James Mangold recently appeared on the Happy Sad Confused podcast to promote his work on Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. During the episode, Mangold discussed his Swamp Thing movie, providing some captivating new insights about his intentions for the DC Universe project.
The filmmaker shared some fascinating details about his planned approach for the character of Swamp Thing. He suggested that his vision for the classic DC Comics character would draw inspiration from the legendary tale of Frankenstein. However, despite the darker origins of the DC icon, the movie isn’t explicitly aiming for an R-rating. So, while it might touch on darker, more mature themes, it may still maintain a wider appeal.
“To me, the idea of making almost a noir, mystery, horror film about a guy who wakes up and he’s this thing. There’s an amnesiac quality of, ‘How did I get here and who did this to me?’ So I’m envisioning a horror-noir film following a creature that can’t be seen, trying to piece together from fragments of memories, what happened and who did it. And none of this runs counter to the Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson and all the great work that went on. I’m just framing it up in a new movie context, but that’s all they were exploring in these comics and so beautifully.”
According to Mangold, the shift in the creative leadership of the DC Universe was one of the reasons he joined the Swamp Thing movie. He remarked, “Basically, the second I heard DC was going through some leadership convulsion and James [Gunn] was taking over, I just saw it as an opportunity to throw my hat down.”
In May 2019, DC Universe launched a Swamp Thing series that garnered significant attention from DC Comics fans. The series, created by Gary Dauberman and Mark Verheiden, featured an all-star cast, including Andy Bean and Crystal Reed, with Derek Mears bringing Swamp Thing to life.
However, the excitement behind Swamp Thing was short-lived, as the project was canceled just a few months later. Despite its brief run, Swamp Thing received critical acclaim for its exceptional storytelling and impressive visual effects.
The future of the DC Universe
James Gunn and Peter Safran told journalists that their vision for the DC Universe includes locked scripts, wiggle room, and a unified storyline across film, television, animation, and video game projects. The two explained that the DC Universe could bring back elements from previous DC regimes, meaning that their eight-to-year plan is not a full reboot.
At present, James Gunn is channeling his energy towards the inaugural DC Universe project Superman: Legacy. The project recently added David Corenswet and Rachel Brosnahan, who will be playing Clark Kent and Lois Lane, respectively. The filming of the movie is scheduled to commence in 2024, with its release planned for July 2025.
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