DC Universe’s upcoming Swamp Thing live action series has been assembling quite a cast. Yet, the crucial title role has remained notably unfilled…until now. Perhaps that’s because when it comes to playing DC’s monstrous guardian of the planet’s fauna, there’s no one man for the job.
Actor Andy Bean has been cast in the role of Alec Holland, the innovative scientist whose research ultimately leads to his untimely demise and rebirth as the titular hero. However, the plant-like Swamp Thing will be embodied on the show by longtime genre actor Derek Mears.
Described as a passionate biologist, Alec Holland becomes caught in the crosshairs of a small town nightmare when he discovers a bizarre local illness may be connected to his work in the swamp. Holland's discovery leads him into conflict with dark forces, from which he emerges as the elemental hero known as Swamp Thing.
It's unclear how big a presence Alec Holland’s human guise will be on the show. Traditionally, the comics and movies have focused on his time as Swamp Thing. However, Bean’s been cast as a series regular, which suggests he’ll be seen throughout at least the first season. Whatever form that takes, Bean sounds ideal for the role. He’s an up and coming actor who has been seen both on Starz’s Power and HBO’s Here and Now. However, his most prominent role to date may be his upcoming one as the adult Stanley Uris opposite James McAvoy, Bill Skarsgard and Jessica Chastain.
As for old Swampy, the series offers a description for him as well: Emerging from the swamp with a monstrous physique and strange new powers over plant life, the man who was once Alec Holland struggles to hold onto his humanity. When dark forces converge on the town of Marais, Swamp Thing must embrace what he has become in order to defend the town as well as the natural world at large.
If you’re a fan of sci-fi, horror, fantasy and genre entertainment in general, you’ve likely seen Mears before, even if you don’t immediately recognize him. The longtime character actor has plenty of experience bringing monstrous legends to life on the big screen, including Jason Vorhees in 2009’s Friday the 13thremake and 2010’s Predators. He had a recurring role on FOX’s Sleepy Hollow and recently appeared as an alien ambassador on Seth MacFarlane’s sci-fi satire, The Orville. He’s also a veteran of superhero TV for both DC and Marvel, with notable appearances on The Flash, where he played the villain Dwarfstar in two episodes, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
For a comic character who lacks the fame and recognition of some of DC’s most prominent heroes, Swamp Thing has had a remarkably storied history. Created back in 1971 by Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson, and making his first appearance in HOUSE OF SECRETS #92 in what was originally a one-off story, the character was reintroduced by Wein and Wrightson a year later in an ongoing series that ultimately ran for 24 issues. However, in comic circles Swamp Thing is best known as the character and series with which Alan Moore first made his name. After launching a second ongoing comic, SAGA OF THE SWAMP THING in 1982, to poor sales, the book’s editors agreed to give Moore free reign creatively on the title. He made his debut in 1983’s SAGA OF THE SWAMP THING #20, and ultimately shaped the book into one of the most influential, groundbreaking and critically acclaimed comics in history.
While it’s debatable whether we’ve seen a Swamp Thing on screen who has come close to capturing the imagination and experimentation that Moore and subsequent writers have brought to the character in comics, we have seen him on screen, and several times. Holland’s most famous appearance was in 1982’s Swamp Thing movie directed by Wes Craven, where he was brought to life by Dick Durock. The actor and stuntman would go on to play him in the 1989 sequel and in the USA Network TV series, which ran from 1990 to 1993. (Unlike in the upcoming DC Universe series, Durock played both Holland and Swamp Thing.) Swamp Thing’s also appeared in animated series like Justice League Action, animated movies like Justice League Dark and video games, such as DC Universe Online and Injustice 2.
Bean and Mears will join an already impressive cast including Will Patton as Swamp Thing nemesis Avery Sunderland, Virginia Madsen as Maria Sunderland, Jeryl Prescott as Madame Xanadu, Jennifer Beals as Sheriff Lucilia Cable and Crystal Reed as Abby Arcane.
The series itself promises to follow Abby Arcane as she investigates what seems to be a deadly swamp-born virus in a small town in Louisiana, only to soon discover that the swamp holds mystical and terrifying secrets. When unexplainable and chilling horrors emerge from the murky marsh, no one is safe.
It’s produced by Atomic Monster in association with Warner Bros. Television, and arrives care of Executive Producers James Wan, Mark Verheiden, Gary Dauberman, Michael Clear and Len Wiseman.
Okay, swamp lovers, now it’s your turn! Do you think this is a brilliant bit of casting? Are you in favor of casting two actors in the role(s)? How excited are you to see the world of Swamp Thing brought to life? Keep in mind, the producers all have horror backgrounds, so you can expect this one to get dark and creepy. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, and be sure to subscribe to DC Universe now so you don’t miss a moment of Swamp Thing when it premieres next year!