Earlier this week, the minds behind the DC Universe streaming service made a somewhat surprising announcement: The Swamp Thing TV show, initially presented as one of the big flagship series of the superhero-themed subscription offering (complete with backing from horror mastermind James Wan), was already being canceled, after only a single episode on the air. (It’ll still run all of its first-season episodes, though, burning them off like lingering swamp gas through August.) The decision—apparently inspired by the simple fact that no one at Warner, uh, liked it—was abrupt enough that it caused a bout of wild and impromptu internet speculation.
Specifically, there were a series of accounts posted on Twitter, apparently inspired by some confusion in North Carolina’s recent budget negotiations, that the state had somehow allowed a clerical error to screw the show’s production out of $40 million in TV and film production tax rebates—that sweet, sweet nectar that convinces so many Hollywood projects to make their way to the American south. According to said allegations, the state money was supposed to make up roughly half the show’s budget, and once the mistake was revealed, DC Universe immediately pruned the series’ order and then decided to kill the show as soon as it made it to air.
But as Guy Gaster, the director of the North Carolina Film Office—who probably wasn’t expecting to have to spend his weekend doing this—has been tirelessly informing people, those numbers don’t add up. For one thing, North Carolina guidelines say a series can only get up to $12 million for filming in the state per season (which Swamp Thing did), not the $40 million number being passed along online. Gaster (talking to Deadline) also stated that the state and Warner Bros. had a good working relationship on the project, and that he was just as baffled as anybody why DC Universe pulled the plug. (Again, though: “They really didn’t like it” seems to be the prevailing sentiment.)