Todd McFarlane says that, with the success of comic book films like Venom, it’s now or never to make the long-delayed Spawn reboot film.
Todd McFarlane has given an update on the languishing Spawn reboot that sounds very optimistic about the film’s chances. Spawn is a character created by McFarlane that originated in an Image Comics run in 1992. Spawn, who was originally known as Albert Francis Simmons, is an assassin who was killed but made a deal with the villainous Malebolgia who sent him back to Earth as a burned Hellspawn with almost no memories. His Hellspawn powers have limitations, however, and he will be sent back to Hell once he uses them up, so Spawn decided to extend his time on Earth battling evil without wasting his powers. The Spawn comic line has been running regularly since its inception.
Back in 1997, Spawn was adapted into a film starring Michael Jai White. Although the film doubled its budget at the box office, it wasn’t well-received by critics. However, it did spawn an animated series, where the character was voiced by Keith David, which ran on HBO for three seasons. The live-action Spawn reboot was announced in 2015, with Todd McFarlane set to make his feature film directorial debut on the project. He is working in conjunction with the horror production company Blumhouse, and the film was at one point meant to star Jamie Foxx. However, the project has experienced crushing delays and there is still no word on whether the Spawn reboot film is well and truly alive.
Recently, Todd MacFarlane sat down with Bleeding Cool to discuss his comic book empire and the future of Spawn. Although no public updates have been made recently on the progress of the film, he insists meetings are still happening constantly, especially as producers witness the success of comic book films broadly, and the Venom films specifically. He seems optimistic saying that it’s “now or never” and “something’s going to give in the next few months, right?” Read his full quote below:
Something’s going to give in the next few months, right? There’s too many people pushing in that direction, again I’ve got a call later today on that very subject. You can imagine Spider-Man makes a billion dollars and everybody sort of gets sort of… I mean they were already crazy, now they just got twice as crazy.
I mean they got crazy when the only movies that were making money were superheroes, and then Venom goes and rocks it, and then Spider-Man comes in and obliterates it, so now they’re almost singular in their mindset of what kind of ideas they’ve got. So something has to happen. We’ll never get to the top of the mountain if we can’t do it now, with everybody wanting to do it now. Fingers crossed. I would say it’s now or never.
McFarlane still hasn’t directed a feature project since the Spawn reboot was announced, so it’s clear that he hasn’t abandoned the prospect. Blumhouse, likewise, has a proven ability to make unexpected reboots and crossovers happen, both in their Halloween trilogy featuring Jamie Lee Curtis reprising the role of Laurie Strode, and Glass, their crossover film between Unbreakable and Split. However, they also unfortunately have a track record of leaving highly anticipated adaptations in the lurch, like the long-awaited Five Nights at Freddy’s film.
There are likely two major issues in bringing Spawn to the screen. First, even though R-rated superhero projects from Joker to Deadpool to Logan have found success at the box office, studios can still be skittish about the broad appeal of an R-rated picture. Second, Blumhouse typically works on a low or mid-budget model, and an effects-heavy Spawn film would require a lot of careful risk assessment on their end. If they can resolve those two problems, the way toward a green light is probably clear.