The filmmaker’s plans for the future of DC Studios are ambitious as he takes over as the company's co-CEO.
This includes an animated series based on the Creature Commandos, a detective Green Lanterns show, a Game of Thrones-inspired Amazonian Paradise Lost series, and more. All signs even point to Gunn planning to give DC its own proper big crossover event—something 2017’s event failed to do for many.
Among that diverse slate, which DC Studios has branded Chapter 1: Gods and Monsters, the DCU looks to be extending into more adult genres.
James Mangold Wants A Scary Swamp Thing
In an interview with Variety, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny director and Swamp Thing director James Mangold confirmed that he is looking to take a “Gothic horror” approach with his upcoming DCU film.
Mangold noted that he’s planning to view his take on the character as a “very simple, clean, Gothic horror movie about this man/monster:”
”While I’m sure DC views ‘Swamp Thing’ as a franchise, I would be viewing it as a very simple, clean, Gothic horror movie about this man/monster… [I’ve been] toying for years with the idea of making a kind of Frankenstein movie.”
The director revealed that he did “put in a friendly call” to get his name in the running for a project at the start of the process—something DC Studios leads Peter Safran and James Gunn were clearly a fan of.
At the end of the day, Mangold made it clear that he’s “just doing [his] own thing with this, just a standalone.”
The Horror of Swamp Thing
It’s clear why Gunn wanted Swamp Thing in his initial DCU lineup. Not only is he a lesser-known character, but he opens the door to the supernatural side of the DC Universe and paves the way for darker, scarier adventures.
Swamp Thing isn’t new to live-action adaptations. Most recently, a series was created for DC’s failed streaming service and ran for a single season.
The worst part, is that it was received pretty well—the project just fell victim to poor timing and circumstance. Now the character can get another chance to shine.
To aid in the Gothic horror approach, including the Creature Commandos, who Gunn has promised to bring over into live-action, would be the perfect play. Not only does it exemplify the direction that Mangold is going in, but it helps bring those fringe characters to a bigger audience.
Sadly, it’ll be some time before this particular DCU project comes to fruition. As of writing, there’s no current estimated release window, so fans might be looking at something as far away as 2026 or 2027.