How Involved James Wan Got In DC Universe's Swamp Thing

Swamp Thing DC Universe

DC Universe's Swamp Thing may be one of the most critically acclaimed shows doomed for cancellation in 2019, and a big part of that acclaim is due to the unique horror vibe it brought to the superhero genre on TV. The creepiness wasn't necessarily surprising considering Gary Dauberman is on board as executive producer, co-showrunner, and writer, as the sole It: Chapter 2 writer seems to know a thing or two about crafting spooky stories.

Then there's horror master James Wan also working on Swamp Thing as an executive producer, and it isn't hard to see why this series is so well liked. Gary Dauberman recently spoke to CinemaBlend's Television Editor Nick Venable about Wan's influence on the DC Universe series, and how involved Wan was on the creative side during the show's creation.

Everything he does, he's so hands-on and, I'm just so happy he's so accessible, because I love to have him as a springboard for ideas. Or [I ask] 'Hey, here's what we're thinking about this. What do you think?' And then he'll go, 'Oh, that's really cool. Did you think about doing it like this? What if you did this? It might make it cooler.' And you go, 'Oh, yeah, that's great.' He's always so available and digging in on things. So even when we first started this, he was still in post on Aquaman, but he was always texting and asking 'What's going on with Swamp Thing? What's happening now?' Then you throw out, 'Hey, here's where we're at. What do you think?' So he's just a true partner in every sense of the word. It goes beyond influence, you know?

While James Wan may not have been involved on the directing side of Swamp Thing and was tending to other projects, Gary Dauberman assured CinemaBlend Wan was still actively involved in the creative process. He found time in his packed Hollywood schedule to even shoot a text and ask about how things were going, which speaks volumes to his level of commitment to the show.

It probably also helped that Gary Dauberman has worked with James Wan frequently in the past via the Annabelle franchise, which seems to have crafted a comfortable dynamic between the two. When asked if the two have some form of shorthand between them, Dauberman confirmed they have a relationship that does make things like working on Swamp Thing easier.

I think we do have a shorthand. I was thinking about this the other day, because we were sitting there and hanging out on Annabelle Comes Home; he was helping me on the color. I was just thinking, is it shorthand or is it just...? I think we're very comfortable with each other. So he doesn't need to say things. I know what he likes because I like the same things, so I think we actually share a similar sensibility. But I think we have a comfort with each other where we can just throw ideas out and I don't feel as if, 'Christ, they all have to be good ideas or he's going to [not like anything].' You know what I mean? There's a comfort, like I could throw out an idea, and he's like 'Nah, it's a terrible idea,' and I'm not going to go home and cry. Which, you know, may have happened at a certain point early on. [Laughs.]

Pitching ideas in a show setting can be a stressful process, but Gary Dauberman seems relatively comfortable suggesting his thoughts and doesn't take offense if James Wan shoots them down or tries to change the vision. That being said, it appears Dauberman has gained the ability to rule out ideas his frequent collaborator won't be on board with, which has probably lessened the amount of times he's heard no from Wan over the years.

And, as previously mentioned, it's not like Gary Dauberman has no claim to the critical acclaim and scares of Swamp Thing. As previously mentioned, he's a master of horror in his own right as the sole writer of It: Chapter 2, a credited writer on It, and writer of the Annabelle franchise and The Nun. With so many screenwriting credits, it's a wonder his name isn't floating alongside Wan's in lieu of recent Swamp Thing movie rumors.

Lucilla Cable Swamp Thing DC Universe

Of course, there's an extremely talented bunch behind DC Universe's Swamp Thing, and Gary Dauberman had praise for others beyond James Wan such as the series' co-executive producer and Underworld director Len Wiseman. Dauberman spoke highly Wiseman's contribution and how he really elevated the series beyond the realm of television with his efforts.

[Len Wiseman] helmed the first two episodes, and he's been so hands on throughout beyond the first two. But he, with James, they bring such a cinematic eye to it and it doesn't feel like TV to me at all. It feels like we're watching these little mini-movies each episode, and I think that's another thing that really sets it apart. But Len's visual; like he draw things out or Photoshop stuff to put together to try to exemplify his ideas. I gotta say, this isn't my first time working with him, but there was a real thrill. The guys is super fucking talented, and it was a lot of fun to see him – as a fan of the Underworld series and all that stuff – it was really cool to see him see him work up close. His attention to detail is something I really admired.

With so many talented minds, horror legends, and amazing performances, it's a wonder Swamp Thing remains a cancelled series. Right now things don't look like they're set to change on that front anytime soon, although critically acclaimed superhero shows do tend to generate interest and engage viewers.

Alas, the jury's still out on what it would take to bring Swamp Thing back for Season 2, or if that's possible. After all, this looks like it was an expensive series to make especially when looking at the quality of that incredible Swamp Thing suit, and the cost of CGI, and let's not forget the salaries of this amazing cast. Is there a network or streaming service that sees this series to be worth the cost?

Fans can only hope, and in the meantime, continue to support Swamp Thing in case there are decision makers watching the viewership and considering a series rebirth akin to Alec Holland's transformation. If not, at least there's the one season to enjoy, which is shaping up to be one that will be just as enjoyable to watch a second or third time through.

Swamp Thing uploads new episodes Fridays on DC Universe. Stick with the series and stay with CinemaBlend for updates on its status and the latest news on other television and movie news.

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.