apparently took action against Gholson and banned him. His account and Swamp Thing thread can no longer be found, which has some users divided.
Because he got called out HARD. By Deadline and North Carolina.
— Roger Buchana (@Butters360) June 8, 2019
Whether Gholson deserved to be banned or not, he was wrong, according to Gasser. North Carolina welcomed Swamp Thing with open arms and the working relationship with WB was amiable and always has been, Gasser stated. He added that they fulfilled all requirements contractually, with the funds ready if they need, and upheld their end of the deal.
Given that, while they tend to hear directly from producers if a show is renewed, the state still heard about the cancellation like everyone else, without warning — meaning the decision to end things aborning came from on high suddenly at Warner. Gasser noted, “We found out just like everybody else.” He added, “Yes, it was a disappointment. It comes with the business. We don’t necessarily get insights in advance…sometime if a show is renewed sometimes we found out in advance of the studio announcement, but with cancellations we usually found out with everybody else.”
Many believe the recent merger with AT&T and plans for its own streaming service, a la Disney+, caused WarnerMedia to reassess DC Universe, and possibly set in motion the scuttling of the platform — despite growth in its digital comic selections.
Gasser was hopeful that the show will continue to be produced in North Carolina:
“It’s been positive. We’ve worked with Warner Bros overall on many projects and certainly this looks, with their initial information filing, like they have fulfilled all of their requirements for our program and we will fulfill ours once all that has been verified following their audit with this. Look, we would love for the series to continue and to continue employing North Carolinians to help make the show.”
What do you make of Gasser’s clarification regarding early reports surrounding the cancellation of Swamp Thing?