James Mangold confirmed he’s wading into DC waters writing and directing a film based on the comic book character Swamp Thing.
In an interview with Collider, director Mangold (who’s also helming a Star Wars film for Disney) answered the following when asked which one would come first:
There you have it. We don’t know when exactly Mangold’s Swamp Thing or Star Wars films will happen, but we know he’s in the process of writing them. It sounds as though the journeyman director is aware of the turmoil that most Star Wars and DC films have undergone in recent years and doesn’t want to overhype the fans just yet, but you can sense his enthusiasm for the projects in the above clip.
Why James Mangold Could Be a Great Fit for Swamp Thing
One thing DC has done with every film of its extended universe is hire directors with extremely distinct and recognizable styles so that each movie feels unique from the others based on who’s sitting behind the camera. Nabbing James Mangold for Swamp Thing is potentially a major win for DC and its new fledgling DCU movies as both of Mangold’s previous superhero outings, The Wolverine and Logan, were largely praised for combining strong action sequences with well-rounded, character-focused stories.
Characterization has been a consistent strength across a majority of Mangold’s filmography, from the dark drama Girl, Interrupted to the fluffy romcom Kate & Leopold to the racing drama Ford Vs. Ferrari, Mangold is a guy who cares about his characters and always does his best to make sure we do too.
Even in action-heavy films like The Wolverine and Logan, Mangold made them character pieces first, spectacle second. His hiring for Swamp Thing lines up with DCU co-head James Gunn’s recent comments regarding superhero films and the importance of creating characters the audience connects with over drawn-out spectacle. As far as the general public is concerned, Swamp Thing is a far lesser-known character than Batman, Superman, or even the Suicide Squad at this point, so having someone like Mangold who knows how to make his characters and their demons relatable is a great first step.
Who is Swamp Thing?
Swamp Thing was originally created by Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson. He first appeared in House of Secrets #92 in July 1971 and has had various incarnations over the years. The character made his live-action debut in the 1982 film Swamp Thing, with Ray Wise portraying his human alter ego Alec Holland and Dick Durock playing the Swamp Thing. Durock took on both roles in the 1989 sequel The Return of Swamp Thing and a television series in 1990.
The most recent adaptation was a 1-season television series created by James Wan in 2019 that saw Derek Mears take on the creature and Andy Bean play Alec Holland. Despite great critical reception, the series was cancelled due to the head studio WB wanting their television content to shift in a different direction at the time. The series also starred Crystal Reed (Of Gotham and MTV’s Teen Wolf series).
With James Gunn promising big swings for his and Peter Safran’s DCU to help differentiate it from Marvel’s ongoing MCU, I think Swamp Thing with its more horror-based setup is a good card to play. With a director like James Mangold at the helm and a character most general audiences haven’t seen yet, here’s hoping Swamp Thing manages to make a splash with us all.
What do you think of James Mangold helming Swamp Thing? Did you see and/or enjoy the Swamp Thing films or short-lived 2019 show? Who’s your favorite lesser-known DC character? What’s your favorite James Mangold film? Let us know on our social media.