Spawn is one of the most popular comic book characters outside of DC and Marvel, and yet there hasn’t been a substantial media adaptation in quite some time.
Everything that was once popular seems to come back. In 2022 the best example of that was Top Gun: Maverick, a long overdue legacy sequel no one could have predicted the success of.
Todd McFarlane’s original Spawn run put Image Comics on the map in the ’90s. The story of Spawn is about a black ops agent who dies and makes a deal to return to Earth and he fights creatures from heaven and hell.
While the ’97 film isn’t the most well regarded, time has passed and a demand for a new film adaptation is there. So where is it?
Development Hell for Spawn
The Hollywood Reporter reported in 2017 that Blumhouse, the production company behind Paranormal Activity and Get Out, would be producing this film, as well as confirming that McFarlane would direct himself.
Deadline reported that Jamie Foxx would star as Spawn. Foxx expressed his enthusiasm about playing the character and has had history with McFarlane.
In the same Deadline article it pointed out that McFarlane has had creative differences leading to the movie receiving a budget on the lower end of the usual comic book film. He also wants to reinvent and challenge fans. He said the following:
"“It confuses people because of the comic book industry, and because they all default into their Captain America mindset and I keep saying, no, get into John Carpenter’s mindset or Hitchcock. This is not a man in a rubber suit, it’s not a hero that’s going to come and save the damsel. It’s none of that. At the end of the movie, I’m hoping that the audience will say either, is this a ghost that turns into a man, or is it a man that turns into a ghost?"
Since then McFarlane says he’s run into creative issues with executives for wanting to do the movie his way. He however credits the billion-dollar success of Joker in 2019 for renewed enthusiasm for his adaptation, especially in the “hard-R” direction he wants to go in.
In October 2022 it was officially reported that the long in development film has hired three new writers in Malcom Spellman, creator of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Scott Silver, writer of Joker and The Fighter, and up and comer Matt Mixon.
McFarlane is now open to someone else taking the director’s chair now that A-list screenwriters are officially attached to the project and said the following:
"“If we’ve got an A-list actor, A-list producers, A-list writers, then do you want to shoot for A-list directors, A-list cinematographers. The answer is, ‘Of course.’ Let’s keep the momentum going.”"
Spellman expressed his excitement on taking on this project and said the following:
"“I grew up in Berkeley, which is a comic book city. Todd McFarlane’s Spawn character was always one of my favorites — a Black superhero that was no bull—-, he was cool and dealt with modern issues. Myself, Matt Mixon, and Scott Silver are pledged to honoring what Todd started and what Spawn is at its core, delivering something that’s relevant and edgy and unlike any other superhero movie out there.”"
The moment Silver accepted to write the film is when the project started to gain more attention, according to McFarlane. It was a goal for him to get the person who wrote the successful Joker to hopefully provide a similar reinvention for Spawn.
Jamie Foxx is still attached to play Spawn and Blumhouse is still slated to produce it.
It’s no surprise that Todd McFarlane is very protective of Spawn, which solidified him as a comics legend. McFarlane is a creator who can afford to put his foot down due to his success and wants his character to be in the best hands possible.
Whether this leads anywhere remains to be seen, but if Spellman and Silver are attached and McFarlane is more open to someone else directing it, this could be the much needed momentum for the iconic anti-hero to finally get his moment in the sun (or in hell).
Are you glad that the Spawn movie might finally see the light of day? Let us know in the comments below!